Sleep Disorders and Aging Glossary of Terms

The following are health and medical definitions of terms that appear in the Sleep Disorders and Aging article.

Aging: The process of becoming older, a process that is genetically determined and environ...

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Airway: The path that air follows to get into and out of the lungs. The mouth and nose are...

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Allergy: A misguided reaction to foreign substances by the immune system, the body system ...

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Alzheimer disease: See: Alzheimer's disease.

Antidepressant: Anything, and especially a drug, used to prevent or treat depression.

Anxiety: A feeling of apprehension and fear, characterized by physical symptoms such as pa...

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Apnea: The absence of breathing (respiration).

Benzodiazepines: A class of drugs that act as tranquilizers and are commonly used in the t...

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Blood pressure: The blood pressure is the pressure of the blood within the arteries. It is...

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Brain: The portion of the central nervous system that is located within the skull. It func...

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Breathing: The process of respiration, during which air is inhaled into the lungs through ...

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Caffeine: A stimulant compound found naturally in coffee, tea, cocoa (chocolate), and kola...

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Chin: Medically, the mentum. The lower portion of the face below the lower lip including t...

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Chronic: In medicine, lasting a long time. A chronic condition is one that lasts 3 months ...

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Circadian: Refers to events occurring within the span of a full 24-hour day, as in a circa...

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Common cold: A contagious viral upper respiratory tract infection. The common cold can be ...

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Congestion: An abnormal or excessive accumulation of a body fluid. The term is used broadl...

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Constipation: Infrequent and frequently incomplete bowel movements. Constipation is the op...

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Cor pulmonale: Heart disease that results from abnormally high resistance to the passage o...

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Dementia: Significant loss of intellectual abilities, such as memory capacity, that is sev...

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Depression: An illness that involves the body, mood, and thoughts and that affects the way...

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Dizziness: Painless head discomfort with many possible causes including disturbances of ...

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ECG: Electrocardiogram.

EEG: Electroencephalogram.

Emphysema: 1) A lung condition featuring an abnormal accumulation of air in the lung's ma...

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Enlarged heart: Enlargement of the heart. An enlarged heart is a descriptive term that is ...

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Fatigue: A condition characterized by a lessened capacity for work and reduced efficiency ...

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FDA: Food and Drug Administration.

Food and Drug Administration: An agency within the US Public Health Service that provides ...

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Gastroesophageal: Pertaining to both the stomach and the esophagus, as in the gastroesopha...

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Gastroesophageal reflux: The return of stomach contents back up into the esophagus This fr...

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GERD: Gastroesophageal reflux disease.

Gland: A group of cells that secrete a substance for use in the body. For example, the thy...

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Hangover: A common nonmedical term for the disagreeable physical effects following excessi...

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Heart: The muscle that pumps blood received from veins into arteries throughout the body. ...

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Heart disease: Any disorder that affects the heart. Sometimes the term "heart disease" is ...

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Heart failure: Inability of the heart to keep up with the demands on it and, specifically...

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Heart rate: The number of heartbeats per unit of time, usually per minute. The heart rate ...

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High blood pressure: A repeatedly elevated blood pressure exceeding 140 over 90 mmHg. Chro...

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Hormone: A chemical substance produced in the body that controls and regulates the activit...

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Hygiene: The science of preventive medicine and the preservation of health. Also commonly ...

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Insomnia: The perception or complaint of inadequate or poor-quality sleep due to a number ...

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Laboratory: A place for doing tests and research procedures, and for preparing chemicals a...

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Leg: In popular usage, the part of the body from the top of the thigh down to the foot, an...

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Limb: An arm or a leg.

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Long-term care facility: A facility that provides rehabilitative, restorative, and/or ongo...

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Medical school: A school with a curriculum leading to a medical degree. The mission of eve...

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Melatonin: A hormone that is produced by the pineal gland and is intimately involved in re...

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MPH: Master of public health, a degree designating successful training in analyzing past, ...

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Muscle: Muscle is the tissue of the body which primarily functions as a source of power. T...

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Myoclonus: A condition of abnormal contraction of muscles or portions of muscles.

Nasal: Having to do with the nose.

Neurological: Having to do with the nerves or the nervous system as, for example, a neurol...

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Neurology: The medical specialty concerned with the diagnosis and treatment of disorders o...

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Nicotine: An alkaloid (a nitrogen-containing chemical) made by the tobacco plant or produc...

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Obstruction: Blockage of a passageway. See, for example: Airway obstruction; Intestinal o...

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Onset: In medicine, the first appearance of the signs or symptoms of an illness as, for ex...

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Overweight: The term "overweight" is used in two different ways. In one sense it is a way ...

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Oxygen: The odorless gas that is present in the air and necessary to maintain life. Oxygen...

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Pain: An unpleasant sensation that can range from mild, localized discomfort to agony. Pa...

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Palpitations: Unpleasant sensations of irregular and/or forceful beating of the heart. In ...

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Pharmacy: A location where prescription medications are sold. A pharmacy is constantly sup...

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Pineal gland: A small gland that is located near the center of the brain. This gland secre...

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Prescription: A physician's order for the preparation and administration of a drug or dev...

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Prescription drug: A drug requiring a prescription, as opposed to an over-the-counter dr...

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Psychosis: In the general sense, a mental illness that markedly interferes with a person'...

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Pulse: The rhythmic dilation of an artery that results from beating of the heart. Pulse is...

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Quality of life: The patient's ability to enjoy normal life activities. Quality of life is...

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Referral: The recommendation of a medical or paramedical professional. If you get a refer...

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Reflux: The term used when liquid backs up into the esophagus from the stomach.

REM sleep: REM sleep is the portion of sleep when there are rapid eye movements (REMs).

Restless legs: See: Restless leg syndrome.

Sedative: A drug that calms a patient, easing agitation and permitting sleep. Sedatives ge...

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Sensation: In medicine and physiology, sensation refers to the registration of an incoming...

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Sinus: 1. An air-filled cavity in a dense portion of a skull bone. The sinuses decr...

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Sleep: The body's rest cycle.

Sleep apnea: The temporary stoppage of breathing during sleep, often resulting in daytime ...

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Sleep disorders: Any disorder that affects, disrupts, or involves sleep. The most common...

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Sleep hygiene: A series of practices and non-medical treatments for insomnia. Sleep hygien...

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Sleepwalking: Purposeful moving, usually but not always including walking, while in a deep...

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Snoring: A rough rattling noise made on inspiration during sleep by vibration of the soft ...

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Somnambulism: Sleepwalking. Purposeful moving, usually but not always including walking, ...

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Soothing: Bringing comfort, solace, reassurance, peace, composure, quietude.

Stage: As regards cancer, the extent of a cancer, especially whether the disease has spre...

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Stress: In a medical or biological context stress is a physical, mental, or emotional fact...

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Stroke: The sudden death of brain cells due to lack of oxygen, caused by blockage of blood...

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Syndrome: A combination of symptoms and signs that together represent a disease process.

Tension: 1) The pressure within a vessel, such as blood pressure: the pressure within t...

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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 th...

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Tired: A feeling of a lessened capacity for work and reduced efficiency of accomplishment,...

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Tiredness: See: Tired.

Tylenol: See: Acetaminophen.

Urinary: Having to do with the function or anatomy of the kidneys, ureters, bladder, or ur...

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Weight loss: Weight loss is a decrease in body weight resulting from either voluntary (die...

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Withdrawal symptoms: Abnormal physical or psychological features that follow the abrupt di...

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Medical Dictionary