totalhealth Medical Terms Dictionary » R

Medical terms and words can be alarming and can make understanding your condition difficult. Your doctor may have given you a diagnosis you do not understand or are unsure about.

At totalhealth we are committed to the aim of helping everyone to take control of their own health and treatment choices; for this reason we have compiled a comprehensive medical terms dictionary that we hope will be of real assistance.

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  • RArheumatoid arthritis
  • radiationEnergy in the form of waves or particles, including radio waves, X-rays and gamma rays.
  • radiation cystitisInflammation of the bladder secondary to radiotherapy, the treatment of disease using radiation.
  • radical hysterectomyThe surgical removal of the uterus (womb) and cervix (the neck of the uterus), along with other structures including the fallopian tubes and the top of the vagina.
  • radical prostatectomyThe surgical removal of the entire prostate gland.
  • radical trachelectomySurgery for cervical cancer that removes the cervix (the neck of the uterus), tissue around the cervix and the top part of the vagina.
  • radioisotope scanA test that uses tiny amounts of radioactive material that show up with a special camera to produce images of parts of the body
  • radiologistA doctor specializing in the interpretation of imaging techniques for the diagnosis and assessment of disease.
  • radiotherapyThe treatment of disease using radiation.
  • radiotracerA substance labelled with a radioisotope that may be used in some imaging investigations.
  • radiotracersSubstances labelled with a radioisotope that may be used in some imaging investigations.
  • Rai systemA grading system for chronic lymphocytic leukaemia, a malignant condition in which increased numbers of white blood cells, leucocytes, are produced in an immature or abnormal state.
  • randomised controlled trialA study comparing the outcomes between one or more different treatments for a disease (or in some instances, preventive measures against that disease) and no active treatment at all (the placebo group). Study participants are allocated to the various groups on a random basis. May be abbreviated to RCT.
  • randomised controlled trialsStudies comparing the outcomes between one or more different treatments for a disease (or in some instances, preventive measures against that disease) and no active treatment at all (the placebo group). Study participants are allocated to the various groups on a random basis. May be abbreviated to RCT.
  • randomised studyA study comparing two or more different treatments or preventive measures, where study participants are randomly allocated to either group.
  • RASTradioallergosorbent test
  • RAUrecurrent aphthous ulceration
  • Raynaud's diseaseA rare disorder of the blood vessels.
  • RCTRandomised controlled trial. A study comparing the outcomes between one or more different treatments for a disease (or in some instances, preventive measures against that disease) and no active treatment at all (the placebo group). Study participants are allocated to the various groups on a random basis.
  • reactive hypoglycaemiaA drop in blood sugar occurring after a heavy meal and thought to be due to increased insulin production (in someone who is not diabetic).
  • reanastomosisThe surgical reattachment of two tubular organs within the body.
  • recombinant factor VIIManufactured Factor VII, used for the treatment of uncontrollable bleeding.
  • rectalRelating to the rectum, the lowest part of the bowel leading to the anus.
  • rectocoeleThe protrusion of the rectal mucous membrane through the anus.
  • rectumThe last part of the large intestine, where faeces are stored before being passed.
  • rectus sheath haematomaA relatively rare condition often misdiagnosed. The covering of one of the muscles on the abdominal wall, called the rectus, sometimes splits. Rectus sheath rupture typically occurs following straining or coughing.
  • reducibleUsed of a swelling, most often a hernia, to mean it is not fixed but can be displaced or pushed back, either due to body position (for example on lying down) or with manual pressure.
  • referred painPain felt in one area of the body due to a disease or other cause in a different part of the body.
  • reflexologyAn integrated approach based on the concept that each body part has a corresponding point on the feet, which is massaged during therapy.
  • refluxBackflow of a bodily fluid in the wrong direction
  • rehabilitationThe treatment of a person with an illness or disability to improve their function and health.
  • Reiter's syndromeA type of reactive arthritis where inflammation in the joints develops following an infection in another part of the body.
  • relapseA return or worsening of the symptoms of a disease after a period of remission.
  • reminiscence therapyA technique to help dementia sufferers recall past memories using old and familiar music, photos or other memorabilia.
  • remissionThe lessening or disappearance of the symptoms or signs of a disease.
  • remodellingRestructuring.
  • renalRelating to the kidney.
  • Renal ColicSpasms of severe pain in one side of the back which is usually caused by a kidney stone.
  • renal colic<p> Spasms of severe pain in one side of the back usually caused by a kidney stone passing down the ureter.</p>
  • reperfusionRestoration of blood flow through a previously blocked vessel.
  • replicationThe process by which DNA makes copies of itself when a cell divides.
  • resectionThe surgical removal of part of the body.
  • resistanceThe ability of a microbe, such as a type of bacteria, to resist the effects of antibiotics or other drugs.
  • resistantA microbe, such as a type of bacteria, that is able to resist the effects of antibiotics or other drugs.
  • respiratory tractThe parts of the body that are involved in respiration. The respiratory tract includes the nasal passages, throat (pharynx), windpipe (trachea), bronchi and lungs.
  • respite careThe provision of short-term relief for long-term carers.
  • retina<p> The light sensitive membrane that lines the back, inner surface of the eye and enables sight.</p>
  • retinalRelating to the retina, the innermost layer of the eye.
  • retinal detachmentSeparation of the inner and outer layers of the retina, the innermost layer of the eye, with associated visual loss.
  • retinal photocoagulationA technique using heat from a light source for destroying diseased tissue in the retina, the innermost layer of the eye. retinopathy
  • retinopathyAny disorder of the retina, the innermost layer of the eye.
  • retinus pigmentosaAn inherited condition in which there is degeneration of the rods and cones of the retina at the back of both eyes.
  • retractile testicleA condition of young boys in which the testicle moves between its normal position in the scrotum and a higher position in the groin.
  • retrobulbar neuritisA form of optic neuritis in which the optic nerve becomes inflamed behind the eyeball.
  • retroverted uterusA uterus that tilts backwards in the pelvis, instead of forwards as normal.
  • revascularisationA surgical procedure to restore blood flow to tissues.
  • rheumatic feverA disease that causes inflammation throughout the body, especially in the joints. It is rare in developed countries.
  • rheumatoid arthritisA type of autoimmune arthritis featuring chronic inflammation of the small joints, especially in the hands and feet, and eventually leading to joint destruction and deformity
  • rheumatoid factorAn antibody often present in the blood in rheumatoid arthritis and sometimes in certain other conditions
  • rheumatoid nodulesFirm, non-tender nodules that occur in around 25% of rheumatoid arthritis sufferers,
  • rhinitisThe medical term for a runny nose, due to inflammation and mucus secretion in the nasal lining
  • rhinitis medicamentosaA runny nose (rhinitis) caused by over-use of decongestant nasal sprays
  • ricketsA disease caused by nutritional deficiency that causes bone deformities in childhood. The most common cause is vitamin D deficiency.
  • rigorsAbrupt shivering, often with fever and sweating.
  • ring pessaryA medical device used to support the uterus, vagina, bladder or rectum. A pessary is most often used to treat prolapse of the uterus and stress urinary incontinence.
  • Rinne's testA hearing test using a vibrating tuning fork.
  • Rocky Mountain spotted feverA severe, tick-borne infection.
  • rosaceaRedness or flushing of the face, sometimes with spots, typically occurring in middle-aged women. The cause is not known.
  • Rosen methodA hands-on technique that focuses on relaxing chronic muscle tension with an accompanying relief of emotional tension.
  • rotavirusA type of virus that is one of the causes of gastroenteritis, especially in young children.
  • Rotor syndromeA rare condition characterised by high blood bilirubin levels.
  • rubellaA viral infection also known as German measles.
  • RUQright upper quadrant
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