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Diseases » Paraplegia » Glossary

Glossary for Paraplegia

  • AIDS: A term given to HIV patients who have a low CD4 count (below 200) which means that they have low levels of a type of immune cell called T-cells. AIDS patients tend to develop opportunistic infections and cancers. Opportunistic infections are infections that would not normally affect a person with a healthy immune system. The HIV virus is a virus that attacks the body's immune system.
  • Accidental injury: An injury that occurs accidentally
  • Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, familial type 2: A generally fatal, inherited progressive disease where destruction of motor nerves in the spinal cord and brain stem cause progressive muscle weakness and wasting. Type 2 is characterized by childhood or adolescent onset of symptoms which progress very slowly over decades. It occurs in an autosomal recessive pattern of inheritance.
  • Amyotrophy, neurogenic scapuloperoneal, New England type: An inherited disorder involving muscle wasting and weakness in the shoulder and lower leg. The exact symptoms that occur may vary from patient to patient with males often being more affected than females. An interesting observation of this condition is that symptoms and rate of progression tends to be more severe with each passing generation.
  • Anterior spinal artery syndrome: Neurological symptoms caused by the blockage of the anterior spinal artery. The blockage may be caused by such things as trauma, cancer, thrombosis and arterial disease. Symptoms are determined by the exact location of the blockage.
  • Bladder incontinence: Reduced ability to control urine flow.
  • Bleeding disorders: Any disorder leading to bleeding or bruising.
  • Blood loss: loss of blood can occur through any of the body orifices
  • Brain abscess: Pus accumulating into an abscess on the brain
  • Cerebral Palsy: Any brain disorder causing movement disability
  • Cervical Spondylosis: Condition where bony changes within the cervical spine causes spinal cord compression with associated neck pain; usually seen in patients over 40 years of age.
  • Dermatomyositis: A muscle disease characterized by chronic muscle inflammation resulting in progressive muscle weakness and a characteristic rash.
  • Devic disease: A rare nerve disorder involving demyelination of spinal cord and eye nerves.
  • Dissecting aortic aneurysm: aortic dissection is a potentially life-threatening condition in which there is bleeding into and along the wall of the aorta, the major artery leaving the heart
  • Dysbarism: A condition that occurs when there is a change in the surrounding pressure such as when scuba diving or moving to places of different altitudes. Dysbarism can occur when pressure increases or decreases and includes conditions such as decompression sickness, barotraumas, nitrogen narcosis, high pressure nervous system and atrial gas embolism.
  • Fecal incontinence: Leaking or poorly controlled bowel motions
  • Fibrocartilaginous embolism: A rare disorder where some of the material from a vertebral disc enters the blood supply to the spinal cord where it causes an obstruction. Symptoms are determined by where the obstruction occurs. The obstruction causes damage to part of the spinal cord resulting in neurological symptoms which can result in death depending on the size and location of the obstruction.
  • Foix-Alajouanine syndrome: A rare type of spinal cord disease caused by malformations in blood vessels supplying the spinal cord. Insufficient blood flow to the spinal cord causes muscle problems.
  • Glioma: A rare type of tumor that occurs from glial cells that make up the central nervous system. These tumors usually occur in the brain but can also occur in the spinal cord and other nerves such as the optic nerve. Symptoms depend on the size and location of the tumor.
  • Guillain-Barre Syndrome: A rare progressive form of ascending polyneuropathy believed to be an autoimmune response.
  • HIV/AIDS: HIV is a sexually transmitted virus and AIDS is the progressive immune failure that HIV causes.
  • Hereditary Spastic Paraplegia: A slow-progressing degeneration of the tract that connects the brain to the spinal cord (corticospinal tract) resulting in muscle spasticity, weakness and paralysis. The severity of symptoms is determined by the nature and extent of the damage.
  • Hip cancer: The presence of tumour growth in the bone of the hip, whether due to primary malignancies e.g. leukaemic or myeloma infiltration of the bone marrow, or due to secondary metastases from another site e.g. lung or breast; cancer affecting bone of hip likely to affect other bones e.g. vertebra, ribs
  • Hypotension: Blood pressure that is too low
  • Injury: Any damage inflicted in the body
  • Katayama fever: An acute disease due to infection with Schistosoma parasites. Transmission can occur through contact with infected waters.
  • Klippel Feil Syndrome: A rare congenital disorder characterized by abnormal fusion of two or more vertebrae in the neck. The disorder is often associated with other abnormalities but their incidence is highly variable.
  • Klippel-Feil syndrome recessive type: A rare recessively inherited disorder characterized by abnormal fusion of two or more vertebrae in the neck. The disorder is often associated with other abnormalities but their incidence is highly variable.
  • Klippel-Feil syndrome, dominant type: A rare dominantly inherited disorder characterized by abnormal fusion of two or more vertebrae in the neck. The disorder is often associated with other abnormalities but their incidence is highly variable.
  • Lambert-Eaton Myasthenic Syndrome: A condition where a patient with a carcinoma suffers from progressive muscular weakness.
  • Leg paralysis: A loss of the motor and or sensory function of the leg due to either a muscular or neural mechanism
  • Limb conditions: Medical conditions affecting the upper or lower limbs.
  • Lower limb conditions: Any medical condition affecting the lower limbs, i.e. the legs, knees, feet, etc..
  • Lyme disease: Lyme disease is an emerging infectious disease caused by at least three species of bacteria belonging to the genus Borrelia.
  • Motor neuron diseases: Any of various disorders of the "motor neurons", nerves that control movement.
  • Movement disorders: Medical conditions affecting the movement systems, such as walking or tremor.
  • Multiple Myeloma: A rare malignant cancer that occurs in the bone marrow. More common in skull, spine, rib cage, pelvis and legs.
  • Multiple Sclerosis: Autoimmune attack on spinal nerves causing diverse and varying neural problems.
  • Muscle conditions: Any condition that affects the muscles of the body
  • Musculoskeletal conditions: Medical conditions affecting the musculoskeletal system of bones, muscles and related structures.
  • Myasthenia Gravis: An autoimmune disorder which interferes with nerve impulses to muscles and hence results in weak, easily fatigued muscles.
  • Nervous system conditions: Diseases affecting the nerves and the nervous system.
  • Neuromuscular conditions: Conditions affecting the nerve-muscle systems.
  • Osteoporosis: Bone thinning and weakening from bone calcium depletion.
  • Paragonimiases -- lung infection: Infection by a parasitic worm, Paragonimus westermani, which are a type of lung fluke which invade the lungs and other organs where they cause problems. Infection occurs through eating freshwater crabs and crayfish which have not been cooked sufficiently.
  • Paralysis: The loss of motor function due to dysfunction of the spinal cord
  • Paraplegia -- brachydactyly -- cone-shaped epiphysis: A very rare syndrome characterized mainly by paraplegia, short fingers and bone abnormalities. The paraplegia progresses slowly.
  • Polyneuropathy: Dysfunction and/or damage to neurons, causing a loss of sensory or motor function.
  • Prostate Cancer: Cancer of the prostate.
  • Scapuloperoneal syndrome, neurogenic type: An inherited disorder involving muscle wasting and weakness in the shoulder and lower leg. The legs are often affected first.
  • Scapuloperoneal syndrome, neurogenic, Kaeser type: An inherited disorder involving muscle wasting and weakness in the shoulder and lower leg. The legs are often affected first.
  • Spina bifida: A birth defect where the spinal vertebrae do not completely enclose the spinal cord often resulting in various degrees of nerve damage.
  • Spinal Cord Disorders: Any condition that affects the spinal cord
  • Spinal cord injury: Spinal cord injury is damage to the spinal cord as a result of a direct trauma to the spinal cord itself or as a result of indirect damage to the bones and soft tissues and vessels surrounding the spinal cord.
  • Spinal fracture: A fracture of one or multiple bony vertebrae
  • Spinal shock: A rare condition that can occur after spinal cord injury and involves a period of absent reflexes which may be permanent or last for hours to weeks. This period may be followed by a period of excessive reflexes.
  • Spondyloepimetaphyseal dysplasia with joint laxity: A rare skeletal disorder where the spine and long bones grow and develop abnormally. Loose joints and severe curvature of the spine is also present. The condition is severe and death in the first couple of decades is common.
  • Stroke: Serious brain event from bleeding or blood clots.
  • Subdural hematoma: Type of bleeding in the brain
  • Syphilis: A sexually transmitted disease caused by a bacteria (Treponema pallidum). The condition is often asymptomatic in the early stages but one or more sores may be present in the early stages. Untreated syphilis usually results in remission of visible symptoms but further severe damage may occur to internal organs and other body tissues which can result in death.
  • Syringomyelia: Spinal cord cysts
  • Tick paralysis: Paralysis from Australian tick bites
  • Tuberculosis: Bacterial infection causing nodules forming, most commonly in the lung.
  • Urinary incontinence: Reduced ability to control urine flow.
  • Vertebral fracture: A fracture of the vertebra of the back
  • Vitamin B12 Deficiency: A deficiency of Vitamin B12 primarily causes anemias the body is unable to make sufficient quantities of normal red blood cells. Severe cases can lead to permanent nervous system problems. The vitamin B12 deficiency can result from absorption problems, insufficient dietary intake, certain medications (e.g. metformin), inherited conditions (e.g. transcobalamin deficiency) and certain chronic parasitic intestinal infestations.


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