Glossary: I


International Board of Certified Lactation Consultants


cooling of deeper tissues.



idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura

a blood disorder characterized by an abnormal decrease in the number of blood platelets, which results in internal bleeding. There are two forms of idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura: acute thrombocytopenic purpura and chronic thrombocytopenic purpura.


related to the ileum, the lowest end of the small intestine.

ileoanal anastomosis (Also called a pull-through operation.)

an operation to remove the colon and inner lining of the rectum, but leaving the outer muscle of the rectum. The bottom end of the small intestine (ileum) is pulled through the remaining rectum and joined to the anus, allowing stool to pass normally.

ileoanal reservoir

an operation to remove the colon, upper rectum, and part of the lower rectum. An internal pouch is created from the remaining intestine to hold stool.

ileocecal valve

a valve that connects the lower part of the small intestine and the upper part of the large intestine (ileum and cecum). This valve controls the flow of fluid in the intestines and prevents backflow.


irritation of the lower part of the small intestine (ileum) and colon.


operation that makes it possible for stool to leave the body after the colon and rectum are removed in which an opening is made in the abdomen and the bottom of the small intestine (ileum) attaches to it.


lower end of the small intestine.


a false perception; the mistaking of something for what is not.


tests or evaluation procedures that produce pictures of areas inside the body.


preventing movement to allow for natural healing to take place.

immune system

complex network of specialized cells and organs that work together to defend the body against attacks by "foreign" invaders such as bacteria and viruses.


a process by which protection to an infectious disease is administered.


an abnormal condition where one's ability to fight infection is decreased. This can be due to a disease process, certain medications, or a condition present at birth.

immunoglobulin E (IgE)

a type of antibody, formed to protect the body from infection, which attaches to mast cells in the respiratory and intestinal tracts and may cause allergic rhinitis, asthma, or eczema.


antibodies or proteins found in blood and tissue fluids produced by cells of the immune system to bind to substances in the body that are recognized as foreign antigens. Immunoglobulins sometimes bind to antigens that are not necessarily a threat to health and provoke an allergic reaction.


the study of the body's immune system and its functions and disorders.

immunosuppressive medications

medications that suppress the body's immune system used to minimize rejection of transplanted organs.

immunotherapy, allergy

treatment of allergy to substances such as pollens, house dust mites, fungi, and stinging insect venom involving giving gradually increasing doses of the substance, or allergen, to which the person is allergic.

immunotherapy, cancer

involves injecting a medication (called interferon)to boost the body's own immune system, helping it to slow the growth of cancer.


trapping of an object in a body passage, such as stones in the bile duct or hardened stool in the colon.

impaired glucose tolerance (IGT)

a condition in which blood sugar levels are higher than normal, but are not high enough to be classified as diabetes; a risk factor for type 2 diabetes.


loss of normal function of part of the body due to disease or injury, such as paralysis of the leg.

impedance plethysmography

a test to evaluate blood flow through the leg.


a bacterial skin infection characterized by microscopic, pus-filled blisters.

impotence (Also called erectile dysfunction.)

the inability to achieve or maintain an erection.

in vitro fertilization

treatment for infertility in which a woman's egg is fertilized, outside her body, with her partner's sperm or sperm from a donor.


statistic that equals the number of new cases of a particular disease that occur in a population during a defined period of time, usually one year.


involuntary voiding of the bladder or bowel.

incontinence, urinary

uncontrollable, involuntary leaking of urine.

indigestion (Also called dyspepsia.)

poor digestion; symptoms include heartburn, nausea, bloating, and gas.


the invasion of the body by microorganisms that cause disease.

infectious arthritis

an infection in the joint fluid and tissues.

inferior vena cava

the large blood vessel (vein) that returns blood from the legs and abdomen to the heart.


not being able to produce children.


redness, swelling, heat, and pain in a tissue due to chemical or physical injury, infection, or allergic reaction.

inflammatory bowel disease (IBD)

diseases that cause irritation and ulcers in the intestinal tract. Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis are the most common inflammatory bowel diseases.

influenza (Also called the flu.)

a viral respiratory tract infection. The influenza viruses are divided into three types: A, B, and C.

informed consent

a legal document that explains a course of treatment, the risks, benefits, and possible alternatives; the process by which patients agree to treatment.

informed consent form

a form signed by the patient prior to surgery which explains everything involved in the surgery, including its risks.

infusion therapy (Also called intravenous therapy.)

the introduction of fluid other than blood into a vein.

inguinal hernia

part of the small intestine that pushes through an opening in the abdominal muscle, causing a bulge underneath the skin in the groin area.


injuries that affect the bone, muscles, ligaments, and/or tendons.

inner ear

part of the ear that contains both the organ of hearing (the cochlea) and the organ of balance (the labyrinth).

inotropic medications

medications that increase strength of the contractions in the heart.

inpatient surgery

surgery which requires the patient to be admitted and stay in the hospital.


inability to sleep or to remain asleep throughout the night.


inhaling; taking in oxygen.


hormone manufactured by the pancreas, which helps glucose leave the blood and enter the muscles and other tissues of the body.

insulin-dependent diabetes

a condition in which the body's immune system destroys the cells in the pancreas that produce insulin. Insulin allows glucose to enter the cells of the body to provide energy. Persons with type 1diabetes must take daily insulin injections.


partial blocking of the effect of insulin.

intercostal muscles

muscles lying between ribs; often injured by muscle strain.


a biological response modifier that stimulates the growth of certain disease-fighting blood cells in the immune system.


a biological response modifier that stimulates the growth of certain blood cells in the immune system that can fight cancer.

internal derangement of the joint

a dislocated jaw or displaced disc, or injury to the condyle (the rounded edges of the jaw).

interstitial cystitis

a complex, chronic disorder characterized by an inflamed or irritated bladder wall.

interventional radiology

a area of specialty within the field of radiology which uses various radiology techniques (such as x-ray, CT scans, MRI scans, and ultrasounds) to place wires, tubes, or other instruments inside a patient to diagnose or treat an array of conditions.

intervertebral disc

disc that forms a cartilaginous joint between the vertebrae to provide shock absorption.

intestinal flora

bacteria, yeasts, and fungi that grow normally in the intestines.

intestinal mucosa

surface lining of the intestines where the cells absorb nutrients.


allergy or sensitivity to a food, drug, or other substance.


within the joint.

intracranial pressure (ICP)

the pressure inside the skull.

intraductal papilloma

a small, wart-like growth that projects into the breast ducts near the nipple, which may cause a bloody or sticky discharge.

intrauterine insemination

treatment for infertility in which semen is introduced into the uterus via a slim tube inserted through the vagina.

intravascular echocardiography

echocardiography used in cardiac catheterization.

intravascular ultrasound

the use of ultrasound inside a blood vessel to better visualize the interior of the vessel in order to detect problems inside the blood vessel.


introducing a fluid into the bloodstream through a vein (usually in the patient's forearm).

intravenous line

a thin, plastic tube inserted into a vein (usually in the patient's forearm) through which a volume of fluid is injected into the bloodstream.

intravenous pyelogram (IVP)

a test that examines the urinary system using a contrast medium that can be seen on x-rays to show possible obstructions, tumors, cysts, stones, and other abnormalities.

intrinsic asthma

asthma that has no apparent external cause.

invasive cancer

cancer that begins in one area and then spreads deeper into the tissues of that area.

investigational new drug

a drug allowed by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to be used in clinical trials, but not approved for sale to the general public.


the colored part of the eye. The iris is partly responsible for regulating the amount of light permitted to enter the eye.

iron-deficiency anemia

the most common type of anemia. It is characterized by a lack of iron in the blood, which is necessary to make hemoglobin.


decreased flow of oxygenated blood to an organ due to obstruction in an artery.

ischemic colitis

decreased blood flow to the colon, which causes fever, pain, and bloody diarrhea.

ischemic heart disease

coronary artery disease or coronary heart disease caused by narrowing of the coronary arteries and decreased blood flow to the heart.

islets of Langerhans

pancreas cells that produce insulin and glucagon


muscle contraction without movement at the joint.


tissue that connects the two lobes of the thyroid.

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