ALVEOLOPLASTY
AMAUROSIS FUGAX
A
Alveolitis usually causes a dry cough
and breathing difficulty on exertion. A
chest X-ray,
blood tests,
pulmonary
function tests,
or a lung
biopsy
may be
needed to diagnose alveolitis.
For most types of alveolitis, a short
course of
corticosteroid drugs
relieves
symptoms, but for fibrosing alveolitis
these may need to be taken indefinitely.
If the cause of allergic alveolitis is rec-
ognized and avoided before lung damage
occurs, the effects are not permanent.
In fibrosing alveolitis, damage progresses
despite treatment, causing increasing
breathing difficulty and,
sometimes,
respiratory failure
.
alveoloplasty
Dental surgery to remove
protuberances and smooth out uneven
areas from tooth-bearing bone in the
jaw before the fitting of dentures.
alveolus, dental
The bony cavity or
socket supporting each tooth in the jaw.
alveolus, pulmonary
One of a large
number of tiny, balloon-like sacs at the
end of a bronchiole (one of many small
air passages in the lungs) where gases
are exchanged during
respiration
.
ALVEOLUS, PULMONARY
Pleura
Blood
vessel
ALVEOLI
Bronchus
LUNGS
Bronchiole
Trachea
Thin wall
of alveolus
Alzheimer's disease
A progressive con-
dition in which nerve cells in the brain
degenerate and the brain shrinks. Alz-
heimer's disease is the most common
cause of
dementia.
Onset is uncommon
before the age of 60.
Early onset Alzheimer's disease, in
which symptoms develop before age 60,
is inherited as a
dominant
disorder. Late
onset Alzheimer's disease is associated
with a number of genes, including 3 that
are responsible for the production of
the blood protein
apolipoprotein
E.
These genes also result in the depo-
sition of a protein called beta amyloid
in the brain. Other chemical abnorm-
alities may include deficiency of the
neurotransmitter
acetylcholine.
The features of Alzheimer's disease
vary, but there are 3 broad stages. At
first, the person becomes increasingly
forgetful, and problems with memory
may cause
anxiety
and
depression.
In
the 2nd stage, loss of memory, par-
ticularly for recent events, gradually
becomes more severe, and there may
be disorientation as to time or place.
The person's concentration and num-
erical
ability decline,
and there
is
noticeable
dysphasia
(inability to find
the
right
word).
Anxiety
increases,
mood changes are unpredictable, and
personality changes may occur. Finally,
confusion
becomes profound.
There
may be symptoms of
psychosis
, such as
hallucinations
and
delusions
. Signs of
nervous system disease, such as abnor-
mal
reflexes
and
faecal
or urinary
incontinence
, begin to develop.
Alzheimer's disease is usually diag-
nosed from the symptoms, but tests
including blood tests and
CT scanning
or
MRI
of the brain may be needed to
exclude treatable causes of dementia.
The most important aspect of treat-
ment for Alzheimer's disease is the
provision of suitable nursing and social
care for sufferers and support for their
relatives.
Tranquillizer drugs
can often
improve difficult behaviour and help
with sleep. Treatment with drugs such
as donepezil and rivastigmine may slow
the progress of the disease for a time,
but side effects such as nausea and
dizziness may occur.
amalgam, dental
A material, consist-
ing of an alloy of mercury with other
metals, that is used as fillings for teeth
(see
filling
,
dental
).
amantadine
An
antiviral drug
used in
the prevention and treatment of
influ-
enza
A and to help relieve symptoms of
Parkinson's disease.
amaurosis fugax
Brief loss of vision,
lasting for seconds or minutes, usually
affecting one eye only and caused by
24
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