I Glossary

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IBCLC - International Board Certified Lactation Consultant. IBCLC is a credential granted to a health care provider who specializes in breastfeeding management and care. The credential is granted by the International Board of Lactation Consultant Examiners after a candidate has successfully completed an exam, for which the candidate must qualify by meeting certain educational and practice requirements. 

Ibuprofen - a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) found in many over-the-counter medications (i.e., Advil or Motrin).

Ice therapy - cooling of deeper tissues.

Idiopathic - of unknown origin.

Idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura - a blood disorder characterized by an abnormal decrease in the number of blood platelets, which results in internal bleeding. There are two forms of idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura: acute thrombocytopenic purpura and chronic thrombocytopenic purpura.

Ileal - related to the ileum, the lowest end of the small intestine.

Ileoanal anastomosis (also called a pull-through operation) - an operation to remove the colon and inner lining of the rectum, but leave the outer muscle of the rectum. The bottom end of the small intestine (ileum) is pulled through the remaining rectum and joined to the anus, allowing stool to pass normally.

Ileoanal reservoir - an operation to remove the colon, upper rectum, and part of the lower rectum. An internal pouch is created from the remaining intestine to hold stool.

Ileocecal valve - a valve that connects the bottom end of the small intestine (ileum) and the upper part of the large intestine (cecum). This valve controls the flow of fluid in the intestines and prevents backflow.

Ileocolitis - irritation of the lower part of the small intestine (ileum) and colon.

Ileostomy - operation that makes it possible for stool to leave the body after the colon and rectum are removed. An opening is made in the abdomen and the bottom of the small intestine (ileum) attaches to it.

Ileum - lower end of the small intestine.

Illusions - a false perception; the mistaking of something for what is not.

Imaging - tests or evaluation procedures that produce pictures of areas inside the body.

Immobilization - preventing movement to allow for natural healing to take place.

Immune system - a collection of cells, proteins, antibodies, and organs that work together to protect the body from potentially harmful, infectious microorganisms, such as bacteria, viruses, and fungi.

Immunization - a process by which protection to an infectious disease is administered.

Immunocompromised - an abnormal condition in which one's ability to fight infection is decreased. This can be due to a disease process, certain medications, or a condition present at birth.

Immunoglobulin E (IgE) - a type of antibody, formed to protect the body from infection, which attaches to mast cells in the respiratory and intestinal tracts and may cause allergic rhinitis, asthma, or eczema.

Immunoglobulins - antibodies or proteins found in blood and tissue fluids produced by cells of the immune system to bind to substances in the body that are recognized as foreign antigens. Immunoglobulins sometimes bind to antigens that are not necessarily a threat to health and provoke an allergic reaction.

Immunology - the study of the body's immune system and its functions and disorders.

Immunosuppresive medications - medications that suppress the body's immune system; used to minimize rejection of transplanted organs.

immunotherapy - a type of treatment that attempts to manipulate the immune system to treat certain diseases and conditions, such as allergies, cancer, and rheumatoid arthritis, to name a few.

Impaction - trapping of an object in a body passage, such as stones in the bile duct or hardened stool in the colon.

impaired glucose tolerance (IGT) - a condition in which blood sugar levels are higher than normal, but are not high enough to be classified as diabetes; a risk factor for type 2 diabetes.

Impairment - loss of normal function of part of the body due to disease or injury, such as paralysis of the leg.

Impedance plethysmography - a test to evaluate blood flow through the leg.

Impetigo - a bacterial skin infection characterized by pus-filled blisters.

Impotence (also called erectile dysfunction) - the inability to achieve an erection, and/or dissatisfaction with the size, rigidity, and/or duration of erections.

In vitro fertilization - treatment for infertility in which a woman's egg is fertilized outside her body with her partner's sperm or sperm from a donor.

Incidence - statistic that equals the number of new cases of a particular disease that occur in a population during a defined period of time, usually one year.

Incontinence, urinary - uncontrollable, involuntary leaking of urine.

Indigestion (also called dyspepsia) - poor digestion; symptoms include heartburn, nausea, bloating, and gas.

Infection - the invasion of the body by microorganisms that cause disease.

Infectious arthritis - an infection in the joint fluid and tissues.

Inferior vena cava - the large blood vessel (vein) that returns blood from the legs and abdomen to the heart.

Infertility - not being able to produce a child.

Inflammation - the response of the tissues of the body to irritation or injury. The signs of inflammation are redness, heat, swelling, and pain.

Inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD) - diseases that cause irritation and ulcers in the intestinal tract. Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis are the most common inflammatory bowel diseases.

Influenza (Also called the flu.) - a viral respiratory tract infection. The influenza viruses are divided into three types: A, B, and C.

Informed consent - a legal document that explains a course of treatment, the risks, benefits, and possible alternatives; the process by which patients agree to treatment.

Infusion therapy (also called intravenous therapy) - the introduction of fluid other than blood into a vein.

Inguinal hernia - part of the small intestine that pushes through an opening in the abdominal muscle, causing a bulge underneath the skin in the groin area.

Inner ear - part of the ear that contains both the organ of hearing (cochlea) and the organ of balance (labyrinth).

Inotropic medications - medications that increase strength of the contractions in the heart.

Inpatient surgery - surgery which requires the patient to be admitted and stay in the hospital.

Insomnia - inability to fall asleep or to remain asleep throughout the night.

Inspiration - inhaling; taking in oxygen.

Insulin - hormone produced by the pancreas, which helps glucose leave the blood and enter the muscles and other tissues of the body.

Insulin-dependent diabetes (also called type 1 diabetes) - a condition in which the pancreas makes so little insulin that the body cannot use blood glucose as energy, which must be controlled with daily insulin injections.

Insulin resistance - partial blocking of the effect of insulin.

Intercostal muscles - muscles lying between ribs; often injured by muscle strain.

Interferon - a biological response modifier that stimulates the growth of certain disease-fighting blood cells in the immune system.

Interleukin-2 - a biological response modifier that stimulates the growth of certain blood cells in the immune system that can fight cancer.

Internal derangement of the joint - a condition of a joint, such as a dislocated jaw or displaced disk, or injury to the condyle (the rounded edges of the jaw). The knee joint can also have a type of internal derangement condition. 

Interstitial cystitis - a complex, chronic disorder characterized by an inflamed or irritated bladder wall.

Interventional radiology - an area of specialty within the field of radiology which uses various radiological techniques (such as X-ray, computed tomography (CT) scans, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans, and ultrasounds) to place wires, tubes, or other instruments inside a patient to diagnose or treat an array of conditions.

Intervertebral disk - disk that forms a cartilaginous joint between the vertebrae to provide shock absorption.

Intestinal flora - bacteria, yeasts, and fungi that grow normally in the intestines.

Intestinal mucosa - surface lining of the intestines where the cells absorb nutrients.

Intolerance - allergy or sensitivity to a food, drug, or other substance.

Intra-articular - within the joint.

Intracranial pressure (ICP) - pressure inside the skull.

Intraductal papilloma - a small, wart-like growth that projects into the breast ducts near the nipple, which may cause a bloody or sticky discharge.

Intrauterine insemination - treatment for infertility in which semen is introduced into the uterus via a slim tube inserted through the vagina.

Intravascular echocardiography - echocardiography used in cardiac catheterization.

Intravascular ultrasound (also called IVUS) - the use of ultrasound inside a blood vessel to visualize the interior of the vessel in order to detect problems.

Intravenous - introducing a fluid into the bloodstream through a vein.

Intravenous line - a thin, plastic tube inserted into a vein through which a volume of fluid is injected into the bloodstream.

Intravenous pyelogram (IVP) - a series of X-rays of the kidney, ureters, and bladder with the injection of a contrast dye into the vein; to detect tumors, abnormalities, kidney stones, or any obstructions, and to assess renal blood flow.

Intrinsic asthma - asthma that has no apparent external cause.

invasive cancer - cancer that begins in one area and then spreads deeper into the tissues of that area.

Investigational new drug - a drug allowed by the FDA to be used in clinical trials, but not approved for sale to the general public.

Iris - the colored part of the eye; partly responsible for regulating the amount of light permitted to enter the eye.

Iron-deficiency anemia - the most common type of anemia; characterized by a lack of iron in the blood, which is necessary to make hemoglobin.

Ischemia - lack of oxygen.

Ischemic colitis - decreased blood flow to the colon, which causes fever, pain, and bloody diarrhea.

Ischemic heart disease - coronary artery disease or coronary heart disease caused by narrowing of the coronary arteries and decreased blood flow to the heart.

Islets of Langerhans - pancreatic cells that produce insulin and glucagon; important regulators of sugar metabolism.

Isometric - muscle contraction without movement at the joint.

Isthmus - tissue that connects the two lobes of the thyroid.

 

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