List of difficult words
Here is a list of words that may be difficult to understand. Knowing what these words
mean can help you use this book better.
Some of the explanations here in this vocabulary also contain words written in
slanted letters. This is because an explanation for these words can also be found in
This vocabulary is listed in the order of the alphabet:
abdomen The part of the body that contains
the stomach, liver, guts, and reproductive
organs. The belly.
abnormal bleeding Bleeding that is different
from what is usual, natural, or average. Not
access When health services and other public
services are available, and the services are
easy for a woman with a disability to get to
acute When something happens suddenly,
lasts for a short time, and is usually serious
or strong—for example, acute pain or acute
infection (compare with chronic).
afterbirth See placenta.
allergy, allergic reaction, allergic shock
A problem—such as itching, sneezing, hives
or rash, and sometimes difficulty breathing
or shock—that affects certain people when
specific things are breathed in, eaten,
injected, or touched. Allergic shock is a
severe form of allergic reaction.
antibiotic Medicine used to fight infection
caused by bacteria. (Antibiotics DO NOT
fight infections caused by viruses.)
antibody A substance the body makes to fight
antiretrovirals Medicines used to help
people with AIDS stay healthier and live
longer. They do not cure AIDS.
atrophy A progressive wasting or weakening
of the muscles that comes from a problem
in the nerves (compare with dystrophy).
biopsy When a piece of tissue or fluid is
taken from somewhere on or in the body
and examined to see if it is healthy or
birth control See family planning.
birth defects Physical problems, or problems
with understanding or learning, that a child
is born with.
birth spacing Using family planning methods
to space your children.
blood pressure The force or pressure of the
blood upon the walls of the blood vessels
(arteries and veins). Blood pressure varies
with the age and health of the person.
blood transfusion When someone’s blood
is given to another person, in a vein and
using a special needle, to replace blood the
person may have lost.
brand name The name for a medicine that
is given by the company that makes it.
Compare with generic.
A Health Handbook for Women with Disabilities 2007