BULLA
mother’s cervix. Vaginal delivery is not
possible
if this
presentation
persists
throughout labour, and a
caesarean sec-
tion
is then required.
brucellosis
A rare bacterial infection, caused by var-
ious strains of
B
rucella
, w hich may be
transmitted to humans from affected
cattle, goats, and pigs. The infection may
also be transmitted in unpasteurized
dairy products.
Brucellosis causes high fever, sweat-
ing, poor appetite, joint aches, headache,
backache,
weakness,
and
depression.
Rarely, severe untreated cases lead to
pneumonia
or
meningitis
(inflammation
of the
membranes
surrounding
the
brain and spinal cord). In long-term
brucellosis, bouts of the illness recur
over months or years, and the depres-
sion can be severe. The disease is treated
with
antibiotic drugs
.
bruise
A
discoloured
area
under
the
skin
caused by leakage of blood from dam-
aged capillaries (tiny blood vessels). The
blood initially appears blue or black; as
the
haemoglobin
(the red pigment in
blood) breaks down, the bruise turns a
yellowish colour.
A bruise that does not fade after
about week, that appears for no appar-
ent reason, or that is severe after only
m inor injury, may indicate a
bleeding
disorder
.
(See also
black eye
;
purpura
. )
bruits
The sounds that are made in the heart,
arteries, or veins when the blood circu-
lation becomes turbulent or when it
flows abnormally fast. This may happen
when blood vessels widen (as in an
aneurysm
), when they become narrowed
by disease
(as
in
arteriosclerosis
) ,
or
when heart valves are narrowed or dam-
aged (as in
endocarditis
) .
Bruits can be
heard by a doctor through a
stethoscope
.
(See also
carotid bruit
. )
bruxism
Rhythmic grinding or clenching of the
teeth that usually occurs during sleep.
The main causes are emotional stress
and m inor discomfort when the teeth
are brought together. Continued brux-
ism may wear away the teeth.
BSE
The abbreviation for
bovine spongiform
encephalopathy
.
bubo
An inflamed and swollen
lymph node
,
usually in the groin or armpit. Buboes
usually occur as the result of a bacterial
infection such as
plague
or a
sexually
transmitted infection
.
bubonic plague
The most common form
of
plague
,
characterized by the development of a
bubo
(a swollen lymph node) in the
groin or armpit.
buccal
A term that refers to the cheek or mouth.
Buccal preparations of some drugs are
available. Placed between the cheek and
gum, they dissolve and are absorbed
directly into the blood circulation.
buck teeth
Prominent upper incisors (front teeth)
that protrude from the mouth. Ortho-
dontic treatment of buck teeth involves
repositioning the teeth with a remov-
able brace (see
brace, dental
)
or a fixed
orthodontic appliance
.
Budd-Chiari syndrome
A rare disorder in w hich the veins
draining blood from the liver become
blocked or narrowed.
Blood accum-
ulates in the liver, w hich swells.
Liver
failure
and
portal
hypertension
(raised
pressure in the vein carrying blood to
the liver) result.
Treatment is aimed at removing the
cause of the obstruction, w hich may be
a blood clot, pressure on the veins from
a liver tumour, or a congenital (present
from birth) abnormality of the veins. In
most cases, treatment has only a limited
effect and, unless a
liver transplant
can be
carried out, the disease is generally fatal
w ithin two years.
budesonide
A
corticosteroid drug
used in the pre-
vention of bronchial
asthma
attacks.
Budesonide is administered using an
inhaler
.
Adverse effects, w hich include
hoarseness, throat irritation and, rarely,
fungal infections, can be reduced by
rinsing the mouth after administration.
Buerger’s disease
A rare disorder, also known as thrombo-
angiitis obliterans, in w hich the nerves,
arteries,
and veins in the legs,
and
sometimes the arms, become severely
inflamed. The blood supply to the toes
and fingers becomes cut off, eventually
causing
gangrene
(tissue death). Buer-
ger’s disease is most common in men
under the age of
45
who smoke heavily.
buffalo hump
A lump of fat under the skin on the
back of the neck. A buffalo hump may
develop following long-term treatment
w ith high doses of
corticosteroid drugs
or as a result of
Cushing’s syndrome
.
building-related illnesses
Another term for the group of symp-
toms known as
sick building syndrome
.
bulbar palsy
Weakness of the muscles involved in
talking and swallowing, causing slurred
speech, hoarseness, difficulty in swal-
lowing, and choking on food and drink.
Bulbar palsy may be caused by damage
to the muscles’ nerve supply, as in
motor
neuron disease
,
or disease of the muscles
themselves, as in
muscular dystrophy
.
bulimia
A psychiatric illness that is character-
ized by bouts of overeating, usually
followed by self-induced vomiting or
excessive use of
laxatives
.
Most people
suffering
from
bulimia
are
girls
or
women between the ages of
15
and
3
0
.
In some cases, the symptoms coexist
with those of
anorexia nervosa
.
Repeated vomiting can lead to dehy-
dration and loss of potassium, causing
weakness and cramps, and also causes
tooth damage due to the gastric acid in
vomit. Treatment of bulimia includes
supervision and regulation of the per-
son’s eating habits,
psychotherapy
,
and,
in some cases, antidepressant drugs (
see
selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors
).
bulk-forming agent
A type of
antidiarrhoeal drug
that absorbs
water, making stools less liquid. Bulk-
forming agents are also used as
laxatives
,
stimulating bowel movement by soften-
ing faeces and increasing their bulk.
bulla
A large air- or fluid-filled bubble that is
usually found in the lungs or skin. Lung
bullae in young adults are usually
con-
genital
(present from birth). In later life,
lung bullae develop in patients with
emphysema
,
a disorder in w hich the
air sacs
in
the
lungs
are
gradually
destroyed. Skin bullae are large, fluid-
filled
blisters
with a variety of causes,
including the bullous disease
pemphigus.
B
131
previous page 130 BMA A Z Family Medical Encyclopedia   2004 read online next page 132 BMA A Z Family Medical Encyclopedia   2004 read online Home Toggle text on/off