Dictionary

Gain a better understanding of medical terminology by searching our dictionary of more than 1,300 terms.

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  • asbestos

    A fibrous material used to make fireproof materials, electrical insulation, roofing and filters. Asbestos has been linked to a type of lung cancer.

  • ascites

    Abnormal buildup of fluid in the abdomen that causes distention.

  • ascorbic acid

    Vitamin C.

  • asthma

    A chronic disorder characterized by shortness of breath, wheezing, coughing and tightness of the chest.

  • astigmatism

    An irregularity in the curvature of the lens of the eye, resulting in a blurry or distorted image.

  • atelectasis

    Collapsed lung. May occur following surgery or after a rib fracture.

  • atherosclerosis

    A form of arteriosclerosis caused by fatty deposits in the arteries.

  • athlete's foot

    A fungal infection of the skin of the feet.

  • atopy

    A predisposition to allergy that's inherited from parents. Included disorders are asthma, hay fever and eczema.

  • atria

    The upper chambers of the heart that receive blood from the veins and pass it to the lower chambers of the heart.

  • atrophy

    A decrease in the normal size of an organ. Wasting away.

  • aura

    A peculiar sensation that occurs before other symptoms. An example is the sensation of flashing lights before a migraine headache.

  • autoimmune disease

    A condition in which antibodies form against one's own cells.

  • autotransfusion

    A transfusion using the patient's own blood.

  • axilla

    The armpit.

  • bacteremia

    The presence of bacteria in the blood.

  • bacteria

    Single-celled microorganisms with one of three basic shapes: rod-like (bacilli), spherical (cocci) and spiral (spirilla). Bacteria are commonly thought of as disease-causing agents. But many bacteria are beneficial and don't cause disease.

  • bacteriuria

    The presence of bacteria in the urine.

  • Baker's cyst

    A swelling of the knee caused by an escape of fluid from a sac behind the knee.

  • ballism

    Quick, jerking movements that occur in people with chorea.

  • barium

    A chalky substance used in x-ray studies of the digestive tract to highlight abnormalities.

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