-pathy A suffix that denotes a disease
or disorder.
chain reaction.
peak-flow meter A piece of equipment
that measures the maximum speed at
which air can flow out of the lungs. A
peak-flow meter is useful in assessing
the severity of
and is
most commonly used to diagnose
, monitor patients with asthma, and
assess response to asthma treatment.
The peak flow is measured by taking a
deep breath and breathing out with max-
imum effort through the mouthpiece.
peau cborange
A condition in which
the skin has a normal colour but looks
like orange peel. The skin's dimpled
appearance is due to fluid retention in
the nearby lymph vessels,
A medical term that means
relating to the chest, as in the major
and minor pectoral muscles.
pediculosis Any type of louse infesta-
tion. (See
lice; pubic lice.)
peer review Processes by which doc-
tors and scientists review the work of
colleagues in the same field. Peer review
is used to maintain standards.
pellagra A potentially fatal nutritional
disorder caused by deficiency of niacin
vitamin B complex
) and resulting in
, diarrhoea, and
. Pel-
lagra occurs primarily in poor rural
communities in parts of the world, such
as areas of India, where people subsist
on maize. Most of the niacin in maize is
unabsorbable unless the maize is treat-
ed with an alkali such as limewater.
Disorders such as
carcinoid syndrome
inflammatory bowel disease
also be a cause of pellagra.
The 1st symptoms are weakness, weight
loss, lethargy, depression, irritability,
and inflammation and itching of skin
exposed to sunlight. In acute attacks,
weeping blisters may develop on the
affected skin, and the tongue becomes
swollen and painful. Diagnosis is made
from the patient's condition and dietary
history. Daily intake of niacin and a var-
ied diet usually bring about a cure,
pelvic examination
Examination of a
woman's external and internal genitalia.
After examination of the external geni-
talia, a
is inserted into the
vagina to allow a clear view of the cervix.
cervical sm ear test
may be performed.
The doctor inserts 2 fingers into the vagi-
na and, with the other hand, feels the
abdomen to evaluate the position and
size of the uterus and the ovaries and to
detect any tenderness or swelling,
pelvic floor exercises
A programme of
exercises to strengthen the muscles and
tighten the ligaments at the base of the
abdomen, which form the pelvic floor.
These muscles and ligaments support
the uterus, vagina, bladder, urethra, and
rectum. Performing the exercises may
help to prevent prolapse of the uterus
prolapse of)
and urinary
stress incontinence (see
urinary). They may also help women who
find achieving
The pelvic floor muscles are those that
tighten when urine flow is stopped mid-
stream. The exercises involve stopping
and starting urine flow several times by
contracting and relaxing the muscles.
Ideally, they should be performed for 5
minutes every hour throughout the day.
They can be done standing, sitting, or
lying down, by imagining that urine is
being passed, contracting and holding
the muscles for
seconds, and then
slowly releasing them, repeating 5-10
times as often as possible.
pelvic infection An infection in the
female reproductive system. Severe or
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