Glossary - Environmental Medicine

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

A

air pollution - the presence of noxious substances in the air that we breathe.

allergen - the substance that triggers an allergic reaction.

allergy - an acquired, abnormal immune response to a substance that can cause a broad range of inflammatory reactions.

asthma - a chronic, inflammatory lung disease characterized by recurrent breathing problems usually triggered by allergens. (Infection, exercise, cold air, and other factors may also be allergic triggers.)

B

C

cancer - abnormal cells that divide without control, which can invade nearby tissues or spread through the bloodstream and lymphatic system to other parts of the body.

carbon monoxide (CO) - a colorless, odorless gas which can be created whenever a fuel (such as wood, gasoline, coal, natural gas, or kerosene) is burning.

D

dermatitis - an inflammation of the skin - characterized by redness and itching.

E

electric and magnetic fields - refers to the electric and magnetic fields which surround both big power lines that distribute power and the smaller but closer electric lines in homes and appliances.

environmental medicine - the healthcare specialty concerned with human illnesses or dysfunctions that result from environmental factors.

epidemiology - the study of the spread, control, and prevention of disease in a group of persons.

F

G

goiter - an overgrown thyroid gland.

Gulf War syndrome - A widely used term referring to unexplained illnesses occurring in Gulf War veterans.

H

I

J

K

L

lead poisoning - an abnormal condition often caused by breathing or swallowing substances that contain lead.

M

mercury poisoning - an abnormal condition caused by breathing or swallowing a mercury substance.

mold - a microscopic fungus that grows and lives on plant or animal matter or on non-organic objects. Most molds are made up of filaments and reproduce through the production of spores, which spread by air, water, or insects.

multiple chemical sensitivity - a diagnostic label for people who suffer multi-system illnesses as a result of contact with, or proximity to, a variety of airborne agents and other substances.

N

O

P

pigmentosa - a rare, inherited skin disease making the skin very sensitive to ultraviolet light.

pneumoconiosis - a lung disease caused by the long-term breathing (ingestion) of dust.

Q

R

radon - a colorless naturally occurring radioactive, inert gas formed by radioactive decay of radium atoms in soil or rocks.

S

T

U

V

W

X

Y

Z

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