Muscles most commonly affected are
those in the neck, shoulders, chest, back,
buttocks, and knees. There is usually no
restriction of movement. Sometimes,
attacks (which are generally worse in
cold, damp weather) are accompanied
by exhaustion and disturbed sleep.
Analgesic drugs
hot baths, and mas-
sage usually relieve pain and stiffness.
Exercises to improve posture may help
to prevent attacks. (See also
The outer and thinner of the 2
long bones of the lower leg. The fibula
is much narrower than the other lower-
leg bone, the
(shin), to which it
runs parallel and to which it is attached
at both ends by ligaments. The top end
of the fibula does not reach the knee,
but the lower end extends below the
tibia and forms part of the
ankle joint
The fibula is one of the most commonly
broken bones.
Pott's fracture
is fracture
of the fibula just above the ankle com-
bined with dislocation of the ankle and
sometimes with fracture of the tibia.
fifth disease
An infectious disease that
causes a widespread rash. Also known
as slapped cheek disease or erythema
infectiosum, fifth disease mainly affects
children and is caused by a virus called
parvovirus. The rash starts on the cheeks
as separate, rose-red, raised spots, which
subsequently converge to give the char-
acteristic appearance. Within a few days,
the rash spreads in a lacy pattern over
the limbs but only sparsely on the trunk.
It is often accompanied by mild fever. The
rash usually clears after about
Adults, who contract the disease only
rarely, may have joint pain and swelling
lasting for up to 2 years. The incubation
period is 7 to 14 days, and the only treat-
ment is drugs to reduce the fever.
fight-or-flight response
Arousal of
the sympathetic part of the
nervous system
in response to fear but
which also occurs in
anxiety disorders
(norepinephrine), and other hormones
are released from the adrenal glands
and nervous system, leading to a raised
heart-rate, pupil dilation, and increased
blood flow to the muscles. These effects
make the body more efficient in either
fighting or fleeing the apparent danger.
A group of tropical diseases,
caused by various parasitic worms or
their larvae, which are transmitted to
humans by insect bites.
Some species of worm live in the lym-
phatic vessels. Swollen lymph nodes
and recurring fever are early symptoms.
Inflammation of lymph vessels results
in localized
. Following repeated
infections, the affected area, commonly
a limb or the scrotum, becomes very
enlarged and the skin becomes thick,
coarse, and fissured, leading to a condi-
tion known as
The larvae
of another type of worm invade the eye,
causing blindness (see
A third type, which may sometimes be
seen and felt moving beneath the skin,
, characterized by irritating
and sometimes painful areas of oedema
called calabar swellings.
The diagnosis of filariasis is confirmed
by microscopic examination
of the
blood. The
anthelmintic drugs
carbamazine or ivermectin most often
cure the infection but may cause side
effects such as fever, sickness, muscle
pains, and increased itching. Diethyl-
carbamazine can be given preventively,
and the use of insecticides and protec-
tive clothing help to protect against
insect bites. (See also
insects and disease.
filling, dental
The process of replacing
a chipped or decayed area of tooth with
an inactive material. Dental filling is
also used to describe the restorative
material itself. Amalgam, a hard-wear-
ing mixture of silver, mercury, and other
previous page 229 BMA Illustrated Medical Dictionary read online next page 231 BMA Illustrated Medical Dictionary read online Home Toggle text on/off