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digestive system (pathophys)


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specialty of medicine that deals specifically with digestion and problems associated with it
Passage or hollow part of a tubular organ.
The body from the chest to the hips.
Typically refers to the GI tract of an embryo.
Internal organs, especially those of the abdominal cavity (singular is viscus).
Internal organ, especially in the abdominal cavity (plural is viscera).
vestibule (oral cavity)
space between lips & cheeks
oral cavity proper
Space internal to the teeth (where tongue lies).
Latin for lips.
Membranous tissue covering internal organs and other internal surfaces of the body.
vermillion border
Demarcation between red lips and adjacent normal skin.
labia frenulum
Connective membrane between lip and inner mucosa of gum.
Tissue or gums of the mouth.
hard palate
Rigid surface of the roof of the mouth.
inferior labia
Lower lip.
soft palate
Posterior portion of the roof of mouth that rises during swallowing to close off the nasopharynx.
superior labia
Upper lip.
Tag-like structure hanging down from the soft palate.
Biting and grinding food in your mouth so that you can swallow it
extrinsic muscles (tongue)
allow the tongue to alter position
intrinsic muscles (tongue)
allow the tongue to change shape
Muscle on the floor of the mouth used for mastication, deglutination, and articulation.
lingual frenulum
Connective tissue holding the tongue to the floor of the mouth.
filiform papillae
Small projections which allow the tongue to grasp food and manipulate it during mastication.
fungiform papillae
Large projections on the tongue with a mushroom appearance.
sulcus terminalis
Groove that marks the border between the mouth and the pharynx.
circumvallate papillae
Ten or so projections in the back of the tongue which lie in the shape of a V.
lingual tonsils
Rounded masses of tissue covering the root of the tongue.
salivary glands
Any of the saliva-secreting exocrine glands of the oral cavity.
A complex mixture of water, ions, mucus, and enzymes.
small intrinsic salivary glands
Glands responsible for maintaining a moist mouth.
large extrinsic salivary glands
Glands that secrete saliva only when we eat or anticipate eating.
parotid gland
Large salivary gland located in front of and below each ear that produces much of the daytime saliva.
submandibular gland
Salivary gland inside the lower jaw on either side that produces most of the nocturnal saliva.
sublingual gland
Small salivary gland located on either side of the mouth under the tongue that produces the viscous component of saliva.
Baby teeth.
Tooth shaped like chisel that bites off pieces of food.
Tooth that pierces or tears food.
Tooth that grinds food (also known as bicuspid).
Tooth that grinds food (also known as premolar).
Tooth with broad crown that grinds food.
Tissue of jaws that surrounds the teeth (also known as gums).
Portion of the tooth that is covered with enamel.
Yellowish bony tissue beneath the enamel of a tooth.
pulp cavity
Innermost part of the tooth containing the nerve endings and blood vessels
Protective layer covering the root of the tooth.
periodontal membrane
Membrane that holds the tooth in place.
Cavity; deterioration or demineralization of the tooth enamel and dentin due to bacteria.
dental plaque
Build up of sugar, bacteria, and other debris that adheres to the surface of the teeth.
alimentary canal
Tube that extends from the lips to the anus (also known as GI tract).
Coat or covering.
tunica serosa
Outermost covering of the alimentary tract (also known as tunica adventitia).
tunica adventitia
Outermost covering of alimentary tract (also known as tunica serosa).
Single layer of skin cells that lines body cavities within the peritoneal cavity.
Double layer of peritoneum that attaches various organs to the body wall.
tunica muscularis
Gives the alimentary canal the ability of spontaneous movement.
Wavelike movement that propels contents through the alimentary canal.
tunica submucosa
Highly vascular layer of the alimentary canal.
tunica mucosa
Innermost layer of the alimentary canal.
Organs that release enzymes to break down food.
Double folds of peritoneum supporting the viscera.
lesser omentum
Double fold of peritoneum extending from the stomach to the underside of the liver.
greater omentum
Double fold of peritoneum extending from the stomach to the transverse colon.
Abdominal organs positioned outside the coelomic cavity
Common passageway to the stomach and lungs.
Posterior continuation of the nasal cavity
Extends from the soft palate to the hyoid bone.
Lid-like structure composed of cartilage that hangs over the entrance to the larynx.
Portion of alimentary canal that connects the pharynx to the stomach.
cardiac orifice
the junction between the esophagus and the stomach. This is also frequently referred to as the “GE junction” (gastroesophageal junction). Although no true sphincter exists at this point, the muscles here are in a constant state of contraction in order to prevent the stomach contents from flowing backward.
the dome-shaped portion of the stomach that extends slightly above the cardiac orifice.
body of the stomach
widest portion and is located between the lesser and greater curvatures.
the last area of the stomach, just before the duodenum. The location where most digestion occurs is the pylorus.
A loss or total lack of appetite.
The audible rumbling sounds of gas moving through the intestinal tract. This is the plural form, and singular is borborygmus.
Singular form of borborygmi.
A shivering or shaking. Also called a rigor.
Another name for chills.
Infrequent or difficult evacuation of feces. This term could be classified as either a symptom or a disease. Patients can subjectively relate that they are experiencing the discomfort of constipation, and it can also be the diagnosis. If it continues for a prolonged period of time it is called obstipation.
Constipation that continues for a prolonged period of time.
This is a subjective feeling of difficulty swallowing. It occurs when there is impaired progression of the food bolus from the pharynx to the stomach.
An elevation in temperature above normal. This is also called pyrexia. If a patient has a fever, physicians will usually refer to them as being febrile. By the same token, if a patient does not have a fever, they are referred to as being afebrile.
Another name for a fever
If a patient has a fever, physicians will usually refer to them as being febrile.
If a patient does not have a fever, they are referred to as being afebrile.
Excessive gas in the colon is often expressed by bloating, belching, and flatulence.
Swollen, abdominal distention, often caused by gas.
Also called burping, expelling gas from the stomach out the mouth.
Gas expelled through the anus.
A retrosternal sensation of burning felt in waves and arising upward toward the neck.
Vomiting of blood.
The passage of bloody stools.
Melan(o)- is a combining form that means black. The term melena refers both to the passage of dark and pitchy stools stained with blood pigment and black vomit. Although the combining form is spelled with an A, it is important to note that the term melena or melenic stools is spelled with an E. This is a common error among new MTs.
An unpleasant sensation in the epigastric and abdominal area, which often results in vomiting.
Pain during swallowing.
Paleness or the absence of skin color.
Flow in the opposite direction as is normal. This word is also another word for vomiting.
Straining, especially ineffective and painful straining during a bowel movement or urination.
Also called emesis. The forcible expulsion of stomach contents through the mouth.
Lacking physical strength.
weight loss
A decrease in existing body weight.
This is an impairment of normal esophageal peristalsis. (You may remember that peristalsis is the movement of the muscles in the alimentary canal to propel the food bolus.) It also affects the ability of the lower esophageal sphincter to relax. The most common symptoms are dysphagia, regurgitation, nocturnal cough, and chest pain.
anorexia nervosa
This is a mental condition characterized by an individual's refusal to eat enough to maintain a minimal body weight, usually fueled by an intense fear of becoming obese.
Inflammation of the vermiform appendix. (The term appendix is actually a general term which means a supplementary, accessory, or dependent part of a main structure.) This is the first, but many individual structures which are found in the body (GI system and elsewhere) can be individually affected by infection which causes inflammation. You will notice that the suffix -itis appears in several disease processes.
The vermiform appendix specifically identifies the diverticulum of the cecum. However, healthcare professionals commonly drop the term vermiform when referring to this particular appendix.
The absence or closure of a normal body orifice or tubular organ.
Tightly packed, partially digested agglomerations of hair or vegetable matter. Seeds, bubble gum, medication, and other materials can mimic true bezoars.
A type of food poisoning caused by the production of the bacteria Clostridium botulinum in improperly canned foods. It is characterized by vomiting, abdominal pain, difficulty seeing, dryness of the mouth and pharynx, dyspepsia, cough; it often results in death.
This is another term for cleft lip or harelip. It is a congenital abnormality.
Inflammation of the gallbladder. There are different types of cholecystitis, the most common being chronic and acute. An acute infection generally indicates severe infection and often necessitates a cholecystectomy, which is removal of the gallbladder. This is an extremely common procedure.
The presence or formation of gallstones
This refers to a group of liver diseases in which the normal hepatic structure is destroyed over time by nodules. It is the third leading cause of death in North America for people 45 to 65 years of age. In North America it is often caused by chronic alcohol abuse. (In other parts of the world it can be caused by untreated and highly communicable strains of hepatitis.)
Inflammation of the colon.
A condition that results from an excessive loss of body water. This can occur on a hot day without a drinking fountain close by, but also occurs when there is vomiting, diarrhea, diabetes, mental disorder, coma, or when a patient is taking diuretic medications (those which promote the excretion of urine). It can be life-threatening.
dental caries
Tooth decay. Although this is a component of the dental specialty, because it directly affects the teeth, which are responsible for masticating food, it is significant to the function of the GI system.
Abnormal frequency and liquidity of fecal discharges. Diarrhea is actually a symptom that suggests the presence of a disorder. However, it often is short in duration, is easily identifiable by a patient, and often does not require any treatment.
An abnormal bulge, pocket, or pouch formed from a hollow or tubular structure.
The plural form of diverticulum. (The plural of diverticulum is NOT diverticuli; this is a common dictation/transcription error.)
Inflammation of a diverticulum.
The presence of diverticula with the absence of diverticulitis, especially in the colon.
Zenker diverticulum
The most common place that a diverticulum occurs is just below the pharynx.
Any of a variety of disorders marked by inflammation of the intestines, especially the colon. The symptoms include pain in the abdomen, tenesmus, and frequent stools containing blood and mucus.
amebic dysentery
The most common type of dysentery, due to an ulceration of the bowel caused by amebiasis.
The state of being infected by amebae
General term which means impairment to the power or function of digestion. It often refers to discomfort in the epigastric region following a meal, or what many people call "indigestion."
Inflammation of the intestine, especially the small intestine. Often this is combined (e.g., enterocolitis).
Inflammation of both the intestine and colon.
A form of enteritis that is spread by food and water contaminated with feces. It is much more common in Third World countries.
Inflammation of the esophagus.
An intestinal concretion (the process of becoming harder or more solid) formed around a center of fecal matter.
An abnormal passage or communication between two organs or from an internal organ to the surface of the body. There are several different types. It can occur because of trauma, infection, inflammation, degeneration, necrosis, or other causes.
Inflammation of the stomach. This is commonly combined (e.g., gastroenteritis). This is often a result of a bacteria, and symptoms include anorexia, nausea, diarrhea, abdominal pain, and weakness. Gastritis is also a problem frequently associated with alcohol abuse.
Acute inflammation of the lining of the stomach and the intestines.
gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)
The reflux of stomach contents into the esophagus. It is often represented by the acronym GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease). This is usually caused by an incompetent lower esophageal sphincter. The major symptom is heartburn, although it can lead to several more severe disorders.
Offensive breath. This can be real as the result of ingested substances, gingival disease, fermentation of food in the mouth, or associated with systemic diseases such as diabetic acidosis. It can also be imagined and the result of anxiety disorders, obsessive disorders, paranoia, or hypochondria.
Inflammation of the liver. Hepatitis can be due to viral, bacterial, or parasitic factors. They are generally classified by letters (i.e., hepatitis A, hepatitis B, hepatitis C). Some strains are transmitted through feces/oral contact, some through the blood (IV drug use), and some are sexually transmitted. Hepatitis can be chronic and active, in which case it is often fatal. Some forms are highly contagious.
The protrusion of a loop or knuckle of an organ or tissue through an abnormal opening. There are several classifications of hernias. The most common types follow.
abdominal hernia
The protrusion of some internal body structure through the abdominal wall.
hiatal hernia
The protrusion of the stomach above the diaphragm. There are both a sliding hiatal hernia and a paraesophageal hiatus hernia.
sliding hiatal hernia
A hernia in which the stomach and a section of esophagus which joins the stomach slide up into the chest through what is called the hiatus (gap/passage).
paraesophageal hiatal hernia
A hernia in which part of the stomach squeezes through the hiatus, but the esophagus and stomach stay in their regular locations. Of concern is that the stomach can become strangled/have its blood supply shut down.
inguinal hernia
A hernia into the inguinal canal. There are both direct and indirect inguinal hernias.
umbilical hernia
Protrusion of part of the intestine through the umbilicus.
Hirschsprung disease
Congenital megacolon, or a dilatation and hypertrophy of the colon due to the sustained contraction of the muscles of the rectosigmoid.
The enlargement of an organ due to an increase in the size of its cells.
The temporary cessation of intestinal peristalsis, which often leads to obstruction. A common type is adynamic ileus.
adynamic ileus
A suspension of peristalsis because of paralysis or atony (lack of normal muscle tone or strength). This can be the result of drugs, toxemia, trauma, or surgery.
inflammatory bowel disease
This can be used to describe a variety of bowel disorders which are inflammatory in nature, whose etiology cannot be directly determined. There are two common types of inflammatory bowel disease which you should know: Crohn disease & ulcerative colitis.
Crohn disease
It is not known what causes Crohn disease; it can affect any part of the GI tract from the mouth to the anus, but is especially common in the ileocecal area. It frequently leads to obstruction and fistula and abscess formation.
ulcerative colitis
A chronic, nonspecific, inflammatory, and ulcerative disease that arises in the colonic mucosa, it usually involves the rectum. Its etiology is also unknown and it is most often manifested by bloody diarrhea.
This occurs when a segment of bowel advances and protrudes into the segment distal to it.
peptic ulcer disease
Inflammation and ulceration in the duodenum and stomach caused by gastric acid juice. Peptic ulcer occurs only if the stomach secretes acid.
Barrett esophagus
Barrett esophagus is a chronic peptic ulcer of the esophagus and is commonly seen in medical reports.
Inflammation of the peritoneum. Symptoms include abdominal pain and tenderness, constipation, vomiting, and moderate fever. Peritonitis sometimes follows abdominal surgery, such as an appendectomy.
Inflammation of the pharynx. This is the most common etiology of a sore throat.
Sessile means attached by a base
Pedunculated means attached by a stem-like structure or stalk.
The falling down or sinking of a part. This pathology can affect the GI system through anal prolapse and rectal prolapse (where skin of the anus and mucosa of the rectum protrude through the anus).
pruritus ani
Pruritus means itching. Pruritus ani is intense, chronic itching in the anal region.
Schatzki ring
A 2–4 mm mucosal structure, probably congenital in nature, which causes a ring-like narrowing of the lower esophagus.
A defect or excavation of the surface of an organ or tissue. There are many kinds of ulcers (peptic ulcer disease, stress ulcers, ulcerative colitis, etc.), many causes for ulcers, and many treatments for ulcers.
Intestinal obstruction that is due to a knotting or twisting of the bowel.
stages of digestion (8)
1. The food is chewed up and moistened with saliva to become a bolus, or a rounded mass of food. 2. The bolus is pushed to the back of the mouth by the tongue and the cheeks. 3. The soft palate and pendant uvula seal off the nasal cavity. 4. The tip of the tongue pushes up against the top of the mouth while the base of the tongue pushes the food down, and the sides of the pharynx contract. 5. The hyoid bone and the larynx are elevated. 6. The bolus pushes down on the epiglottis, which blocks the trachea. 7. A contraction of the pharynx pushes the bolus into the esophagus, past the larynx. 8. Another wave of contractions pushes the bolus through the esophagus to the stomach. The muscles of the neck and throat then relax and return to their normal breathing position.

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