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Airway obstruction: Partial or complete blockage of the breathing passages to the lungs. Causes include the presence of foreign matter, allergic reactions, infections, anatomical abnormalities, and trauma. Associated respiratory distress may be sudden, with only a cough for a warning. There is often agitation in the early stages. Other signs include labored, ineffective breathing, until […]
AV (atrioventricular): AV is the standard medical abbreviation for atrioventricular, a combination that means pertaining to the atria (the upper chambers of the heart) and the ventricles (the lower chambers of the heart). For example, the AV node is an electrical relay station between the atria and the ventricles. Electrical signals from the atria must […]
AZT: Azidothymidine, now renamed zidovudine, but still best known by the abbreviation AZT. This antiviral drug is prescribed, usually in combination with protease inhibitors and other drugs, to treat HIV infection in patients with AIDS.
Azotemia: A higher-than-normal blood level of urea or other nitrogen-containing compounds. The hallmark test for azotemia is the serum blood urea nitrogen (BUN) level. Azotemia is usually caused by the inability of the kidneys to excrete these compounds.
Ayurveda: India’s traditional, natural system of medicine that has been practiced for more than 5,000 years. Ayurveda provides an integrated approach to preventing and treating illness through lifestyle interventions and natural therapies. Ayurvedic theory states that all disease begins with an imbalance or stress in the individual’s consciousness. Lifestyle interventions are a major ayurvedic preventive […]
Azoospermia: No sperm at all. The ejaculate is completely devoid of sperm. By contrast, in oligospermia (literally, few sperm) there are some sperm, but fewer than normal.
Axon: A long fiber of a nerve cell (a neuron) that acts somewhat like a fiber-optic cable carrying outgoing (efferent) messages. The neuron sends electrical impulses from its cell body through the axon to target cells. Each nerve cell has one axon. An axon can be over 20 cm (a foot) in length, which for […]
Axis: The axis is the second cervical vertebra (symbol: C2). It is called the “axis” because the uppermost cervical vertebra (called the atlas) rotates about the odontoid process of C2. The joint between the axis and atlas is a pivot type of joint. It allows the head turn. The Latin word “axis” means axle or […]
Excessive sweating from the armpits. Excessive underarm perspiration tends to start in late adolescence.