Alcoholism: Physical dependence on alcohol to the extent that stopping alcohol use would bring on withdrawal symptoms. In popular and therapeutic parlance, the term may also be used to refer to ingrained drinking habits that cause health or social problems. Treatment requires first ending the physical dependence and then making lifestyle changes that help the individual avoid relapse. In some cases, medication and hospitalization are necessary. Alcohol dependence can have many serious effects on the brain, liver, and other organs of the body, some of which can lead to death.
- Aldose reductase inhibitor
Aldose reductase inhibitor: A class of drugs used to prevent eye and nerve damage in diabetes. Aldose reductase is an enzyme that is normally present in the eye and in many other parts of the body. It helps change glucose into a sugar alcohol called sorbitol. Too much sorbitol trapped in eye and nerve cells […]
Aldosterone: A hormone produced by the outer portion (cortex) of the adrenal gland. Aldosterone regulates the balance of water and electrolytes in the body, encouraging the kidney to excrete potassium into the urine and retain sodium, thereby retaining water. It is classified as a mineralocorticoid hormone.
Aldosteronism: Overproduction of the hormone aldosterone from the cortex (the outer layer) of the adrenal gland or a tumor containing that type of tissue. Excess aldosterone (pronounced al’-do-ster-one) results in low potassium levels (hypokalemia), underacidity of the body (alkalosis), muscle weakness, excess thirst (polydipsia), excess urination (polyuria), and high blood pressure (hypertension). Also called hyperaldosteronism […]
Alembic: A type of still, an apparatus used in the process of distillation. Alembics were employed in chemistry and biomedical laboratories as well as in distilling cognac. By extension, “alembic” is anything that refines or transmutes as if by distillation. For example, the alembic of the surgeon’s mind. From the Arabic al-anbiq meaning “the still” […]
- Alexander disease
Alexander disease: A slowly progressive and ultimately fatal brain disorder that most commonly occurs in children. The infantile form of the disease is characterized by megalencephaly (an abnormally large head), seizures, spasticity and developmental retardation. It leads to death usually within the first decade. Patients with the juvenile and adult forms of Alexander disease typically […]