The following are health and medical definitions of terms that appear in the propylthiouracil article.
Abnormal: Outside the expected norm, or uncharacteristic of a particular patient.
Acute: Of abrupt onset, in reference to a disease. Acute often also connotes an illness that is of short duration, rapidly progressive, and in need of urgent care.
Agranulocytosis: A marked decrease in the number of granulocytes. Granulocytes are a type of white blood cell filled with microscopic granules that are little sacs containing enzymes that digest microorganisms.
Antithyroid drug: A drug directed against the thyroid gland. The antithyroid drugs include carbimazole, methimazole, and propylthiouracil (PTU). These drugs are used to treat hyperthyroidism (overactivity of the thyroid gland) in order to reduce the excessive thyroid activity before surgery and to treat and maintain patients not having surgery.
Autoimmune: Pertaining to autoimmunity, a misdirected immune response that occurs when the immune system goes awry and attacks the body itself.
Autoimmune disease: An illness that occurs when the body tissues are attacked by its own immune system. The immune system is a complex organization within the body that is designed normally to "seek and destroy" invaders of the body, including infectious agents. Patients with autoimmune diseases frequently have unusual antibodies circulating in their blood that target their own body tissues.
Breast milk: Milk from the breast. Human milk contains a balance of nutrients that closely matches infant requirements for brain development, growth and a healthy immune system. Human milk also contains immunologic agents and other compounds that act against viruses, bacteria, and parasites. Since an infant's immune system is not fully developed until age 2, human milk provides a distinct advantage over formula.
Effective dose: The dose of a drug that will achieve the desired effect.
Enzyme: A protein (or protein-based molecule) that speeds up a chemical reaction in a living organism. An enzyme acts as catalyst for specific chemical reactions, converting a specific set of reactants (called substrates) into specific products. Without enzymes, life as we know it would not exist.
FDA: Food and Drug Administration.
Fetus: An unborn offspring, from the embryo stage (the end of the eighth week after conception, when the major structures have formed) until birth.
Fever: Although a fever technically is any body temperature above the normal of 98.6 degrees F. (37 degrees C.), in practice a person is usually not considered to have a significant fever until the temperature is above 100.4 degrees F (38 degrees C.).
Gastrointestinal: Adjective referring collectively to the stomach and small and large intestines.
Gastrointestinal tract: The stomach and intestines. Abbreviated GI tract.
Generic: 1. The chemical name of a drug. 2. A term referring to the chemical makeup of a drug rather than to the advertised brand name under which the drug may be sold. 3.A term referring to any drug marketed under its chemical name without advertising.
Gland: A group of cells that secrete a substance for use in the body. For example, the thyroid gland.
Graves' disease: Generalized diffuse overactivity ("toxicity") of the entire thyroid gland which becomes enlarged into a goiter. Graves' disease is the most common cause of hyperthyroidism.
Hair loss: Hair loss is the thinning of hair on the scalp. The medical term for hair loss is alopecia. Alopecia can be temporary or permanent. The most common form of hair loss occurs gradually and is referred to as "androgenetic alopecia," meaning that a combination of hormones (androgens are male hormones) and heredity (genetics) is needed to develop the condition. Other types of hair loss include alopecia areata (patches of baldness that usually grow back), telogen effluvium (rapid shedding after childbirth, fever, or sudden weight loss); and traction alopecia (thinning from tight braids or ponytails).
Headache: A pain in the head with the pain being above the eyes or the ears, behind the head (occipital), or in the back of the upper neck. Headache, like chest pain or back ache, has many causes.
Heartburn: An uncomfortable feeling of burning and warmth occurring in waves rising up behind the breastbone (sternum) toward the neck. It is usually due to gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), the rise of stomach acid back up into the esophagus. Heartburn has nothing whatsoever to do with the heart. It is a popular nonmedical term. It is medically called pyrosis.
Hives: A raised, itchy area of skin that may be a sign of an allergic reaction. It can be rounded or flat-topped but is always elevated above the surrounding skin. It reflects circumscribed dermal edema (local swelling of the skin). The hives are usually well circumscribed but may be coalescent and will blanch with pressure. A single spot is almost always gone by 24 hours but the process may stay for weeks to months. Approximately 20% of the population has experienced a bout of hives.
Hormone: A chemical substance produced in the body that controls and regulates the activity of certain cells or organs. Many hormones are secreted by special glands, such as thyroid hormone produced by the thyroid gland. Hormones are essential for every activity of life, including the processes of digestion, metabolism, growth, reproduction, and mood control. Many hormones, such as neurotransmitters, are active in more than one physical process.
Injury: Harm or hurt. To harm, hurt, or wound. The word injure may be in physical or emotional sense. From the Latin injuria meaning injury.
Iodine: An element in the diet that is essential for the manufacture of hormones by the thyroid gland. The thyroid gland uses iodine to make thyroxine (T4), which has four iodine molecules attached to its structure, and triiodothyronine (T3), which has three iodine molecules attached. Iodine is found in seafood, bread, iodized salt, and seaweed.
Itching: An uncomfortable sensation in the skin that feels as if something is crawling on the skin and makes the person want to scratch the affected area. Itching is medically known as pruritis; something that is itchy is pruritic.
Joint: The area where two bones are attached for the purpose of permitting body parts to move. A joint is usually formed of fibrous connective tissue and cartilage. Joints are grouped according to their type of motion: ball-and-socket joint; hinge joint; condyloid joint, which permits all forms of angular movement except axial rotation; pivot joint; gliding joint; or saddle joint. Joints can move in only four ways: gliding, in which one bony surface glides on another, without angular or rotatory movement; angular, a movement that occurs only between long bones, increasing or decreasing the angle between the bones; circumduction, which occurs in joints composed of the head of a bone and an articular cavity, with the long bone describing a series of circles and the whole forming a cone; and rotation, in which a bone moves about a central axis without moving from this axis. Also known as articulation and arthrosis.
Liver: The largest solid organ in the body, situated in the upper part of the abdomen on the right side. The liver has a multitude of important and complex functions, including to manufacture proteins, including albumin (to help maintain the volume of blood) and blood clotting factors; to synthesize, store, and process fats, including fatty acids (used for energy) and cholesterol; to metabolize and store carbohydrates (used as the source for the sugar in blood); to form and secrete bile that contains bile acids to aid in the intestinal absorption of fats and the fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E, and K; to eliminate, by metabolizing or secreting, the potentially harmful biochemical products produced by the body, such as bilirubin, from the breakdown of old red blood cells and ammonia from the breakdown of proteins; and to detoxify, by metabolizing and/or secreting, drugs, alcohol, and environmental toxins.
Muscle: Muscle is the tissue of the body which primarily functions as a source of power. There are three types of muscle in the body. Muscle which is responsible for moving extremities and external areas of the body is called "skeletal muscle." Heart muscle is called "cardiac muscle." Muscle that is in the walls of arteries and bowel is called "smooth muscle."
Nausea: Stomach queasiness, the urge to vomit. Nausea can be brought on by many causes, including systemic illnesses (such as influenza), medications, pain, and inner ear disease.
Nursing: 1) Profession concerned with the provision of services essential to the maintenance and restoration of health by attending the needs of sick persons. 2) Feeding a infant at the breast.
Pediatric: Pertaining to children.
Pigmentation: The coloring of the skin, hair, mucous membranes, and retina of the eye. Pigmentation is due to the deposition of the pigment melanin, which is produced by specialized cells called melanocytes. Other pigment-related terms include hyperpigmentation (too much pigment), hypopigmentation and underpigmentation (too little pigment), and depigmentation (loss of pigment).
Placenta: A temporary organ that joins the mother and fetus, transferring oxygen and nutrients from the mother to the fetus and permitting the release of carbon dioxide and waste products from the fetus. The placenta is roughly disk-shaped, and at full term it measures about 7 inches in diameter and slightly less than 2 inches thick. The upper surface of the placenta is smooth, and the under surface is rough. The placenta is rich in blood vessels. The placenta is expelled with the fetal membranes during the birth process; together, these structures form the afterbirth.
Pregnancy: The state of carrying a developing embryo or fetus within the female body. This condition can be indicated by positive results on an over-the-counter urine test, and confirmed through a blood test, ultrasound, detection of fetal heartbeat, or an X-ray. Pregnancy lasts for about nine months, measured from the date of the woman's last menstrual period (LMP). It is conventionally divided into three trimesters, each roughly three months long.
Prescription: A physician's order for the preparation and administration of a drug or device for a patient. A prescription has several parts. They include the superscription or heading with the symbol "R" or "Rx", which stands for the word recipe (meaning, in Latin, to take); the inscription, which contains the names and quantities of the ingredients; the subscription or directions for compounding the drug; and the signature which is often preceded by the sign "s" standing for signa (Latin for mark), giving the directions to be marked on the container.
Protein: One of the three nutrients used as energy sources (calories) by the body. Proteins are essential components of the muscle, skin, and bones. Proteins and carbohydrates each provide 4 calories of energy per gram, whereas fats provide 9 calories per gram.
PTU: Propylthiouracil, an antithyroid medication, a drug that blocks the production of thyroid hormone by the thyroid gland. PTU is used to treat hyperthyroidism in order to reduce the excessive thyroid activity before surgery and to treat and maintain patients not having surgery.
Radioactive: Emitting energy waves due to decaying atomic nuclei. Radioactive substances are used in medicine as tracers for diagnosis and in treatment to kill cancerous cells.
Radioactive iodine: An isotope of the chemical element iodine that is radioactive. Radioactive iodine is used in diagnostic tests as well as in radiotherapy of an hyperactive thyroid gland (hyperthyroidism), most often due to Graves' disease.
Rash: Breaking out (eruption) of the skin. A rash can be caused by an underlying medical condition, hormonal cycles, allergies, or contact with irritating substances. Treatment depends on the underlying cause of the rash. Medically, a rash is referred to as an exanthem.
Surgery: The branch of medicine that employs operations in the treatment of disease or injury. Surgery can involve cutting, abrading, suturing, or otherwise physically changing body tissues and organs.
Taste: A perception that results from stimulation of a gustatory nerve. Taste belongs to the chemical sensing system. Tasting begins when molecules stimulate special cells in the mouth or throat. These special cells transmit messages through nerves to the brain, where specific tastes are identified. Gustatory, or taste, cells react to food and beverages. The taste cells are clustered in the taste buds of the mouth and throat. Many of the small bumps that can be seen on the tongue contain taste buds. Smell contributes to the sense of taste, as does another chemosensory mechanism, called the common chemical sense. In this system, thousands of nerve endings'especially on the moist surfaces of the eyes, nose, mouth, and throat'give rise to sensations such as the sting of ammonia, the coolness of menthol, and the irritation of chili peppers. People can commonly identify four basic taste sensations: sweet, sour, bitter, and salty. In the mouth, these tastes, along with texture, temperature, and the sensations from the common chemical sense, combine with odors to produce the perception of flavor. Flavors are recognized mainly through the sense of smell. If a person holds his or her nose while eating chocolate, for example, the person will have trouble identifying the chocolate flavor'even though he or she can distinguish the food's sweetness or bitterness. That is because the familiar flavor of chocolate is sensed largely by odor.
Therapy: The treatment of disease. Therapy is synonymous with treatment.
Throat: The throat is the anterior (front) portion of the neck beginning at the back of the mouth, consisting anatomically of the pharynx and larynx. The throat contains the trachea and a portion of the esophagus.
Thrombocytopenia: : A low platelet count. Platelets are irregular, disc-shaped element in the blood that assists in blood clotting. thrombocytopenia can arise due to decreased production of platelets in the bone marrow or increased breakdown of platelets in the bloodstream, spleen, or liver. Thrombocytopenia is characterized by easy bruising and increased bleeding.
Thyroglobulin: A protein that is found primarily in the thyroid gland. Some thyroglobulin can be found in the blood, and this amount may be measured after thyroid surgery to determine whether thyroid cancer has recurred. Abbreviated Tg.
Thyroid: 1. The thyroid gland. Also, pertaining to the thyroid gland. 2. A preparation of the thyroid gland used to treat hypothyroidism. 3. Shaped like a shield. (The thyroid gland was so-named by Thomas Wharton in 1656 because it was shaped like an ancient Greek shield.)
Thyroid gland: A gland that makes and stores hormones that help regulate the heart rate, blood pressure, body temperature, and the rate at which food is converted into energy. Thyroid hormones are essential for the function of every cell in the body. They help regulate growth and the rate of chemical reactions (metabolism) in the body. Thyroid hormones also help children grow and develop.
Thyroid hormone: A chemical substance made by the thyroid gland for export into the bloodstream. The thyroid gland needs iodine to make thyroid hormones. The two most important thyroid hormones are thyroxine (T4) and triiodothyronine (T3).
Thyroid hormones: Chemical substances made by the thyroid gland, which is located in the front of the neck. This gland uses iodine to make thyroid hormones, which are essential for the function of every cell in the body. They help regulate growth and the rate of chemical reactions (metabolism), and are involved in the circadian rhythms that govern sleep, among other essential functions.
Thyroid stimulating hormone: A hormone produced by the pituitary gland at the base of the brain in response to signals from the hypothalamus gland in the brain. Thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH) promotes the growth of the thyroid gland in the neck and stimulates it to produce more thyroid hormones. When there is an excessive amount of thyroid hormones, the pituitary gland stops producing TSH, reducing thyroid hormone production. This mechanism maintains a relatively constant level of thyroid hormones circulating in the blood.
Thyroxine: A hormone that is made by the thyroid gland and is one of the most important thyroid hormones. Four iodine molecules are attached to the molecular structure of thyroxine. Along with the more powerful thyroid hormone triiodothyronine (T3), thyroxine affects almost every process in the body, including body temperature, growth, and heart rate. Also known as T4.
Toxicity: The degree to which a substance (a toxin or poison) can harm humans or animals. Acute toxicity involves harmful effects in an organism through a single or short-term exposure. Subchronic toxicity is the ability of a toxic substance to cause effects for more than one year but less than the lifetime of the exposed organism. Chronic toxicity is the ability of a substance or mixture of substances to cause harmful effects over an extended period, usually upon repeated or continuous exposure, sometimes lasting for the entire life of the exposed organism.
Trigger: Something that either sets off a disease in people who are genetically predisposed to developing the disease, or that causes a certain symptom to occur in a person who has a disease. For example, sunlight can trigger rashes in people with lupus.A predisposing event.
Triiodothyronine: A hormone that is made by the thyroid gland. Triiodothyronine has three iodine molecules attached to its molecular structure. It is the most powerful thyroid hormone, and it affects almost every process in the body, including body temperature, growth, and heart rate. Also known as T3 and liothyronine.
Trimester: In obstetrics, one of the three divisions of three months each during pregnancy, in which different phases of fetal development take place. The first trimester is a time of basic cell differentiation. The second trimester is a period of rapid growth and maturation of body systems. A second-trimester fetus that is born prematurely may be viable, given the best hospital care possible. The third trimester marks the final stage of fetal growth, in which systems are completed, fat accumulates under the soon-to-be-born baby's skin, and the fetus at last moves into position for birth. This trimester ends with birth.
Warfarin: An anticoagulant drug (brand names: Coumarin, Panwarfin, Sofarin) taken to prevent the blood from clotting and to treat blood clots and overly thick blood. Warfarin is also used to reduce the risk of clots causing strokes or heart attacks.
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