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Digestive Diseases Glossary of Terms


Gastrin: A hormone that causes the stomach to produce acid, too much of which can cause stomach and duodenal ulcers.

Gastrinoma: Tumor that develops in the pancreas or duodenum. It can be associated with Zollinger-Ellison syndrome. Gastrinomas secrete the hormone gastrin.

Gastroesophageal reflux: A condition in which stomach acid and contents back up into the esophagus, producing symptoms of heartburn or regurgitation.

Gastroparesis: Full or partial paralysis of the stomach. It is a disease in which the stomach cannot empty itself of food in a normal fashion. This can happen in diabetes.

H2 blockers: A group of digestive disease drugs that relieve acid reflux and pain by suppressing the production of stomach acid.

Hemorrhoid: Enlarged or swollen vein within or around the anus or rectum.

Hemorrhoidectomy: Surgery to remove hemorrhoids.

HIDA scan: Also called cholescintigraphy, during this test a radioactive material, called hydroxy iminodiacetic acid (HIDA), is injected into the patient. The test is used to diagnose certain conditions of the liver and gallbladder.

Jaundice: A yellowing of the skin and whites of the eyes that occurs when levels of the pigment bilirubin are abnormally high. This may occur when the liver is not working properly or when a bile duct is blocked.

Jejunostomy tube: A feeding tube that is inserted in a surgical procedure through the abdomen into the part of the small intestine called the jejunum. Nutrients are put into the tube to feed the patient who is unable to swallow.

Laparoscopic surgery: "Minimally invasive" surgery in which small (usually 5- to 10-millimeter) incisions are made. The laparoscope and surgical instruments are inserted through these incisions. The surgeon is guided by the laparoscope, which transmits a picture of the internal organs on a monitor.

Lipase: Enzyme produced in the pancreas and secreted into the small intestine that aids in the digestion of certain fats from food.

Liver function tests (LFTs): Also known as hepatic enzymes or liver blood tests, they can show evidence of conditions affecting the normal functioning of the liver, gallbladder or bile ducts.

Pancreatitis: Inflammation of the pancreas.

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