Glossary - Environmental Medicine



| A | | B | | C | | D | | E | | F | | G | | H | | I | | J | | K | | L | | M | | N | | O | | P | | Q | | R | | S | | T | | U | | V | | W | | X | | Y | | Z |

A

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air pollution - the presence of noxious substances in the air that we breathe.

allergen - the substance that triggers an allergic reaction.

allergy - an acquired, abnormal immune response to a substance that can cause a broad range of inflammatory reactions.

asthma - a chronic, inflammatory lung disease characterized by recurrent breathing problems usually triggered by allergens. (Infection, exercise, cold air, and other factors may also be allergic triggers.)

B

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C

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cancer - abnormal cells that divide without control, which can invade nearby tissues or spread through the bloodstream and lymphatic system to other parts of the body.

carbon monoxide (CO) - a colorless, odorless gas which can be created whenever a fuel (such as wood, gasoline, coal, natural gas, or kerosene) is burning.

D

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dermatitis - an inflammation of the skin - characterized by redness and itching.

E

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electric and magnetic fields - refers to the electric and magnetic fields which surround both big power lines that distribute power and the smaller but closer electric lines in homes and appliances.

environmental medicine - the healthcare specialty concerned with human illnesses or dysfunctions that result from environmental factors.

epidemiology - the study of the spread, control, and prevention of disease in a group of persons.

F

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G

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goiter - an overgrown thyroid gland.

Gulf War syndrome - A widely used term referring to unexplained illnesses occurring in Gulf War veterans.

H

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I

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J

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K

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L

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lead poisoning - an abnormal condition often caused by breathing or swallowing substances that contain lead.

M

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mercury poisoning - an abnormal condition caused by breathing or swallowing a mercury substance.

mold - a microscopic fungus that grows and lives on plant or animal matter or on non-organic objects. Most molds are made up of filaments and reproduce through the production of spores, which spread by air, water, or insects.

multiple chemical sensitivity - a diagnostic label for people who suffer multi-system illnesses as a result of contact with, or proximity to, a variety of airborne agents and other substances.

N

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O

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P

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pigmentosa - a rare, inherited skin disease making the skin very sensitive to ultraviolet light.

pneumoconiosis - a lung disease caused by the long-term breathing (ingestion) of dust.

Q

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R

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radon - a colorless naturally occurring radioactive, inert gas formed by radioactive decay of radium atoms in soil or rocks.

S

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T

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U

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V

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W

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X

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Y

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Z

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