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July 2001

Acidosis: excess production of acid in the body that usually produces symptoms of sweet breath, headache, nausea, vomiting and vision problems.

Acute: beginning suddenly or severely (as in a disease); progressing rapidly.

Antigen: a substance that stimulates an immune response (usually a foreign substance related to a disease).

Biopsy: a sample of tissue or fluids from a living body.

Cerebral: relating to the brain.

Chronic: lasting over a long period of time.

Cushing's syndrome: an abnormal condition of obesity and muscle weakness caused by an overproduction of corticosteroids in the body.

Cutaneous: relating to the skin.

Diabetes mellitus: a disorder involving insulin (a substance in the body that helps regulate blood sugar) that results in too much sugar in the blood and urine, as well as symptoms like hunger, thirst, loss of weight, and frequent urination.

Dyslipidemia: irregular levels of fats in the blood.

Enzyme: a protein that carries out specific jobs in the body.

Erectile Dysfunction: the inability to have an erection of the penis, the male reproductive organ.

Floaters: debris (like a dead cell) in the liquid of the eye that may be seen as a spot in the visual field.

Fungus: a type of organism that includes molds and mushrooms and lives off of living or dead material.

Hepatitis: inflammation of the liver that can have a variety of causes including viruses, medications, etc.

Lactic acid: a substance in blood and muscle tissue produced by the body when it is processing sugar for energy (usually when exercising or in the absence of sufficient levels of oxygen).

Lesion: an abnormal change to an area of the body, usually a well-defined mark.

Lipids: fats or fat-like substances that help make up living creatures.

Liver function tests: blood tests that can measure levels of liver proteins in the blood and detect stress or disease of the liver.

Malaise: a feeling of weakness or sickness that usually accompanies disease.

Metabolic: relating to chemical reactions in the body that are part of life; for example, turning food into energy or breathing in oxygen and breathing out carbon dioxide.

Microorganism: an organism that can only be seen with a microscope, like bacteria.

Necrosis: the death of living tissue.

Neuropathy: degeneration of nerves that can result in muscle weakness, pain and numbness.

Opportunistic infection: a disease caused by an organism that is usually harmless, but becomes activated when a person's immune system is impaired or damaged.

Optic neuritis: inflammation or lesion of the optic (eye) nerve resulting in impaired vision.

Parasite: an organism living with, in or on another living creature.

Prophylactic: preventing the spread or occurrence of disease.

Pulmonary: relating to the lungs.

Purulent: containing pus, such as that produced during an infection.

Retinitis: inflammation of the retina of the eye, which helps turn light into visual messages for the brain.

Shingles: reactivation of the virus that causes chicken pox, usually affecting nerves and causing radiating feelings of pain.

Sputum: saliva and discharge that can be coughed up, usually during an infection.

Stroke: a rupture or clot of a blood vessel in the brain that can cause a loss of sensation, movement, or consciousness.

Sulfa drugs: a type of bacteria-inhibiting drug.

Thrush: a disease caused by a fungus that usually causes white patches inside the mouth.

Toxicity: the quality of being poisonous or damaging.

Back to the HIV Treatment ALERTS! July 2001 contents page.

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This article was provided by The Center for AIDS Information & Advocacy. It is a part of the publication HIV Treatment ALERTS!. Visit CFA's website to find out more about their activities and publications.