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Glossary - S

Displaying glossary terms beginning with the letter S: 1 - 50 of 158 in total
sacroiliitis
Inflammation of the sacroiliac joints, which connect the lower spine to the pelvis.
sacrum
The larger triangular bone at the base of the spine.
saline
A watery solution that contains a small amount of salt and is often used to administer drugs or as a substitute for plasma.
salivary gland
One of three pairs of glands that pour lubricating fluids and digestive enzymes into the mouth.
Related health topics: Uterine Cancer
saphenous vein
A superficial blood vessel that extends from the thigh to the calf; it can be removed and used as a coronary bypass graft.
sarcolemma
A membrane that covers the muscle fiber and ties the end of it to a tendon.
sarcoma
A cancer that arises in the soft tissues of the body that connect, support, and separate other tissues or organs. Sarcomas can occur almost anywhere in the body.
satisficer
A person who can make a choice and be satisfied with it when presented with an option that meets his or her standards, without needing to examine all options or find the absolute best.
saturated fat
A type of fat found in animal foods such as meat, poultry skin, butter, and whole-milk dairy products, as well in as palm and coconut oils. Saturated fat tends to raise blood levels of unhealthy low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol.
saturated fats
A type of fat that is abundant in red meat, lard, butter, cheese, and vegetable oils such as palm and coconut oil. A diet high in saturate fat increases the amount of low-density lipoprotein in the bloodstream as well as the risk of heart disease.
Related health topics: Colorectal Cancer, Liver Cancer
sausage digit
A toe or finger swollen and red along its entire length.
Related health topics: High Blood Pressure (Hypertension)
scapulothoracic joint
A shoulder joint that connects the scapula to the ribs at the back of the chest.
Schlemm's canal
A circular drainage system in the eye located where the clear cornea, white sclera, and colored iris meet to form an angle.
sciatica
Pain along the course of the sciatic nerve (which runs from the buttock, down the back and side of the leg, and into the foot and toes), often because of a herniated disk.
scintigraphy
A diagnostic technique based on the detection of energy emitted by radioactive substances injected into the body; also called radionuclide scanning.
scintillations
The perception of flashing lights or lines that sometimes occurs during the aura of a migraine headache.
sclera
The white of the eye; a tough, protective coating of collagen and elastic tissue that, with the cornea, makes up the outer layer of the eyeball.
scleral buckling
A surgical technique that indents the sclera and choroid to reattach the retina.
scleroderma
An autoimmune disease in which the skin thickens and hardens; sometimes other parts of the body are affected, and joint pain may result.
scoliosis
An abnormal lateral, or sideways, curvature of the spine.
scotoma
A blank spot in the visual field that is sometimes evident during the aura of a migraine headache.
scurvy
A disease caused by vitamin C deficiency, characterized by bruising, poor wound healing, bleeding of the gums, and loosened teeth.
seasonal affective disorder (SAD)
Sadness and depression brought on by a lack of exposure to sunlight. SAD usually appears in the fall or winter and subsides in the spring.
sebaceous gland
A gland that opens into a terminal hair follicle; it secretes sebum, the natural oily conditioner of hair.
secondary hypertension
High blood pressure that has an identifiable, often correctable, cause such as kidney disease, hyperthyroidism, sleep apnea and other conditions.
secondary osteoporosis
Bone loss associated with an identifiable medical condition, treatment with certain drugs, or immobility.
secretion
The release of chemical substances produced by the body; or the substance that is produced.
sed rate
Shorthand for erythrocyte sedimentation rate?a test involving red blood cells used to check for different infections, inflammations, and cancers.
sedative
A drug or a procedure that has a calming effect and relieves anxiety and tension.
seizure
A sudden, involuntary contraction of muscles that results in rhythmic contortions of the body, often accompanied by a loss of consciousness. Also called a convulsion.
Related health topics: Sleep Apnea
selective estrogen receptor modulators (SERMs)
Chemically synthesized drugs that mimic estrogen in some tissues but act to block estrogen's effects in others.
selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs)
Antidepressants that block the reuptake of serotonin into the neurons that released it, leaving more serotonin available to nerve cell receptors. Commonly used to treat depression and other mood disorders.
self-help group
A group of people who meet to discuss and offer assistance to one another with the goal of providing social support for changing troubling behavior patterns.
seminal vesicles
Structures surrounding the prostate gland involved in storing secretions made by the gland.
Related health topics: Bulimia
senescence
Gradual loss of body functions caused by the biological aging process, which increases risk of disease, disability, and death.
Related health topics: Bladder Cancer, Prostate Cancer
senile dementia
Diagnosis once given to people over 65 with dementia.
sensate focus techniques
A set of structured exercises that sex therapists use to help couples focus on the sensual aspects of physical contact without pressure to achieve orgasm.
sensorineural hearing loss
Permanent hearing loss caused by damage to the cochlea, hair cells, or auditory nerve.
sepsis
The destruction or infection of tissues by disease-causing organisms, usually accompanied by a fever.
septicemia
A condition in which disease-causing organisms have spread to the bloodstream from an infection elsewhere in the body. Also known as blood poisoning.
septum
A wall or other structure that divides one cavity from another. For example, in the heart the muscular septum separates the right side of the heart from the left side.
seroma
A pocket of lymphatic fluid that builds up at an incision after surgery.
serotonin
A neurotransmitter that helps regulate sleep and appetite, mediate moods, and inhibit pain.
serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs)
Antidepressants that slow the reuptake of both serotonin and norepinephrine into the neurons that released these substances, leaving more serotonin and norepinephrine available to nerve cell receptors. Commonly used to treat depression and other mood disorders.
sesamoiditis
A painful inflammation in and around two small bones known as sesamoids, located beneath the base of the big toe, at the ball of the foot.
set
A specific number of repetitions of an exercise done as a group.
sexual dysfunction
A problem with any area of a person's sexual response that causes distress.
shock
A serious medical condition in which there too little blood flows to the outer portions of the body, resulting in cold, sweaty skin; a weak pulse; irregular breathing; and dilated pupils. Shock can be caused by a loss of blood, severe heart problems, severe infections, allergic reactions, or drug overdoses.
Related health topics: Parkinson's Disease
short-term memory
Information the brain stores temporarily, from milliseconds to minutes.
shunt
A device inserted into the body to redirect the flow of blood or other fluid from one area to another.
Related health topics: Alzheimer's Disease