I
FAMILIAL HYPERCHOLESTEROLAEMIA
FUNCTION
The fimbriae take up the egg after it is
expelled from the ovary. The beating
cilia and muscular contractions propel
the egg towards the uterus. After sexual
intercourse, sperm swim up the fallo-
pian tube from the uterus. The lining of
the tube and its secretions sustain the
egg and sperm, encouraging fertiliza-
tion to take place, and nourish the egg
until it reaches the uterus.
DISORDERS
The fallopian tube may become in-
flamed, usually as a result of a bacterial
sexually transmitted infection
(see
pelvic
inflammatory disease
) ;
this can, in some
cases, lead to
infertility. Ectopic pregnancy
(the development of an embryo outside
the uterus) is another serious disorder
that most commonly occurs in a fallo-
pian tube. This arises when there is a
delay in the passage of the fertilized
egg along the tube, usually as a result
of scarring or blockage. Implantation
occurs in the fallopian tube wall, but it
is too thin to sustain growth, and as the
pregnancy progresses,
the tube may
rupture and cause internal bleeding. The
pregnancy must be terminated.
Fallot’s tetralogy
See
tetralogy of Fallot
.
fallout
See
radiation hazards
.
falls in the elderly
The tendency to fall over increases
steadily w ith age. This increased proba-
bility of falling is due to a gradual
slowing
down
of
reflex
actions;
an
elderly person who trips is frequently
too slow to prevent a fall.
CAUSES
Falls may simply be accidents, which
are commonly the result of obstructions
on the ground (such as loose floor cov-
erings),
or they may be
caused by
medical problems. Various medical con-
ditions that are common in
elderly
people increase the risk of falls. Exam-
ples of such conditions are poor sight,
walking
disorders, cardiac
arrhythmia
(an
irregular heartbeat),
hypotension
(low
blood pressure), and
Parkinson’s disease
(a movement disorder). Taking
sleeping
drugs
or
tranquillizer drugs
may also
increase the risk of falls. Falls sometimes
herald the onset of a serious illness,
such as
pneumonia
.
COMPLICATIONS
Broken bones (see
fracture
)
are a com-
mon complication of falls, especially in
women. Not only do women have more
falls, but they are also more likely to
suffer fractures because the strength of
their bones may be reduced through
osteoporosis
(loss of bone density).
Falls may sometimes have serious
indirect consequences in elderly peo-
ple. Anyone w ho falls and lies on the
floor for more than an hour, especially
if it is cold, may develop
hypothermia
(low body temperature). A fall, or the
fear of falling, can also have adverse
psychological effects, causing a once
active person to become demoralized
and housebound.
PREVENTION
Falls may be prevented by taking com-
mon-sense measures such as ensuring
that floors are free of clutter, good
lighting is available, suitable footwear
is worn, floor coverings and w iring are
safe,
and
handrails
are
secure.
For
elderly people w ho live alone, personal
alarms are available that can be worn
round the neck at all times; in the
event of a fall the alarm button can be
pressed to summon help.
false negative
A test result that w rongly suggests that
a particular disease or condition is not
present. For example, a false negative
mammography
result is one that sug-
gests breast tissue is healthy when, in
fact, a breast cancer is present.
false positive
A test result that wrongly suggests that
a certain disease or condition is pre-
sent.
For
example,
a
false
positive
mammography
result appears to reveal a
breast cancer, but subsequent tests do
not find any evidence of disease.
false pregnancy
See
pregnancy, false
.
false teeth
See
denture
.
false vocal cord
One of two folds of tissue in the
larynx
(voice-box) that are situated above the
true
vocal cords
but w hich are
not
involved in the production of speech.
famciclovir
An
antiviral drug
used to treat viral
infections such as
herpes zoster
(shin-
gles) and genital
herpes simplex
. M inor
side effects can include nausea, vom it-
ing, and headache.
familial
A term applied to a characteristic or
disorder that runs in families, that is, it
occurs in more members of a particu-
lar family than w ould be
expected
from the occurrence in the population
as a whole. An example of a familial
characteristic is male-pattern baldness
(see
alopecia
) ;
an example of a familial
disorder is
hyperlipidaemia
(abnormally
high levels of fats in the blood).
familial adenomatous polyposis
(FAP)
See
polyposis, familial adenomatous
.
familial cystinuria
See
cystinuria
.
familial goitre
See
goitre
.
familial hypercholesterolaemia
An inherited disorder of lipoprotein
metabolism
(see
fats and oils
)
that is
characterized by a high level of the fatty
substance
cholesterol
in the blood. An
individual suffering from familial hyper-
cholesterolaemia lacks the
low density
lipoprotein
receptors in the liver that
remove
excess
cholesterol
from
the
F
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