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

I.
Iatrogenic

a term used to describe a disease, disorder, or medical condition that is a direct result of medical treatment

Ichthyosis

a variety of diseases in which the skin is dry and scaly

Idiopathic

a term used to describe something that occurs of an unknown cause

Ileostomy

a surgical procedure in which the lower part of the small intestine (the ileum) is cut and brought to an opening in the abdominal wall, where faeces can be passed out of the body

Ileum

the lowest section of the small intestine, which attaches to the large intestine

Ileum

one of the two bones that form the hip on either side of the body

Imaging

the technique of creating pictures of structures inside of the body using X-rays, ultrasound waves, or magnetic fields

Immune deficiency

impairment of the immune system, which reduces protection against infection and illness

Immune system

the cells, substances, and structures in the body that protect against infection and illness

Immunisation

the process of causing immunity by injecting antibodies or provoking the body to make its own antibodies against a certain micro-organism

Immunity

resistance to a specific disease because of the responses of the immune system

Immunocompromised

weakening of the body's immune system

Immunodeficiency

failure of the body's immune system to fight disease

Immunoglobin

proteins in blood and tissue fluids that help destroy micro-organisms such as bacteria and viruses

Immunoglobulin E (IgE)

Immunoglobulin E is a type of immunological missile called an antibody that is commonly involved in allergic responses.

Immunoglobulin G (IgG)

Immunoglobulin G (IgG() is This is type of immunological missile or antibody that is responsible for the body’s ‘memory’ of previous encounters with an outside stimulus. It is essential for vaccinations and immunisations and is thought to be implicated in food intolerance.

Immunology

the study of the immune system, including how it functions and disorders that affect it

Immunostimulant

a drug that increases the ability of the body's immune system to fight disease

Immunosuppressant

a drug that inhibits the activity of the immune system; used to prevent rejection of a transplant organ and in disorders where the body's immune system attacks its own tissues

Impacted fracture

a bone break in which the two broken ends have been forced into each other

Imperforate anus

a birth defect in which the opening of the anus is not formed normally

Impetigo

a highly contagious skin infection caused by bacteria, usually occurring around the nose and mouth; commonly occurring in children

Implant

an organ, tissue, or device surgically inserted and left in the body

Impotence

the inability to acquire or maintain an erection of the penis

In situ

"in place"; often describes a cancer that has not spread

In vitro

"in glass"; a biological test or process that is carried out in a laboratory

In vitro fertilisation

a treatment for infertility in which an egg and a sperm are joined outside the woman's body, and the fertilised egg is then inserted into the uterus or fallopian tube

In vivo

"in the living body"; a biological process that occurs inside of the body

Incompetent cervix

an abnormally weak cervix, which widens prematurely during pregnancy as a result of the weight of a developing foetus; may result in a miscarriage

Incontinence

inability to hold urine or faeces inside of the body

Incubation period

the time period between when an infectious organism enters the body and when symptoms occur

Indigestion

uncomfortable symptoms brought on by overeating or eating spicy, rich, or fatty foods; characterised by heartburn, pain in the abdomen, nausea, and gas, and can be more serious if recurrent

Induction of labour

the use of artificial means to start the process of childbirth

Infarction

tissue death due to lack of blood supply

Infection

disease-causing micro-organisms that enter the body, multiply, and damage cells or release toxins

Infective arthritis

arthritis caused by bacteria from a wound or the bloodstream entering a joint

Infertility

the inability to have children as a result of sexual intercourse

Inflammation

redness, pain, and swelling in an injured or infected tissue produced as a result of the body's healing response

Inflammatory bowel disease

Inflammatory bowel disease is a chronic inflammatory condition of the bowel. It comes in 2 forms, Ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease. Ulcerative colitis only affects the colon and is characterised by superficial inflammation of the lining of the colon resulting in diarrhoea, blood and mucus production. Crohn’s disease can affect any part of the bowel from mouth to anus and is characterised by much deeper inflammation which ‘skips’ areas of healthy bowel so it is possible to have several areas of inflammation going on at the same time. It can cause pain, weight loss and diarrhoea. Both are treatable but at the moment, not curable.

Inflammatory joint disease

any type of arthritis that causes a joint to become inflamed

Influenza

a viral infection characterised by headaches, muscle aches, fever, weakness, and cough; commonly called the "flu"

Informed consent

agreement to undergo a medical procedure after the technique, its risks, and its possible complications have been explained

Infusion

the introduction of a substance, such as a drug or nutrient, into the bloodstream or a body cavity

Ingestion

taking something into the body through the mouth

Ingrown toenail

a painful condition of the big toe in which the nail grows into the skin on either side, causing inflammation and/or infection

Inguinal hernia

the bulging of a portion of the intestines or abdominal tissue into the muscles of the groin (the area just below the abdomen)

Inhaler

a device used to introduce a powdered or misted drug into the lungs through the mouth, usually to treat respiratory disorders such as asthma

Inheritance

the passing of traits from parent to child through genes

Injection

the use of a syringe and needle to insert a drug into a vein, muscle, or joint or under the skin

Insemination

the placement of semen into a woman's uterus, cervix, or vagina

Insomnia

difficulty falling or remaining asleep

Insulin

a hormone made in the pancreas that plays an important role in the absorption of glucose (the body's main source of energy) into muscle cells

Insulinoma

a noncancerous tumour of the insulin-producing cells of the pancreas; the tumour releases excess insulin into the blood, causing glucose levels to drop dangerously low

Intensive care

close monitoring of a patient who is seriously ill

Interferon

a protein produced by body cells that fights viral infections and certain cancers

Internal fixation

a method of holding a broken bone in place using surgically inserted screws, rods, or plates

Interstitial

lying between body structures or in the interspaces of tissues

Interstitial cystitis

persistent inflammation of the lining and muscle of the bladder

Interstitial lung disease

a disease of the connective tissue surrounding the air sacs of the lungs that causes a dry cough, scarring of lung tissue, and shortness of breath

Interstitial pulmonary fibrosis

scarring of connective tissue in the lungs that leads to shortness of breath

Interstitial radiation therapy

a treatment for cancer in which a radioactive material is inserted into or near a tumour to provide direct radiation

Intervertebral disks

broad, flat cartilage structures containing a gel-like fluid that cushion and separate vertebrae

Intestinal bypass

a surgical procedure in which the beginning of the large intestine is joined to its end so that less food is absorbed; because of serious side effects, usually performed only on seriously obese people

Intestine

a long, tube-shaped organ that extends from the stomach to the anus; absorbs food and water and passes the waste products of digestion as faeces

Intolerance

An intolerance is different from an allergy and is defined as an unusual response of the body to certain substances.

Intra-aortic balloon pump

a small balloon inserted into the aorta that helps to circulate blood by inflating between heartbeats

Intractable

describes a condition that does not respond to treatment

Intramedullary rod

a strong metal rod that is placed inside of a broken bone to help it heal correctly

Intraocular pressure

the pressure of the fluids within the eye

Intrauterine device

a device inserted into the uterus that helps to prevent pregnancy

Intravenous

inside of or into a vein

Intrinsic

a term used to describe something originating from or located in a tissue or organ

Intubation

the passage of a tube into an organ or body structure; commonly used to refer to the passage of a tube down the windpipe for artificial respiration

Invasive

describes something that spreads throughout body tissues, such as a tumour or micro-organism; also describes a medical procedure in which body tissues are penetrated

Involuntary

occurring without a person's control or participation

Iodine

an element for the formation of thyroid hormones

Ionizing radiation

radiation that damages cells or genes; can be used to treat cancer

IQ

intelligence quotient; a measure of a person's intelligence as determined by specific tests

Iris

the coloured part of the eye

Iron

a mineral necessary for the formation of important biological substances such as haemoglobin, myoglobin, and certain enzymes

Iron-deficiency anaemia

a type of anaemia caused by a greater-than-normal loss of iron due to bleeding, problems absorbing iron, or a lack of iron in the diet

Irrigation

the cleansing of a wound by flushing it with water, a medicated solution, or some other fluid

Irritable bladder

involuntary contractions of muscles in the bladder, which can cause lack of control of urination

Irritable bowel syndrome

abnormal muscle movement in the intestines, which causes abdominal pain and irregular bowel movements (diarrhoea, constipation, or both)

Ischaemia

a condition in which a tissue or organ does not receive a sufficient supply of blood

IUD

see Intrauterine device

IVF

see In vitro fertilisation

Medichecks Cookie policy

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience.

Read more Got it!