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benzodiazepines

A group of drugs given for short periods for insomnia or to ease the symptoms of anxiety or stress.

Berloque dermatitis

A common but dangerous skin condition characterised by a brownish/reddish discolouration to the neck and sometimes arms. It is a type of photosensitisation, and is caused by exposure to sunlight after the application of perfume or cologne containing bergamot or other essential oil.

beta cells

The cells of the pancreas where insulin is produced.

beta-blocker

One of a group of drugs that block beta-receptors to slow the heart rate, or constrict the airways and arteries.

beta-blockers

A group of drugs that block beta-receptors to slow the heart rate, or constrict the airways and arteries.

beta-carotene

A type of vitamin. It gives yellow and orange fruit and vegetables their colour.

beta-lactam

A type of antibiotic that prevents the growth of the cell walls of bacteria.

beta-receptors

A type of receptor within cells, by which substances such as adrenaline and noradrenaline exert their actions.

bilateral

On both sides of the body

bile

A fluid produced by the liver, which helps the fat ingested in food to combine with the digestive juices in the gut.

bile acids

Any of a group of acids produced by the liver and present in the bile.

bile salts

Substances present in the bile, which help to emulsify fats in the small intestine so that they can be more easily digested.

biliary colic

Severe pain in the upper right-hand side of the abdomen usually caused by gallstones.

biliary system

The organs and ducts by which bile is formed, concentrated and carried from the liver to the duodenum.

bilirubin

A bile pigment, a coloured compound produced from the breakdown of haemoglobin.

binocular magnification

Magnification that involves both eyes.

biochemical marker

A certain substance found in the blood or other body fluid that indicates a disease when detected.

biochemical markers

Certain substances found in the blood or other body fluid that indicate a disease when detected.

biological therapies

A group of therapies that interfere with specific parts of the inflammation process. (Called 'biologic therapies' in American English.)

biomarkers

A substance that can be measured to help healthcare professionals to assess normal processes, disease processes or a person's response to treatment.

biopsy

The removal of a small sample of cells or tissue so that it may be examined under a microscope. The term may also refer to the tissue sample itself.

bisphosphonates

A class of drugs used in osteoporosis and other bone diseases to reduce loss of bone mass

bladder

The organ that stores urine.

blepharitis

Inflammation of the eyelids.