Glossary D's

death certificate

Definition:official record of an individual's death, including date, time and cause of death, certified by a doctor; may also include other specific information


Definition:surgical removal of dead, damaged, or infected tissue, or some foreign material from a wound or burn


Definition:passing of feces (stool) out of the body through the anus; a bowel movement


Definition:a short electric shock to the chest to normalize an irregular heartbeat


Definition:machine used to deliver defibrillation

degenerative arthritis

Definition:breakdown of the cartilage lining the bones in joints, usually weight-bearing joints, such as the knee; causes stiffness and pain; also called osteoarthritis


Definition:premature opening of a wound along natural or suture lines


Definition:excessive, dangerous loss of water from the body


Definition:gradual decline in mental ability usually caused by a brain disease, such as Alzheimer's disease


Definition:feelings of hopelessness, sadness, and a general disinterest in life, which for the most part have no apparent or rational cause and may be the result of a psychiatric illness


Definition:field of medicine that specializes in the treatment of skin disorders


Definition:inflammation of the skin


Definition:inner layer of skin


Definition:process of making a person less allergic to a substance by injecting gradually increasing amounts of the substance; sometimes done to prevent anaphylactic shock


Definition:treatment given either to fight a person's dependence on alcohol or other drugs or to rid the body of a poisonous substance and its effects

diabetes insipidus

Definition:rare condition characterized by increased urine production

dialysis machine

Definition:machine used to provide dialysis


Definition:procedure to treat kidney failure in which artificial means are used to filter waste, maintain acid-base balance, and remove excess fluid from the body


Definition:large, dome-shaped muscle separating the abdomen and chest (thorax); contraction and relaxation of this muscle make breathing possible

diastolic pressure

Definition:blood pressure measured when the heart is at rest between beats

dietary services

Definition:services provided by dieticians or nutritionists to meet the nutritional needs of individuals, including planning of appropriate meals within the constraints of individual dietary limitations

digestive system

Definition:the structures and organs in the body responsible for food intake, digestion and elimination from the body, including the mouth, esophagus, stomach, liver, gall bladder, pancreas, small intestines, colon and rectum; also called digestive tract


Definition:to widen; noun form is dilation


Definition:acute infectious disease usually confined to upper respiratory tract, potentially fatal without medical intervention


Definition:any alteration in the state of the body or its organs, negatively impacting vital functions and causing or threatening pain or weakness


Definition:displacement of the two bones in a joint


Definition:similar meaning to disease, but most often used to imply slighter, partial and/or temporary by comparison to a disease


Definition:swelling, enlargement, or stretching


Definition:drug that increases the amount of water in the urine, removing excess water from the body; used in treating high blood pressure and fluid retention


Definition:occurring at or active during daylight


Definition:inflammation of diverticula, small sacs in the intestine's inner lining; can cause fever, pain, and tenderness

diabetes mellitus

Definition:common form of diabetes in which the body cannot properly utilize glucose (sugar), the body's main source of energy

do-Not-Resuscitate (DNR) Order

Definition:written instruction put in a patient's medical chart by the doctor directing the health care team not to take certain measures, such as cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), in an attempt to prolong the patient's life

Doctor of osteopathy (DO)

Definition:physician educated at an accredited medical school and licensed by state law to practice medicine as a doctor of osteopathy


Definition:chemical that transmits messages in the brain and plays a role in movement; also a medication used to improve heart function and increase blood pressure


Definition:use of a special listening device to detect the pulse in an extremity; used in the evaluation of peripheral vascular disease

drug delivery

Definition:method and route used to provide medication

drug resistance

Definition:the ability of a microorganism to withstand a drug to which it was once sensitive

duodenal ulcer

Definition:erosion in the inner lining of the wall of the first part of the small intestine (duodenum)


Definition:first part of the small intestine, immediately following the stomach

duplex ultrasound

Definition:type of ultrasound procedure commonly employed to look for blood clots in the deep veins of the legs

deep-vein thrombosis (DVT)

Definition:formation of a blood clot inside of a deep


Definition:investigation, analysis and identification of a disease by its symptoms; also used to mean the conclusion or decision reached from such activity


Definition:severe intestinal infection, causing abdominal pain and diarrhea with blood or mucus


Definition:impaired or abnormal functioning


Definition:difficulty breathing

Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care (DPA)(POA)

Definition:type of advance directive, in which person selects another person to be their medical decision-maker when the signer is unable to make or communicate their own decisions regarding medical treatment; commonly called DPA or Durable Power of Attorney, also sometimes called Health Care Power of Attorney