Find over 200 print-friendly fact sheets about heart disease and related health topics.
Find definitions for thousands of medical terms, treatments, and tests -- even health-related abbreviations, prefixes, and suffixes.
The United States Preventive Services Task Force is this
country's leading source of recommendations and guidelines for screening tests,
counseling, and use of medicines for disease prevention. It is composed of
medical experts and is sponsored by the Department of Health and Human
Services Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ).
task force regularly conducts rigorous, impartial assessments of scientific
evidence and develops recommendations for clinical preventive services.
June 5, 2012
John Pope, MD - Pediatrics & R. Steven Tharratt, MD, MPVM, FACP, FCCP - Pulmonology, Critical Care Medicine, Medical Toxicology
An ulcer is a sore that develops on the skin (such as the skin around the ankles) or a mucous membrane
(such as inside the mouth, stomach, or intestines). Ulcers can be shallow or
deep and can destroy the skin or the membrane where they develop.
Ulcers can be caused by some types of infection, injury, or
December 27, 2012
William H. Blahd, Jr., MD, FACEP - Emergency Medicine & H. Michael O'Connor, MD - Emergency Medicine
Ultrasound is a test that uses reflected sound waves to produce
an image of organs and other structures in the body. It does not use X-rays or
other types of possibly harmful radiation.
testing, gel or oil is applied to the skin to help transmit the sound waves. A
small, handheld instrument called a transducer is passed back and forth over
the area of the body that is being examined. The transducer sends out
high-pitched sound waves (above the range of human hearing) that are reflected
back to the transducer. A computer analyzes the reflected sound waves and
converts them into a picture that is displayed on a TV screen. The picture
produced by ultrasound is called a sonogram, echogram, or ultrasound scan.
Pictures or videos of the ultrasound images may be made for a permanent
Ultrasound is most useful for looking at organs and
structures that are either uniform and solid (such as the liver) or
fluid-filled (such as the gallbladder). Mineralized structures (such as bones)
or air-filled organs (such as the lungs) do not show up well on a
November 29, 2012
Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine & Howard Schaff, MD - Diagnostic Radiology
Ultrasound is high-pitched sound that people cannot hear. These
high-pitched sound waves are sometimes used to treat muscle spasms and pain and
to promote healing.
Ultrasound at higher intensities creates a deep heat that may help
to ease muscle spasms, relax and warm muscles, and increase muscle elasticity
before stretching and exercise.
Ultrasound may also act on the cells to promote healing. At lower
intensities, ultrasound can have this healing effect without also heating the
Excessive use of either the heating or non-heating properties of
ultrasound can damage tissues. Ultrasound is not generally used for children.
March 4, 2011
Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine & David A. Fleckenstein, MPT - Physical Therapy
The umbilical cord is the ropey structure that connects the fetus to the placenta in the mother's uterus. Blood vessels in
the cord bring nourishment to the fetus and take away waste products.
The umbilical cord is formed in the fifth week of pregnancy.
When the baby is born, the umbilical cord is about
2 ft (0.6 m) long.
January 10, 2013
Susan C. Kim, MD - Pediatrics & John Pope, MD - Pediatrics
Body mass index (BMI), which measures weight in relation to
height, is used to identify a possible weight problem for a child. A child with a BMI in the 86th to 94th percentile on a growth chart is usually
In some cases, a child may be overweight because he or she has a
large amount of body fat (adipose tissue). But not all children with BMIs
in the 86th to 94th percentile have too much body fat. For instance:
August 29, 2011
John Pope, MD - Pediatrics & Rhonda O'Brien, MS, RD, CDE - Certified Diabetes Educator
The results of some medical tests are reported in units per liter
May 6, 2011
Anne C. Poinier, MD - Internal Medicine & Thomas M. Bailey, MD - Family Medicine
An unlabeled use of a drug is when a doctor prescribes a
medicine for a purpose other than that for which it has been specifically
designed and approved. Sometimes a drug is prescribed for a specific unlabeled
use so often that doctors consider it a common practice.
United States, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approves drugs for
March 9, 2012
E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine & Theresa O'Young, PharmD - Clinical Pharmacy
Unstable angina happens when blood flow to the heart is suddenly slowed by narrowed vessels or small blood clots that form in the coronary arteries. Unstable angina is a warning sign that a heart attack may soon occur.
Unstable angina is an emergency.
Unstable angina symptoms are similar to a heart attack. They may include chest pain or pressure that occurs at rest or with less and
less exertion. Symptoms may become severe and last longer. And they may not
respond to nitroglycerin or rest.
Unstable angina is a change from stable angina—a pattern of
predictable chest pain or other symptoms. Stable angina symptoms are relieved by rest or nitroglycerin.
April 4, 2011
E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine & John M. Miller, MD - Electrophysiology
An upper respiratory tract infection (URI) is a bacterial or
viral infection of the nose, sinuses, or throat. Common symptoms of a URI are a
runny or stuffy nose and a cough.
Examples of URIs include
influenza (flu), a cold, and sinusitis.
Treatment for a URI is
based on whether a doctor suspects it is caused by a bacteria or virus. If the
cause is a bacterial infection, antibiotics are used. If the cause is a viral
infection, home treatment is used, such as getting extra rest and drinking
plenty of liquids.
Frequent hand-washing, especially during cold
or flu season, can help prevent URIs. People should also try to avoid using
their hands to wipe their eyes, nose, or mouth. Avoiding smoking can also help.
July 10, 2012
E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine & Robert L. Cowie, MB, FCP(SA), MD, MSc, MFOM - Pulmonology
The ureters are small tubes, each about 10 in. (25 cm)
carry urine from the kidneys to the bladder.
May 2, 2011
E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine & Christopher G. Wood, MD, FACS - Urology, Oncology
The urethra is the tube that carries urine from the bladder to
outside of the body. Urine is produced in the kidneys and flows through the
ureters to the bladder, where it is stored until a person urinates.
The urethra is significantly shorter in women than in men.
May 16, 2011
E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine & Avery L. Seifert, MD - Urology
Urinary incontinence means not being able to control the release of urine. Sometimes it's caused by a temporary problem, like a urinary infection, and goes away when the infection is treated. In other cases, it's caused by changes in the muscles or nerves around the bladder and the problem is an ongoing one. Treatment includes exercises, medicines, and sometimes surgery.
October 9, 2012
A urinary tract infection is a general term for an infection anywhere between the kidneys and the urethra (where urine comes out). Most urinary tract infections are bladder infections. They often cause pain or burning when you urinate.
They're caused by bacteria and can be cured with antibiotics.
Urologists are medical doctors who specialize in the diagnosis
and treatment of diseases of the urinary system in men and women and disorders
of the male reproductive system.
Urologists can prescribe
medicines, perform surgery, and treat urination problems, such as problems
holding urine (incontinence) and tumors or stones in the urinary system. They
treat problems of the male reproductive system, such as impotence (erectile
dysfunction). Urogynecologists specialize in treating urinary problems
involving the female reproductive system. And pediatric urologists specialize
in diagnosing and treating urinary problems in children.
Urologists can be board-certified through the American Board of Urology,
which is recognized by the American Board of Medical Specialties.
August 17, 2012
Anne C. Poinier, MD - Internal Medicine & E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine