Glossary

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D

Day surgery

When a patient has a test or operation and goes home the same day. More and more tests and operations are done like this as.

Deafness

A partial or total loss of hearing. There are many causes, but advancing age is one of the most common causes.

Death

An absence of vital processes. Death is diagnosed by the permanent cessation of the heartbeat. Brain death meanwhile is diagnosed as a permanent functional death of the centres in the brainstem that control heart rate, breathing and other vital functions.

Death Certificate

A legal document signed by a doctor stating the immediate cause of a person’s death.

Deep Vein Thrombosis

The formation of a blood clot within a deep vein, most commonly the legs. It is common in the elderly.

Defibrillator

A device used to administer a controlled electric shock to restore a regular heartbeat.

Dehydration

A condition resulting from a lack of water in body tissues, a result of inadequate water intake and/or excessive water loss as a result of sweating or sickness.

Delirium

A state of confusion often caused by organic brain disease or intoxication.

Dementia

A deterioration in behavioural and higher intellectual function due to organic brain disease. Usually a condition of old age.

Dentures

A replacement for damaged or lost teeth. A complete denture replaces all the teeth in one jaw.

Dermatology

The study of the skin and skin diseases.

Diabetic

The name given to somebody with diabetes.

Diagnosis

This is the label a doctor gives a patient's symptoms.

Dialysis

This is a way of removing waste products from the blood when the kidneys aren’t working properly. There are two types: haemodialysis and peritoneal dialysis.

Diaphragm

The sheet of muscle which separates the chest from your abdomen. Hiccups are caused when the diaphragm squeezes tightly.

Diarrhoea

The frequent bowel evacuation of abnormally soft or liquid like faeces. Often caused by intestinal infections.

Dietetics

The study of how what we eat can affect health.

Digestive system

The system that consists of your oesophagus, stomach, duodenum, small bowel, large bowel, and rectum. Its job is to break down food.

Disability

Any restriction or lack of ability to perform an activity normally achieved by a person.

Discharge

The leaking of a substance from a body.