In medicine, a paroxysm is a violent attack. It may be due to the sudden occurrence of symptoms or the acute exacerbation (the abrupt worsening) of preexisting symptoms.
You may have “a paroxysm of coughing” as opposed, for example, to “a lingering cough.”
The word “paroxysm” comes from the Greek “para-,” during + “oxys,” sharp or acute. The root “oxys” was also used by the founder of modern chemistry Antoine-Laurent Lavoisier (1743-94) to coin the word “oxygen.”
- Paroxysmal atrial tachycardia
Bouts of rapid, regular heart beating that originate in the upper chamber of the heart (atrium). Abbreviated PAT. PAT is caused by abnormalities in the atrioventricular (AV) node that lead to rapid firing of electrical impulses from the atrium that bypass the AV node under certain conditions, including excess alcohol consumption, stress, caffeine use, overactive […]
- Paroxysmal sleep
A neurological disorder marked by a sudden recurrent uncontrollable compulsion to sleep. Also known as narcolepsy. The disorder is often associated with cataplexy (a sudden loss of muscle tone and paralysis of voluntary muscles associated with a strong emotion), sleep paralysis (immobility of the body that occurs in the transition from sleep to wakefulness), what […]
- Parrot fever (psittacosis)
An infectious disease due to a bacteria (Chlamydia psittaci) contracted from psittacine birds, especially caged birds like parrots, parakeets, and lovebirds and also in turkey processing plants. The bacteria enter the human body by inhalation of air that contains it or by a bite from an infected bird. The incubation period is 1 to 3 […]
- Parry's disease
Toxic multinodular goiter. Named for the English physician Caleb Hillier Parry (1755-1822). also called Plummer’s disease.
Development of a germ cell without fertilization. A form of nonsexual ‘reproduction.