The following are health and medical definitions of terms that appear in the topiramate, Topamax article.
Abnormal: Outside the expected norm, or uncharacteristic of a particular patient.
Acidosis: Too much acid in the body, a distinctly abnormal condition resulting from the accumulation of acid or from the depletion of alkaline reserves. In acidosis, the pH of the blood is abnormally low. Acidosis is associated with diabetic ketoacidosis, lung disease, and severe kidney disease. The opposite of acidosis is alkalosis in which there is too high a pH due to excess base or insufficient acid in the body.
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.
Ammonia: A colorless gas with a very sharp odor. Made both by humans and by nature, ammonia dissolves easily in water and evaporates quickly. Liquid ammonia is found in many household cleaners. Ammonia is irritating to the skin, eyes, nose, throat, and lungs. Exposure to high concentrations in the air can severely burn the skin, eyes, throat, or lungs. In extreme cases, blindness, lung damage, or death can occur. Breathing lower concentrations causes coughing and nose and throat irritation. Swallowing ammonia may burn the mouth, throat, and stomach.
Anterior: The front, as opposed to the posterior. The anterior surface of the heart is toward the breast bone (the sternum).
Anterior chamber: The space in the eye that is behind the cornea and in front of the iris.
Anticonvulsant: A medication used to control (prevent) seizures (convulsions) or stop an ongoing series of seizures. There are a large number of anticonvulsant drugs today including, but not limited to: phenobarbital, phenytoin (Dilantin), carbamazepine, ethosuximide (Zarontin), clonazepam (Klonopin), diazepam (Valium), lorazepam (Ativan), and midazolam (Versed). Anticonvulsant drugs taken during pregnancy put the baby at risk of major birth defects -- growth retardation, microcephaly (a small head) and deformities of the face and fingers -- a condition known as anticonvulsant embryopathy.
Atonic: Without normal muscle tone or strength. An atonic seizure is one in which the person suddenly loses muscle tone and strength; the person cannot sit or stand upright and, unless supported, falls down.
Brain: The portion of the central nervous system that is located within the skull. It functions as a primary receiver, organizer, and distributor of information for the body. It has a right half and a left half, each of which is called a hemisphere.
Breathing: The process of respiration, during which air is inhaled into the lungs through the mouth or nose due to muscle contraction and then exhaled due to muscle relaxation.
Cleft palate: An opening in the roof of the mouth due to a failure of the palatal shelves to come fully together from either side of the mouth and fuse during the first months of development as an embryo. The opening in the palate permits communication between the nasal passages and the mouth. Surgery is needed to close the palate. Cleft palate can occur alone or in association with cleft lip.
Contraction: The tightening and shortening of a muscle.
Dilation: The process of enlargement, stretching, or expansion. The word "dilatation" means the same thing. Both come from the Latin "dilatare" meaning "to enlarge or expand."
Dizziness: Painless head discomfort with many possible causes including disturbances of vision, the brain, balance (vestibular) system of the inner ear, and gastrointestinal system. Dizziness is a medically indistinct term which laypersons use to describe a variety of conditions ranging from lightheadedness, unsteadiness to vertigo.
Epilepsy (seizure disorder): When nerve cells in the brain fire electrical impulses at a rate of up to four times higher than normal, this causes a sort of electrical storm in the brain, known as a seizure. A pattern of repeated seizures is referred to as epilepsy. Known causes include head injuries, brain tumors, lead poisoning, maldevelopment of the brain, genetic and infectious illnesses. But in fully half of cases, no cause can be found. Medication controls seizures for the majority of patients.
Eskalith: See: Lithium.
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.
Glaucoma: A common eye condition in which the fluid pressure inside the eyes rises because of slowed fluid drainage from the eye. If untreated, it may damage the optic nerve and other parts of the eye, causing the loss of vision or even blindness.
Hypothermia: Abnormally low body temperature. Someone who falls asleep in a cold temperature may become hypothermic, and the condition can be fatal. Hypothermia is intentionally produced to slow the metabolism during some types of surgery. Severe hypothermia can be fatal. Those with mild or moderate hypothermia (are alert and conscious, and have not lost the shivering reflex) will usually simply require removing them from the cold environment and providing them with additional insulation. Treatment of severe hypothermia involves slow heating of the body using blankets or other ways of increasing body warmth. Body temperature should increase by no more than a couple of degrees per hour.
Iris: The circular, colored curtain of the eye. The opening of the iris forms the pupil. The iris helps regulate the amount of light that enters the eye.
Kidney: One of a pair of organs located in the right and left side of the abdomen. The kidneys remove waste products from the blood and produce urine. As blood flows through the kidneys, the kidneys filter waste products, chemicals, and unneeded water from the blood. Urine collects in the middle of each kidney, in an area called the renal pelvis. It then drains from the kidney through a long tube, the ureter, to the bladder, where it is stored until elimination. The kidneys also make substances that help control blood pressure and regulate the formation of red blood cells.
Lennox-Gastaut syndrome: A severe form of epilepsy that usually begins in early childhood. It is characterized by frequent seizures of multiple types, mental impairment, and a slow spike-and-wave pattern seen on an EEG. The seizures are notoriously hard to treat and may lead to falls and injuries. Treatment involves anti-epileptic medications.
Lens: The transparent structure inside the eye that focuses light rays onto the retina.
Lithium: A naturally occurring salt that, in purified form, is used to treat certain psychiatric disorders, especially bipolar disease The therapeutic level of lithium'the amount needed to treat bipolar disorders'is perilously close to the level that can cause toxicity, so monitoring of blood levels is required. Symptoms of lithium toxicity include diarrhea, vomiting, blurred vision, loss of coordination, and loss of motor control. Treatment of lithium toxicity involves immediately reducing or discontinuing lithium use under medical supervision.
Lithobid: See: Lithium.
Memory: 1. The ability to recover information about past events or knowledge. 2. The process of recovering information about past events or knowledge. 3. Cognitive reconstruction. The brain engages in a remarkable reshuffling process in an attempt to extract what is general and what is particular about each passing moment.
Metabolic: Relating to metabolism, the whole range of biochemical processes that occur within us (or any living organism). Metabolism consists of anabolism (the buildup of substances) and catabolism (the breakdown of substances).
Migraine: Usually, periodic attacks of headaches on one or both sides of the head. These may be accompanied by nausea, vomiting, increased sensitivity of the eyes to light (photophobia), increased sensitivity to sound (phonophobia), dizziness, blurred vision, cognitive disturbances, and other symptoms. Some migraines do not include headache, and migraines may or may not be preceded by an aura.
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."
Myopia: Nearsightedness, the ability to see close objects more clearly than distant objects.
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.
Nearsightedness: The ability to see near objects more clearly than distant objects. Also called myopia .
Nerve: A bundle of fibers that uses electrical and chemical signals to transmit sensory and motor information from one body part to another. The fibrous portions of a nerve are covered by a sheath called myelin and/or a membrane called neurilemma. (Note that entries for specific nerves can be found under the names of the particular nerves. For example, the optic nerve is not under 'nerve, optic' but rather under 'optic nerve.')
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.
Ocular: Having to do with the eye.
Onset: In medicine, the first appearance of the signs or symptoms of an illness as, for example, the onset of rheumatoid arthritis.
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.
Palate: The roof of the mouth. The front portion is bony (hard palate), and the back portion is muscular (soft palate).
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.
Seizure: Uncontrolled electrical activity in the brain, which may produce a physical convulsion, minor physical signs, thought disturbances, or a combination of symptoms.
Seizure disorders: One of a great many medical conditions that are characterized by episodes of uncontrolled electrical activity in the brain (seizures). Some seizure disorders are hereditary, but others are caused by birth defects or environmental hazards, such as lead poisoning. Seizure disorders are more likely to develop in patients who have other neurological disorders, psychiatric conditions, or immune-system problems. In some cases, uncontrolled seizures can cause brain damage, lowered intelligence, and permanent mental and physical impairment. Diagnosis is by observation, neurological examination, electroencephalogram (EEG), and in some cases more advanced brain imaging techniques. Treatment is usually by medication, although in difficult cases a special diet or brain surgery may be tried.
Sensation: In medicine and physiology, sensation refers to the registration of an incoming (afferent) nerve impulse in that part of the brain called the sensorium, which is capable of such perception. Therefore, the awareness of a stimulus as a result of its perception by sensory receptors. (Sensory is here synonymous with sensation.)
Sensory: Relating to sensation, to the perception of a stimulus, to the voyage made by incoming nerve impulses from the sense organs to the nerve centers or to the senses themselves.
Suicidal: Pertaining to suicide. the taking of ones own life. As in a suicidal gesture, suicidal thought, or suicidal act. An "online lifeline for suicidal undergrads" may help prevent college students from committing suicide.
Sweating: The act of secreting fluid from the skin by the sweat (sudoriferous) glands. These are small tubular glands situated within and under the skin (in the subcutaneous tissue). They discharge by tiny openings in the surface of the skin.
Syndrome: A combination of symptoms and signs that together represent a disease process.
Therapy: The treatment of disease. Therapy is synonymous with treatment.
Tiredness: See: Tired.
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.
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.
Weight loss: Weight loss is a decrease in body weight resulting from either voluntary (diet, exercise) or involuntary (illness) circumstances. Most instances of weight loss arise due to the loss of body fat, but in cases of extreme or severe weight loss, protein and other substances in the body can also be depleted. Examples of involuntary weight loss include the weight loss associated with cancer, malabsorption (such as from chronic diarrheal illnesses ), and chronic inflammation (such as with rheumatoid arthritis).
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