The following are health and medical definitions of terms that appear in the raloxifene, Evista article.
Absorption: Uptake. For example, intestinal absorption is the uptake of food (or other substances) from the digestive tract.
Ankle: The ankle joint is complex. It is made up of two joints: the true ankle joint and the subtalar joint:
Blood clots: Blood that has been converted from a liquid to a solid state. Also called a thrombus.
Bone density: Bone density is the amount of bone tissue in a certain volume of bone. It can be measured using a special x-ray called a quantitative computed tomogram.
Breastfeeding: Feeding a child human breast milk. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, human breast milk is preferred for all infants. This includes even premature and sick babies, with rare exceptions. It is the food least likely to cause allergic reactions; it is inexpensive; it is readily available at any hour of the day or night; babies accept the taste readily; and the antibodies in breast milk can help a baby resist infections.
Cholesterol: The most common type of steroid in the body. Cholesterol has a reputation for being associated with an increased risk for heart and blood vessel disease. However, cholesterol is essential to the formation of bile acids, vitamin D, progesterone, estrogens (estradiol, estrone, estriol), androgens (androsterone, testosterone), mineralocorticoid hormones (aldosterone, corticosterone), and glucocorticoid hormones (cortisol). Cholesterol is also necessary to the normal permeability and function of the membranes that surround cells. A diet high in saturated fats tends to increase blood cholesterol levels, whereas a diet high in unsaturated fats tends to lower blood cholesterol levels. Although some cholesterol is obtained from the diet, most cholesterol is made in the liver and other tissues. The treatment of elevated cholesterol involves not only diet but also weight loss, regular exercise, and medications. After the age of 20, cholesterol testing is recommended every 5 years.
Diarrhea: A common condition that involves unusually frequent and liquid bowel movements. The opposite of constipation. There are many infectious and noninfectious causes of diarrhea. Persistent diarrhea is both uncomfortable and dangerous to the health because it can indicate an underlying infection and may mean that the body is not able to absorb some nutrients due to a problem in the bowels. Treatment includes drinking plenty of fluids to prevent dehydration and taking over-the-counter remedies. People with diarrhea that persists for more than a couple days, particularly small children or elderly people, should seek medical attention.
Embolism: The obstruction of a blood vessel by a foreign substance or a blood clot that travels through the bloodstream, lodging in a blood vessel, plugging the vessel. Foreign substances that can cause embolisms include air bubbles, amniotic fluid, globules of fat, clumps of bacteria, chemicals (such as talc), and drugs (mainly illegal ones). Blood clots are the most common causes of embolisms. A pulmonary embolus is a blood clot that has been carried through the blood into the pulmonary artery (the main blood vessel from the heart to the lung) or one of its branches, plugging that vessel within the lung.
Estrogen: A female steroid hormone that is produced by the ovaries and, in lesser amounts, by the adrenal cortex, placenta, and male testes. Estrogen helps control and guide sexual development, including the physical changes associated with puberty. It also influences the course of ovulation in the monthly menstrual cycle, lactation after pregnancy, aspects of mood, and the aging process. Production of estrogen changes naturally over the female lifespan, reaching adult levels with the onset of puberty (menarche) and decreasing in middle age until the onset of menopause. Estrogen deficiency can lead to lack of menstruation (amenorrhea), persistent difficulties associated with menopause (such as mood swings and vaginal dryness), and osteoporosis in older age. In cases of estrogen deficiency, natural and synthetic estrogen preparations may be prescribed. Estrogen is also a component of many oral contraceptives. An overabundance of estrogen in men causes development of female secondary sexual characteristics (feminization), such as enlargement of breast tissue.
FDA: Food and Drug Administration.
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.
HDL: High density lipoprotein.
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.
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.
Hot flashes: A sudden wave of mild or intense body heat caused by rushes of hormonal changes resulting from decreased levels of estrogen. Hot flashes can occur at any time and may last from a few seconds to a half-hour. They are due to blood vessel opening and constricting and a symptom of menopause.
Leg: In popular usage, the part of the body from the top of the thigh down to the foot, and in medical terminology, the portion of the lower extremity that runs from the knee to the ankle. The leg (in the medical sense) has two bones'the tibia (shinbone) and the fibula'both of which are known as long bones. The larger of the two is the tibia. The fibula runs alongside the tibia.
Lipoprotein: A molecule that is a combination of lipid and protein. Lipids do not travel in the blood by themselves, but they are carried through the bloodstream as lipoproteins.
Menopause: The time in a woman's life when menstrual periods permanently stop; it is also called the "change of life." Menopause is the opposite of the menarche.
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.
Osteoporosis: Thinning of the bones, with reduction in bone mass, due to depletion of calcium and bone protein. Osteoporosis predisposes a person to fractures, which are often slow to heal and heal poorly. It is most common in older adults, particularly postmenopausal women, and in patients who take steroids or steroidal drugs. Unchecked osteoporosis can lead to changes in posture, physical abnormality (particularly the form of hunched back known colloquially as dowager?s hump), and decreased mobility. Treatment of osteoporosis includes exercise (especially weight-bearing exercise that builds bone density), ensuring that the diet contains adequate calcium and other minerals needed to promote new bone growth, use of medications to improve bone density, and sometimes for postmenopausal women, use of hormone therapy.
Pain: An unpleasant sensation that can range from mild, localized discomfort to agony. Pain has both physical and emotional components. The physical part of pain results from nerve stimulation. Pain may be contained to a discrete area, as in an injury, or it can be more diffuse, as in disorders like fibromyalgia. Pain is mediated by specific nerve fibers that carry the pain impulses to the brain where their conscious appreciation may be modified by many factors.
Post-menopausal: See: Postmenopausal.
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.
Pregnant: The state of carrying a developing fetus within the body.
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.
Prothrombin: A coagulation (clotting) factor that is needed for the normal clotting of blood. A cascade of biochemical events leads to the formation of the final clot. In this cascade, prothrombin is a precursor to thrombin.
Prothrombin time: A test that is done to gauge the integrity of part of the blood clotting process. Prothrombin time is commonly used to screen for bleeding disorders as well as to monitor the accuracy of blood-thinning treatment (anticoagulation) with drugs such as warfarin (brand names: Coumadin, Panwarfin, Sofarin). It measures the time needed for clot formation after thromboplastin and calcium are added to plasma. Familiarly known as pro time.
Pulmonary: Having to do with the lungs.
Pulmonary embolism: Sudden closure of a pulmonary artery or one of its branches, caused by a blood-borne clot or foreign material that plugs the vessel.
Receptor: 1. In cell biology, a structure on the surface of a cell (or inside a cell) that selectively receives and binds a specific substance. There are many receptors. There is a receptor for (insulin; there is a receptor for low-density lipoproteins (LDL); etc. To take an example, the receptor for substance P, a molecule that acts as a messenger for the sensation of pain, is a unique harbor on the cell surface where substance P docks. Without this receptor, substance P cannot dock and cannot deliver its message of pain. Variant forms of nuclear hormone receptors mediate processes such as cholesterol metabolism and fatty acid production. Some hormone receptors are implicated in diseases such as diabetes and certain types of cancer. A receptor called PXR appears to jump-start the body's response to unfamiliar chemicals and may be involved in drug-drug interactions.
Sinusitis: Inflammation of the lining membrane in any of the hollow areas (sinuses) of the skull around the nose. Sinusitis may be caused by anything that interferes with air flow into the sinuses and the drainage of mucous out of the sinuses. The sinus openings, called ostia, may be obstructed by swelling of the tissue lining the ostia and adjacent nasal passage tissue; for example, from colds, allergies, and tissue irritants (nasal sprays, cocaine, cigarette smoke). Less commonly, sinuses can become obstructed by tumors or growths. Stagnated mucous then provides a perfect environment for bacterial infection. The common symptoms of sinusitis include headache; facial tenderness or pain; fever; cloudy, discolored nasal drainage; a feeling of nasal stuffiness; sore throat; and cough. Acute sinusitis is usually treated with antibiotic therapy. Chronic forms of sinusitis require long courses of antibiotics and may require a sinus drainage procedure.
Stroke: The sudden death of brain cells due to lack of oxygen, caused by blockage of blood flow or rupture of an artery to the brain. Sudden loss of speech, weakness, or paralysis of one side of the body can be symptoms. A suspected stroke can be confirmed by scanning the brain with special X-ray tests, such as CAT scans. The death rate and level of disability resulting from strokes can be dramatically reduced by immediate and appropriate medical care. Prevention involves minimizing risk factors, such as controlling high blood pressure and diabetes. Abbreviated CVA. Also known as cerebrovascular accident.
Thrombosis: The formation or presence of a blood clot in a blood vessel. The vessel may be any vein or artery as, for example, in a deep vein thrombosis or a coronary (artery) thrombosis. The clot itself is termed a thrombus. If the clot breaks loose and travels through the bloodstream, it is a thromboembolism. Thrombosis, thrombus, and the prefix thrombo- all come from the Greek thrombos meaning a lump or clump, or a curd or clot of milk. See entries also to: Cavernous sinus thrombosis; Renal vein thrombosis. And see: Deep Vein Thrombosis and Pulmonary Embolism.
Vein: A blood vessel that carries blood that is low in oxygen content from the body back to the heart. The deoxygenated form of hemoglobin (deoxy-hemoglobin) in venous blood makes it appear dark. Veins are part of the afferent wing of the circulatory system, which returns blood to the heart. In contrast, an artery is a vessel that carries blood that is high in oxygen away from the heart to the body.
Vitamin D: A steroid vitamin which promotes the intestinal absorption and metabolism of calcium and phosphorus. Under normal conditions of sunlight exposure, no dietary supplementation is necessary because sunlight promotes adequate vitamin D synthesis in the skin. Deficiency can lead to bone deformity (rickets) in children and bone weakness (osteomalacia) in adults.
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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