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  GLOSSARY D-G

dinoflagellates — microscopic unicellular organisms that share characteristics of both plants and animals and therefore do not fit into either kingdom; typically present in plankton, microscopic algae and microscopic bioluminescent organisms
diplopia — double vision; disorder of the vision in which one object is seen as two
distal — situated away from the middle of the body (as opposed to proximal)
dorsal — relating to the back (posterior) part of the body
dura mater — the outermost of the three layers of the meninges surrounding the brain and spinal cord
dysesthesia — distortion of any sense, especially touch
dysphagia — difficulty swallowing
dysphonia — difficulty in phonation or painful speech; typically a hoarse or weak voice; not to be confused with aphonia (inability to phonate sounds)
dyspnea — difficult, painful breathing or shortness of breath
edema — swelling caused by excess fluid in body tissues
electrolyte — minerals in your blood and other body fluids that carry an electric charge that affect the amount of water in your body, the acidity of your blood (pH), your muscle function and other important processes
embolism — a detached intravascular mass clogging capillary beds at a site far from its origin
EMS — emergency medical services
epidural — a form of regional analgesia involving injection of drugs through a catheter placed into the epidural space
epiglottis — thin structure behind the tongue that shields the entrance of the larynx during swallowing, preventing the aspiration of debris into the trachea and lungs
equilibrium — the condition of a system in which competing influences are balanced
erythema — redness of the skin
erythropoietin — a hormone that is synthesized mainly in the kidneys and stimulates red blood cell formation
esophagus — portion of the digestive tract that lies between the back of the throat and stomach
Eukaryota — from the Greek eu (“good” or “true”) and karyon (“nut” or “kernel,” which refers to the cell nucleus), meaning their cells have a true nucleus. Eukaryotes represent a complex form of biological evolution.
facet — a small, smooth, flat surface, as on a bone or tooth
fasciculations — a small and very localized involuntary sequence of muscle twitches; rapid muscle contractions and relaxations; not to be confused with seizures or grand mal
first responder — as used in the context of this course, an individual who arrives first on the scene and has first-aid training that addresses the immediate need for care until EMS arrives or the individual is transported to advanced medical care
flexor — a muscle that when contracted acts to bend a joint or limb in the body
fossa ovalis — oval depression in the wall of the heart remaining when the foramen ovale closes at birth (See also patent foramen ovale.)
ganglion — a biological tissue mass, most commonly a mass of nerve cell bodies
gastrointestinal — refers to the stomach and intestines
gradient — the difference in pressure, oxygen tension or other variable as a function of distance, time or other continuously changing influence

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