Medical
Glossary


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

F.
Facial palsy

inability to move the muscles of the face, usually on only one side, due to inflammation of a nerve

Faecal occult blood test

a test that uses a piece of chemically sensitive paper to detect blood in a stool sample; used to screen for possible signs of cancer in the large intestine or rectum

Failure to thrive

describes a baby who grows and gains weight slower than expected

Fallopian tube

either of two long, slender ducts connecting a woman's uterus to her ovaries, where eggs are transported from the ovaries to the uterus and sperm may fertilise an egg

Familial

a term describing a disorder or characteristic (such as male pattern baldness) that occurs within a family more often than would be expected

Fasciitis

inflammation of the layer of connective tissue that covers, separates, and supports muscles

Fatty acid

any of a number of carbon-, oxygen-, and hydrogen-containing molecules that make up fats

Febrile

a term used to describe something related to a fever, such as febrile seizures (seizures occurring in a child who has a fever)

Femoral artery

the main artery that supplies blood to the leg

Femur

the bone located between the hip and the knee; the thighbone

Fertilisation

the joining of an egg and a sperm, creating the first cell of a new life

Fertility

the ability to produce a child

Fertility drug

a drug used to treat infertility that contains hormones or substances associated with hormones

Fibre

a constituent of plants that cannot be digested, which helps maintain healthy functioning of the bowels

Fibre-optics

thin, flexible instruments that transmit light and images, allowing structures inside of the body to be viewed

Fibrillation

rapid, inefficient contraction of muscle fibres of the heart caused by disruption of nerve impulses

Fibroadenoma

a noncancerous tumour commonly found in the breast

Fibrocystic breast disease

the most common cause of breast lumps

Fibroid

a noncancerous tumour of the uterus made up of smooth muscle and connective tissue

Fibroma

a noncancerous tumour of connective tissue

Fibrosis

abnormal formation of connective or scar tissue

Fifth disease

a childhood infection caused by a virus, which often starts as a rash on the cheeks and spreads

Fissure

a groove or slit on the body or in an organ

Fistula

an abnormal passageway from one organ to another or from an organ to the body surface

Fitness

a measure of a person's physical strength, flexibility, and endurance

Flatulence

excessive air or gas in the intestines, which is expelled through the anus

Floaters

small spots that float across the field of vision, caused by debris floating in the gel-like substance that fills the eye

Flu

see Influenza

Fluke

a parasitic flatworm that can infest humans

Fluoride

a mineral that helps protect teeth against decay

Fluoroscopy

a method used to view organ structure and function by passing X-rays through the body and monitoring the resulting image on a fluorescent screen

Foetal alcohol syndrome

a combination of defects in a foetus as a result of the mother drinking alcohol during pregnancy

Foetal distress

physical distress experienced by a foetus because of lack of oxygen

Foetal monitoring

the use of an instrument to record or listen to a foetus' heartbeat during pregnancy and labour

Foetal tissue transplant

an experimental procedure in which cells are taken from an aborted foetus and placed into the brain of a person with a brain disease such as Parkinson's

Foetus

the term used to refer to an unborn child from 8 weeks after fertilisation to birth

Folic acid

a vitamin essential to the production of red blood cells; plays an important role in the growth a developing foetus

Follicle

a tiny pouch-like cavity in a structure of the body, such as a hair follicle

Follicle Stimulating Hormone (FSH)

Follicle Stimulating Hormone is a hormone produced by the pituitary gland in the brain that stimulates the testicles to produce sperm in males and causes eggs to mature in females. It is commonly measured in women who are approaching menopause or who are suffering from menopausal symptoms to gauge whether they are nearing the end of their reproductive life. Raised levels of FSH in a blood test would signal that the ovaries are struggling to produce eggs.

Folliculitis

the inflammation of hair follicles due to a bacterial infection, causing boils or tiny blisters containing pus

Fontanelles

the two soft spots on a baby's scalp that are the result of gaps in the skull where bones have not yet fused

Food poisoning

stomach pain, diarrhoea, and/or vomiting caused by eating contaminated food

Forceps

instruments resembling tweezers that are used to handle objects or tissue during surgery

Forceps delivery

the use of an instrument that cups the baby's head (called an obstetric forceps), to help deliver a baby

Foreign body

an object in an organ or body cavity that is not normally present

Foreskin

the loose skin that covers the head of the penis

Fracture

a bone break

Fraternal twins

twins that develop from two different eggs fertilised by two different sperm; are not identical

Free radical

see Oxygen free radical

Free T3

T3 (triiodothyronine) is the biologically active thyroid hormone produced by the thyroid gland. Some T3 is bound to proteins in our blood and therefore is unavailable to our cells. Free T3 is the unbound or available T3 and can be a better measure of thyroid status than a T3 blood test.

Free T4

T4 or thyroxidine is the main hormone produced by the thyroid gland. Some T4 will attach to proteins in the blood which means that it is not available to be converted to T3, the biologically active thyroid hormone. A blood test to measure Free T4 can be a more active measure of available T4.

Frostbite

damage to body tissue as a result of freezing

FSH

see Follicle stimulating hormone

Fulminant

describes a disorder that begins suddenly and worsens quickly

Fungus

an organism that is dependent on another organism for nourishment

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