Dr. Donald Levy, Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology, Orange County Ca

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Office Location
705 W. La Veta Ave.
Suite 101
Orange, CA 92868
(714) 639-7847



Medical Glossary Index:


Abdominal cavity- the part of the body between the bottom of the ribs and the top of the thighs, containing most of the digestive and urinary systems along with
some reproductive organs

ABO blood groups- The system by which human blood is classified, based on proteins occurring on red blood cells; the four classification groups are A, AB, B,
and O

Abortion- termination of a pregnancy; can occur because of natural causes
(called a miscarriage) or be a medical intervention

Abscess- an accumulation of pus in a body tissue, usually caused by a bacterial infection

ACE inhibitor- a drug typically used to treat high blood pressure (Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme inhibitor)

Achilles tendon- the tendon at the back of the lower leg that connects the calf muscle to the heel bone

Acid-base balance- the mechanisms that the body uses to keep its fluids close to neutral (neither basic nor acidic) so that the body can function properly

Acidosis- a condition marked by abnormally high acid levels in the blood, associated with some forms of diabetes, lung disease, and severe kidney disease

Acid reflux- a disorder in which acid in the stomach comes up into the
esophagus, because the valve separating the stomach and esophagus does not function properly

Acne- a skin condition characterized by inflamed, pus-filled areas that occur on the skin's surface, most commonly occurring during adolescence

Acquired- a word describing any condition that is not present at birth, but develops some time during life

Acquired immunodeficiency syndrome- infection by the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), which causes a weakening of the immune system

Acute- describes a condition or illness that begins suddenly and is usually short-lasting

Acute respiratory disease- an urgent condition in which oxygen levels in the blood are lower than normal and breathing is difficult

Addiction- dependence on a substance (such as alcohol or other drugs) or an activity, to the point that stopping is very difficult and causes severe physical and mental reactions

Adenitis- infection and inflammation of a gland, especially a lymph node

Adipose tissue- another term for fatty tissue; it stores energy, insulates, and cushions the body

Adjuvant therapy- the use of drugs or radiation therapy in the treatment of
cancer along with surgery

Adrenal failure- a condition in which the adrenal glands do not produce enough of the hormones that control important functions such as blood pressure

Adrenal glands- two small glands located on top of the kidneys that secrete several important hormones into the blood

Adverse reaction- an unintended and unwanted side effect of some sort of treatment, usually drug therapy

Aerobic exercise- physical activity during which the heart and lungs must work harder to meet the body's increased oxygen demand

Affective disorder- a mental disorder involving abnormal moods and emotions; affective disorders include manic-depressive disorder

Afterbirth- the placenta and membranes that are eliminated from the woman's uterus following the birth of a child

Afterpains- normal contractions of the uterus after childbirth that usually occur
for the first few days after delivery

AIDS- see Acquired immunodeficiency syndrome

AIDS-related complex- symptoms including weight loss, fever, and enlarged lymph nodes experienced by people who are infected with HIV but do not yet have AIDS

Air embolism- the blockage of an artery by air bubbles, which may have entered during surgery or after an injury

Airway obstruction- blockage of the passage of air through the windpipe to the lungs

Airways- the passageways that air moves through while traveling in and out of the lungs during breathing

Albinism- a condition in which people are born with insufficient amounts of the pigment melanin, which is responsible for hair, skin, and eye color

Alcoholic cardiomyopathy- heart damage and failure caused by intake of too much alcohol

Alimentary canal- another term for the digestive tract

Alkalosis- dangerously decreased acidity of the blood, which can be caused by high altitudes, hyperventilation, and excessive vomiting

Alkylating agents- substances used in cancer treatment that interfere with the division of cells

Allergen- a substance that causes an allergic reaction

Allergic rhinitis- irritation of the nasal passages and the whites of the eyes, causing sneezing, runny nose, and sore eyes

Allergy- a negative reaction to a substance that in most people causes no

Alopecia- baldness or loss of hair, mainly on the head, either in defined patches
or completely; the cause is unknown

ALS- see Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis

Altitude sickness- headaches, dizziness, and nausea usually experienced at heights above 8,000 ft because of reduced oxygen in the air

Alzheimer disease- a condition that occurs late in life and worsens with time in which brain cells degenerate; it is accompanied by memory loss, physical decline,
and confusion

Amenorrhea- absence of menstrual periods, occurring either after or before menstruation has begun

Amniocentesis- a procedure in which a small amount of amniotic fluid is
removed from the mother’s womb in order to detect abnormalities of the fetus

Amniotic fluid- clear fluid that surrounds a fetus during pregnancy and cushions and protects it

Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis- the most common of a group of disorders
known as motor neuron diseases, in which the nerves in the brain that control the movement of muscles degenerate and muscle function is gradually lost; commonly called Lou Gehrig's disease

Anabolic steroid- a drug similar to the male hormone testosterone that builds muscles and strengthens bones, but has adverse side effects

Anal fissure- a long, open sore on the skin of the anus

Anal fistula- an abnormal tubelike passage connecting the anus to the surface of the surrounding skin

Analgesic- a drug that relieves pain, such as aspirin or acetaminophen

Anal sphincter- a ring of muscle fibers at the opening of the rectum, controlling the opening and closing of the anus

Anaphylactic shock- a life-threatening allergic reaction resulting in difficulty breathing and low blood pressure

Anatomy- the structure of bodies; commonly refers to the study of body

Androgen- a hormone (such as testosterone) that causes development of male characteristics and sex organs

Anemia- a condition in which the blood does not contain enough hemoglobin,
the compound that carries oxygen from the lungs to other parts of the body

Anencephaly- a fatal birth defect in which the brain and spinal cord have failed
to develop, resulting in the absence of a portion of the skull and brain

Anesthesia- a loss of sensation in a certain part of the body or throughout the body

Anesthetic- a substance that temporarily causes a person to be unable to feel pain, either in a certain area or over the entire body

Aneurysm- an abnormal swelling of the wall of an artery, caused by a weakening in the vessel wall

Angina pectoris- pain experienced in the chest, arms, or jaw because of a lack
of oxygen to the heart muscle

Angioma- a tumor made of blood vessels or lymph vessels that is not cancerous

Angioplasty- the use of surgery to make a damaged blood vessel function properly again; may involve widening or reconstructing the blood vessel

Anorexia nervosa- a dangerous eating disorder mainly affecting young girls in which the sufferer has an intense fear of looking fat, avoids food, and loses weight excessively

Antacid- a drug that neutralizes stomach acids; used to treat indigestion, heartburn, and acid reflux

Antibiotic resistance- the development by bacteria of the ability to live in the presence of a certain antibiotic, making treatment difficult

Antibiotics- bacteria-killing substances that are used to fight infection

Antibody- a protein made by white blood cells that reacts with a specific foreign protein as part of the immune response

Anticoagulants- drugs used to stop abnormal blood clotting, such as to prevent stroke

Antiemetics- drugs used to treat nausea and vomiting

Antihistamine- a drug that relieves an allergic reaction by stopping the effects of histamine, the substance responsible for the negative symptoms associated with the reaction

Antihypertensives- drugs used to relieve the symptoms and prevent the damage that can occur from high blood pressure

Antioxidants- substances that protect against cell damage by guarding the cell from oxygen free radicals

Antipsychotics- drugs used to treat severe mental disorders

Antiseptics- chemicals applied to the skin that prevent infection by killing
bacteria and other harmful organisms

Anus- the opening through which feces are passed from the body

Aorta- the main artery in the body, carrying oxygenated blood from the heart to other arteries in the body

Aortic stenosis- narrowing of the opening of the aortic valve in the heart, which increases resistance to blood flow from the left ventricle to the aorta; commonly a birth defect or caused by scarring and calcium accumulation in the valve from rheumatic fever

Apgar score- a system for evaluating the health of a newborn baby; rated on a scale of 0-10

Aplasia- the complete or partial failure of any organ or tissue to grow

Aplastic anemia- a severely reduced number of red blood cells, white blood cells, and platelets

Apnea- a possibly life-threatening condition in which breathing stops, for either a short or long period of time

Appendectomy- surgical removal of the appendix to treat appendicitis

Appendicitis- inflammation of the appendix

Appendix- a short, tubelike structure that branches off the large intestine;
does not have any known function

ARC- see AIDS-related complex

Arteriosclerosis- a disorder causing thickening and hardening of artery walls

Arteritis- inflammation of the walls of an artery that causes the passageway to become narrower; can lead to tissue damage because oxygen is not properly

Artery- a large blood vessel that carries blood from the heart to tissues and organs in the body

Arthritis- a disease of the joints characterized by inflammation, pain, stiffness,
and redness

Arthroscopy- a procedure used to examine the inside of a joint using a viewing tube (an endoscope)

Artificial insemination- injection of semen into the cervix

Artificial respiration/ventilation- the forcing of air (either by mouth-to-mouth
or mouth-to-nose means) into the lungs of a person who has stopped breathing

Ascites- excess fluid in the abdominal cavity, which leads to swelling

Ascorbic acid- the chemical term for vitamin C

Aspermia- the failure either to produce or to ejaculate sperm

Asphyxia- the medical term for suffocation; can be caused by choking on an object, by lack of oxygen in the air, or by chemicals such as carbon monoxide,
which reduce the amount of oxygen in the blood

Asthma- a disorder characterized by inflamed airways and difficulty breathing

Astigmatism- a disorder in which the front surface of the eye (the cornea) is not correctly spherical, resulting in blurry vision

Atherectomy- a procedure performed to remove plaque that is blocking an

Atheroma- fatty deposits on the inner walls of blood vessels, which can cause narrowing and decrease blood flow

Atherosclerosis- narrowing of the lining of the arteries due to the accumulation
of fat and other materials; leads to coronary heart disease, stroke, and other

Athlete's foot- an infection between the toes caused by a fungus, which leads to sore, cracked, and peeling skin

Atresia- a birth defect in which a normal body opening or canal is absent; usually requires surgical repair soon after birth

Atria- the two upper chambers of the heart; the singular form is atrium

Atrial fibrillation- an irregular heartbeat in which the upper chambers of the
heart (the atria) beat inconsistently and rapidly

Atrial flutter- an irregular heartbeat in which the upper chambers of the heart
(the atria) beat rapidly but consistently

Atrial septal defect- a hole located in the wall between the two upper chambers of the heart

Atrophy- the shrinkage or near disappearance of a tissue or organ

Attention-deficit disorder- a disorder mainly present in children and
adolescents, characterized by learning and behavior problems, inability to pay attention, and sometimes hyperactivity

Audiogram- a graph showing a person's hearing ability, determined from a set of tests examining hearing acuity of different sound frequencies

Aura- a "warning" signal that comes before a migraine headache or an epileptic seizure, which might include emotions or sensations of movement or discomfort

Auscultation- the act of listening to sounds within the body, such as the heartbeat, with a stethoscope

Autism- a mental disorder characterized by an inability to relate to other people and extreme withdrawal

Autoimmune disease- a disorder in which the body’s immune system attacks itself

Autonomic nervous system- the part of the nervous system that controls automatic body functions, such as heart rate, sweating, pupil dilation, and digestion; divided into the sympathetic nervous system and the parasympathetic nervous system

Autopsy- the examination of a body following death, possibly to determine the cause of death or for research

Autosomal dominant- a term describing a gene on any chromosome other than the sex chromosomes that produces its effect whenever it is present; can also describe the effect of the gene itself

Autosomal recessive- a term used to describe a gene on any chromosome other than the sex chromosomes that produces its effect only when two copies of it are present; can also describe the effect of the gene itself

Axilla- medical term for the armpit


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