English Glossary


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Term Definition
Acute B-cell lymphoid leukemia (B-precursor ALL)

A type of cancer found in the bone marrow and blood that starts in the lymphocytes or lymphoblasts, a type of white blood cell. B-lymphocytes are important cells in the immune system that help fight infections. Also known as B-cell ALL.

Acute myeloid leukemia (AML)

A type of cancer found in the bone marrow and blood that starts in the precursors of white blood cells or other blood components aside from lymphocytes.

Acute myeloid leukemia - megakaryoblastic type (AMKL or AML-M7)

A type of cancer found in the bone marrow and blood that starts in the megakaryoblasts, a type of precursor blood cell that makes platelets. It is more common in children with Down syndrome. Also known as acute megakaryoblastic leukemia.

Acute T-cell lymphoid leukemia (T-cell ALL)

A type of cancer found in the bone marrow and blood that starts in the lymphocytes or lymphoblasts, a type of white blood cell. T-lymphocytes are important cells in the immune system that help fight infections. Also known as T-cell ALL.

Addiction

A condition that results when a person ingests a substance (e.g., alcohol, cocaine, nicotine) or engages in an activity (e.g., gambling, sex, shopping) that can be pleasurable but the continued use/act of which becomes compulsive and interferes with ordinary life responsibilities, such as work, relationships, or health.

Adjustment disorder

A condition in which an individual is unable to adjust to or cope with a particular stressor, like a major life event.

Advance directive

A legal document that allows a person to give instructions about future medical care should he or she be unable to participate in medical decisions due to serious illness or incapacity. It can include two kinds of documents, a living will (in which an individual documents his or her wishes about medical treatment should he or she be at the end of life and unable to communicate) and a medical power of attorney (which allows an individual to appoint someone else to make decisions about his or her medical care if he or she is unable to communicate). Each state regulates the use of advance directives differently.

Alopecia areata

Patches of hair loss, often involving the scalp hair, but can occur anywhere on the body. It is thought to be an autoimmune condition.

Alzheimer’s disease

A type of dementia that causes problems with memory, thinking and behavior. Symptoms usually develop slowly and get worse over time, becoming severe enough to interfere with daily tasks.

Amblyopia

Also called lazy eye, occurs in children when one eye has weaker vision, so tends to wander. Can result in vision loss if untreated.

Anal stenosis

A narrowing of the rectal canal which may result in straining, passage of ribbon-like bowel movements, and constipation; also known as an anal stricture.

Anorectal atresia

A condition where the opening to the anus is missing or blocked.

Anorexia nervosa

An eating disorder that causes people to obsess about their weight and the food they eat. People with anorexia nervosa attempt to maintain a weight that is far below normal for their age and height. To lose weight, people with anorexia nervosa may starve themselves or exercise excessively.

Antimicrosomal antibodies

The presence of antibodies to the thyroid protein TPO, or thyroid peroxidase, in the blood. Antimicrosomal antibodies can be found in patients with Hashimoto's thyroiditis or Graves' disease. (See "hypothyroidism" and "hyperthyroidism" entries.)

Anxiety disorder

A group of mental conditions characterized by feelings of fear, which may also cause physical symptoms or impair daily functioning.

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