Click a word on the left and the definition will appear here:

Allergen: A substance that triggers an allergic reaction.

Click a word on the left and the definition will appear here:

Allergic Rhinitis: An allergy affecting the mucus membrane of the nose. Seasonal allergic rhinitis is often called "hay fever."

Click a word on the left and the definition will appear here:

Allergist: A doctor that diagnoses, treats, and manages allergy-related conditions.

Click a word on the left and the definition will appear here:

Ana-Kit: A device used to inject epinephrine during an anaphylaxis attack.

Click a word on the left and the definition will appear here:

Anaphylaxis: A life-threatening allergic reaction that involves the entire body. Anaphylaxis may result in shock or death, and thus requires immediate medical attention

Click a word on the left and the definition will appear here:

Animal dander: The small scales or pieces of skin, often containing proteins secreted by oil glands, which are shed by an animal. These proteins are the major causes of allergies to pets.

Click a word on the left and the definition will appear here:

Antibiotics: A class of medications used to treat bacterial infections. Certain antibiotics, such as penicillin, may cause an allergic reaction in some people.

Click a word on the left and the definition will appear here:

Antibody: A protein in the immune system that recognizes and attacks foreign substances in the body.

Click a word on the left and the definition will appear here:

Anticonvulsant: A medication used to prevent or treat seizures. Certain anticonvulsants may cause an allergic reaction in some people.

Click a word on the left and the definition will appear here:

Antihistamines: A class of medications used to block the action of histamines in the body and prevent the symptoms of an allergic reaction.

Click a word on the left and the definition will appear here:

Asthma: An inflammatory disorder of the airways, causing periodic attacks of wheezing, coughing, chest tightness, and shortness of breath.

Click a word on the left and the definition will appear here:

Atopic dermatitis: A chronic skin rash, also known as "eczema," that often appears in the first few years of life.

Click a word on the left and the definition will appear here:

Basophil: An immune system cell that attaches to antibodies and circulates through out the blood.

Click a word on the left and the definition will appear here:

Beta-blockers: A class of blood pressure medications that ease the heart's pumping action and widen the blood vessels. Beta-blockers counteract the effects of epinephrine used for emergency treatment of anaphylactic shock and should not be used during immunotherapy.

Click a word on the left and the definition will appear here:

Bronchial tubes: The lower sections of the airway that lead into the lungs.

Click a word on the left and the definition will appear here:

Challenge test: A test used to confirm an allergy to specific substance. A doctor will administer small but increasing amounts of a suspected allergen until an allergic response is noticed. Due to the risk of anaphylaxis, this should only be performed under a controlled setting.

Click a word on the left and the definition will appear here:

Conjunctivitis: Inflammation of the conjunctiva, or the mucous membrane surrounding the eye. Also known as pinkeye.

Click a word on the left and the definition will appear here:

Contact dermatitis: An allergic reaction resulting from skin contact to an allergen.

Click a word on the left and the definition will appear here:

Corticosteroid: An anti-inflammatory medication used to treat the itching and swelling associated with some allergic reactions.

Click a word on the left and the definition will appear here:

Cromolym sodium: An anti-inflammatory nasal spray used to treat and sometimes prevent allergic rhinitis.

Click a word on the left and the definition will appear here:

Decongestants: A class of medications used for nasal congestion. Decongestants are available in oral doses, nasal sprays, or eye drops (for conjunctivitis).

Click a word on the left and the definition will appear here:

Dust mites: A microscopic organism that lives in dust.

Click a word on the left and the definition will appear here:

Eczema: See Atopic dermatitis.

Click a word on the left and the definition will appear here:

Eosinophil: A specific type of immune cell that can cause tissue damage in the late phase of an allergic reaction.

Click a word on the left and the definition will appear here:

Epinepherine: A medication used for immediate treatment of anaphylaxis by raising blood pressure and heart rate back to normal levels. Epinepherine is also known as adrenaline.

Click a word on the left and the definition will appear here:

EpiPen: A device used to inject epinephrine during an anaphylaxis attack.

Click a word on the left and the definition will appear here:

Heparin: A chemical released by basophils and mast cells that causes nearby tissues to become swollen and inflamed.

Click a word on the left and the definition will appear here:

Histamine: A chemical released by basophils and mast cells that causes nearby tissues to become swollen and inflamed.

Click a word on the left and the definition will appear here:

Hives: See urticaria.

Click a word on the left and the definition will appear here:

Hypertension: High blood pressure. When blood pushes against artery walls harder than normal.

Click a word on the left and the definition will appear here:

Immunoglobulin E: A type of antibody responsible for most allergic reactions.

Click a word on the left and the definition will appear here:

Immunotherapy: A series of shots that help build up the immune system's tolerance to an allergen.

Click a word on the left and the definition will appear here:

Insulin: A hormone that regulates blood sugar levels. Diabetics who take insulin derived from animals may have allergic reactions.

Click a word on the left and the definition will appear here:

Intradermal test: A test where an allergen is injected just underneath the skin. Intradermal tests are generally used when results from a skin prick test are unclear.

Click a word on the left and the definition will appear here:

Late Phase: The period 4 - 24 hours after exposure to an allergen where tissue damage may occur.

Click a word on the left and the definition will appear here:

Leukotrienes: Inflammatory substances that are released by mast cells during an allergic response or asthma attack.

Click a word on the left and the definition will appear here:

Lymphocyte: A specific type of immune cell that can cause tissue damage in the late phase of an allergic reaction.

Click a word on the left and the definition will appear here:

Mast cell: An immune system cell which attaches to antibodies and is located in the tissue that lines the nose, bronchial tubes, gastrointestinal tract, and the skin

Click a word on the left and the definition will appear here:

Neocromil sodium: An inhaled medication used to treat inflammation involved with asthma.

Click a word on the left and the definition will appear here:

Neutrophil: A specific type of immune cell that can cause tissue damage in the late phase of an allergic reaction.

Click a word on the left and the definition will appear here:

Otitis media: A middle ear infection. Otitis media with effusion occurs when fluid builds up within the ear.

Click a word on the left and the definition will appear here:

Radioallergosorbant Test (RAST): A blood test that measures the amount of IgE antibody produced when the sample is mixed with a specific allergen.

Click a word on the left and the definition will appear here:

Rhinitis: An inflammation of the nasal passageways, particularly with discharge.

Click a word on the left and the definition will appear here:

Sinusitis: An inflammation or infection of one or more sinuses. The sinuses are hollow air spaces located around the nose and eyes.

Click a word on the left and the definition will appear here:

Skin prick test: A test where a needle is used to scratch the skin with a small amount of allergen. A response can usually be seen within 15 - 20 minutes.

Click a word on the left and the definition will appear here:

Urticaria: Raised areas of the skin that are often red, warm, and itchy. Urticaria is also known as hives.

Click a word on the left and the definition will appear here:

Urushiol: An oil found on poison ivy, oak, and sumac.

QUESTION: Will a change of diet improve my osteoarthritis?

DR. ALAN GREENE: Obesity is known to increase the odds of developing osteoarthritis, and to increase the progression of osteoarthritis in someone who already has it. Losing excess weight has been associated with reducing the pain and disability of osteoarthritis, especially if the person loses excess body fat.

Research has not yet proven that eating larger amounts of certain foods will prevent osteoarthritis or reverse its effects. Yet it is prudent to control obesity by limiting calories, opting for healthy eating habits, and cutting down on the intake of fatty foods. Some changes in body chemicals related to painful inflammation can be initiated by replacing red meats with fish and by using certain vegetable oils. Some people believe that 'acid foods' cause arthritis. This is not the case. In addition, alcohol does not affect osteoarthritis, although alcoholism can damage bone and be a secondary cause of osteoarthritis.

QUESTION: I have broken my knee twice playing football. Will I develop osteoarthritis in that joint?

DR. ALAN GREENE: It is possible. Joint trauma is known to be a factor in the development of osteoarthritis. Furthermore, if a bone is broken near a joint, there is a greater likelihood of developing osteoarthritis in the joint itself.

QUESTION: My stomach is easily upset. Will arthritis medicine upset my stomach or give me an ulcer?

DR. ALAN GREENE: Make sure that your health care provider knows about your stomach problems so that they can prescribe a pain reliever that does not irritate the stomach or cause bleeding from or ulcers in the stomach, which these medications can sometimes do. Suitable choices may be an aspirin-free pain reliever, such as acetaminophen, or an NSAID (non-steroid anti-inflammatory drug) that causes fewer GI symptoms (such as salsalate). As an alternative, the health care provider may prescribe another medication to lessen the side effects of NSAIDs. In some cases, it may be beneficial to switch to a COX-2 inhibitor that significantly lessens the chance of stomach problems, although this medication also has important side effects.

QUESTION: Will moving to a different climate improve my osteoarthritis?

DR. ALAN GREENE: It is well known that arthritis sufferers often feel more joint pain in damp locations, just before it rains, or sometimes during humid periods. However, osteoarthritis occurs in all climates. The effect of the weather on symptoms really is temporary and does not actually affect the disease. This means that climate does not improve or worsen arthritis, although it may affect the symptoms.

QUESTION: I have osteoarthritis in my hip joint. Will I need surgery to correct it?

DR. ALAN GREENE: Very likely, no. Most people with osteoarthritis never need to have surgery. Surgery only becomes an option if the person suffers from (1) severe pain that is not relieved by available treatment methods, (2) a dramatically impaired ability to perform daily activities, or (3) marked joint instability. Simpler treatments must be tried before surgery is considered.

QUESTION: Both my mother and father had osteoarthritis. Am I likely to get it too?

DR. ALAN GREENE: Heredity appears to play a role in osteoarthritis, although the exact causes remain unknown. In a few people scientists have found an abnormal gene that causes the early breakdown of joint cartilage. This eventually may lead to the development of osteoarthritis. However, it doesn't at all follow that you'll develop osteoarthritis in a joint just because a parent has it.

QUESTION: What is the difference between osteoarthritis (OA) and rheumatoid arthritis (RA)?

DR. ALAN GREENE: The principle features of the two conditions are not the same, and their treatment is very different. In osteoarthritis, the cartilage in the joint becomes damaged and, ultimately, the joint degenerates. The joint is not primarily inflamed, although inflammation may occur as a late result.

On the other hand, in rheumatoid arthritis, there is initial inflammation of the lining of the joint. This produces a soft, tender swelling in contrast to the bony enlargement of osteoarthritis. Cartilage damage occurs later as a result of this inflammation. The pain of osteoarthritis is often least troublesome in the morning but may gradually worsen during the day. With rheumatoid arthritis, the pain and stiffness usually is worst upon waking, but gradually improves during the day.

Rheumatoid arthritis is not just a disease of the joints. Abnormalities occur in the blood vessels, circulating cells, and proteins, as well as connective tissue. Not surprisingly, rheumatoid arthritis is associated with more generalized disturbances -- such as anemia (low red blood cell count) -- which are proportional to the activity of the arthritis. Usually more than one joint is involved in rheumatoid arthritis, with the hands almost always affected.

 

Main Menu


Review Date: 11/22/2006

Reviewed By: Alan Greene, M.D., F.A.A.P., Stanford University School of Medicine; Chief Medical Officer, A.D.A.M., Inc.


The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Call 911 for all medical emergencies. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. © 1997- A.D.A.M., Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.

adam.com

Related Links
Find a Rheumatologist
Request an Appointment Online or call
800-789-PENN (7366)
Rheumatology at Penn
Encyclopedia Articles about Arthritis and other Rheumatic Diseases

 

   
   

 

About Penn Medicine   Contact Us   Site Map   Privacy Statement   Legal Disclaimer   Terms of Use

Penn Medicine, Philadelphia, PA 800-789-PENN © 2014, The Trustees of the University of Pennsylvania space