Glossary N's

narcotic analgesic

Definition:type of painkiller that blocks the transmission of pain signals in the brain; often causes tolerance (the need for higher amounts of the drug to produce the same effect) and drug dependence


Definition:addictive substance that blunts the senses; can cause confusion, stupor, coma, and death with increased dosages


Definition:the nostrils or nasal openings

nasal septum

Definition:section of the nose that divides the left and right nostrils; made of cartilage and bone and covered by a mucous membrane


Definition:pertaining to the nose


Definition:upper part of the pharynx, located behind the nose


Definition:feeling the need to vomit


Definition:instrument that provides a drug in a misted form through a facemask; used for severe asthma attacks and for children who have asthma but cannot use an inhaler


Definition:death of tissue cells

needle aspiration

Definition:use of a thin, hollow needle and syringe to remove body fluid for examination

needle biopsy

Definition:use of a hollow, wide-diameter needle to remove a sample of tissue for examination


Definition:surgical removal of one or both kidneys


Definition:inflammation of one or both kidneys because of an infection, an abnormal immune system response, or a metabolic disorder


Definition:surgical removal of a kidney stone


Definition:tiny filtering units of the kidney


Definition:replacement of normal kidney structures with scar tissue


Definition:surgical placement of a tube into the kidney to drain urine

nephrotic syndrome

Definition:loss of protein from nephrons

nerve block

Definition:dulling of sensation in an area of the body by injecting a painkiller into or around a nerve leading to that section of the body

nerve cell

Definition:basic unit of the nervous system; transmits chemical messages throughout the body

nerve compression

Definition:pressure on a nerve, which can cause nerve damage and muscle weakness


Definition:bundle of fibers that transmit electrical messages between the brain and areas of the body; these messages convey sensory or motor function information

nervous system

Definition:the complete system of nerve tissues in the body, consisting of the brain, brainstem, spinal cord, nerves and ganglia


Definition:pertaining to a nerve or the nerves


Definition:pain along the course of a nerve caused by irritation or damage to the nerve


Definition:inflammation of a nerve, often characterized by pain, numbness, or tingling; also used to describe nerve damage and disease from causes other than inflammation


Definition:prefix indicating a nerve or relating to a nerve or the nervous system


Definition:condition in which connective tissue tumors occur on nerves in the skin


Definition:an antipsychotic drug


Definition:pertaining to the nervous system or neurology


Definition:branch of medicine dealing with diagnosis and treatment of disorders of the nervous system


Definition:noncancerous tumor occurring in nerve tissue

neuromuscular blocking drugs

Definition:group of very powerful drugs that completely relax most of the muscles in the body, temporarily disabling movement; patient must be on breathing machine as breathing muscles are affected


Definition:nerve cell


Definition:disease, inflammation, or damage to the nerves connecting the brain and spinal cord to the rest of the body


Definition:relatively mild emotional disorders, such as mild depression and phobias


Definition:chemicals that transfer messages from one nerve cell to another or from a nerve cell to a muscle cell


Definition:type of white blood cell

National Institutes of Health (NIH)

Definition:nonregulatory United State's federal agency with oversight of research activities it funds


Definition:group of drugs that widen blood vessels; used to treat insufficient blood supply to the heart (angina pectoris) and reduced pumping efficiency of the heart (heart failure)


Definition:urination or a sleep-disturbing need to urinate during the night


Definition:occurring during or active at night


Definition:descriptive of medical procedures that do not enter or penetrate the body; also refers to noncancerous tumors that do not spread to other sections of the body


Definition:hormone that regulates blood pressure by causing blood vessels to narrow and the heart to beat faster when blood pressure drops

nosocomial infection

Definition:infection acquired in a hospital

nurse practitioner (NP)

Definition:a registered nurse specially trained to provide an expanded role in the provision of medical care under the supervision of a doctor

nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAID)

Definition:group of drugs that relieve pain and reduce inflammation

nursing home

Definition:facility which provides nursing supervision and limited medical care to people who do not require hospitalization; also called an extended care facility

nuclear medicine

Definition:use of weakly radioactive material as a type of contrast material and a radiation detection camera to make images of the inside of the body


Definition:lack of sensation in a part of the body because of interruption of nerve impulses


Definition:any substance that the body can use to maintain its health


Definition:collectively, all nutrients and the physical and chemical processes by which nutrients are converted into body tissue


Definition:persistent, rapid, involuntary movement of the eyes


Definition:drug used to widen blood vessels, including use as treatment for insufficient blood supply to the heart (angina pectoris) and the reduced pumping efficiency of the heart (heart failure)

nasogastric tube (NG)

Definition:thin, plastic tube that is inserted through the nose, down the esophagus, and into the stomach; used to drain, wash, or take samples from the stomach, or to feed very sick patients who cannot eat; also called NG tube