Glossary

Palliative care

The aim of palliative care is to achieve the best quality of life for patients and their families who are faced with a life-threatening illness.

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Pancreatitis

The pancreas is a narrow, flat organ located deep in the abdominal cavity, behind the stomach and below the liver, which produces digestive juices that help the body absorb carbohydrates, proteins and fats.

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Parapsychologist

Parapsychology is the branch of psychology concerned with the study of extrasensory perception and psychic experiences of phenomena that are inexplicable by modern Western science.

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Parkinson's disease

Parkinson's is a progressive neurological condition affecting movements such as walking, talking, and writing. It is named after Dr James Parkinson who first identified Parkinson's as a specific condition.

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Peptic ulcers

Peptic ulcers are ulcers that form in the stomach or the upper part of the small intestine. An ulcer which is basically a sore is an open and painful wound. The symptoms are often described as indigestion, heartburn and a feeling of hunger.

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Peripheral oedema

Peripheral oedema is the swelling of tissues usually in the lower limbs, i.e. feet and ankles, due to the accumulation and retention of fluids.

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pH balance

pH stands for power of hydrogen and is the measure of the acidity or alkalinity of a solution. pH balance is achieved when our blood and tissues are pH neutral In other words, when our bodies are nourished and hydrated and are rid of waste and toxins. The body needs to maintain a balanced pH to prevent illness, so it is very important to avoid being too acidic or too alkaline.

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Phlebitis

Phlebitis is the general term used for an inflammation of the wall of a vein that can be caused by an infection. When the vein wall becomes inflamed, it can result in the development of thrombosis. Phlebothrombosis is the general term used for blood clotting within a vein.

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Photochemical

A photochemical reaction is a chemical reaction that is induced by the absorption of light. A prime example is sunburn, which is a photochemical process that alters the chemistry of the skin.

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Placebo

A placebo is an inactive substance or procedure used as a medicine or therapy that has no verifiable therapeutic activity.

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Plato

Plato was born in Greece in 427 BC and was a classical Greek philosopher, mathematician, writer of philosophical dialogues, and founder of the Academy in Athens, the first institution of higher learning in the western world. He helped lay the foundations of Western philosophy.

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Polycythaemia

The term polycythaemia applies to several conditions where there are too many red blood cells in the blood. The number of red cells you have varies according to your age and sex. Men have higher levels than women and newborn babies often have more than adults.

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Post-partum depression

Post-partum depression is depression that occurs soon after having a baby.

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Procrastination

Procrastination is a type of behaviour that is characterised by the avoidance of doing a task that needs to be done, in other words postponing until tomorrow what can be done today. Procrastination not only affects a person's work, but also commonly involves feelings such as guilt, inadequacy, self-disgust, stress and depression.

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Proprioception

Proprioception is the ability to sense the position, location, posture and movement of our body in physical space, without the need to look at our limbs.

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Pseudoscience

Pseudoscience is something that appears to be scientific in an attempt to claim legitimacy, but it either does not hold up under the scrutiny of modern Western science, or it has not been subjected to scientific scrutiny in any meaningful way.

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Psoriasis

Psoriasis is a non-contagious, common skin complaint that occurs when the skin cells replace themselves too quickly every few days, compared to the normal 21-28 day cycle.

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Psychoneuroimmunology

Psychoneuroimmunology (PNI) is the study of how the mind and the nervous system interact with one another. Its main area of interest is the effect that thought, particularly, stressful thoughts, have on the immune system of the body, and it has been particularly applied to the study of autoimmune diseases.

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Psychophysical

Psychophysical is a way of working that differs from many other psychotherapy approaches, because it uses the active engagement of the body as being central to the therapeutic process.

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Psychosocial

Psychosocial development is how a person's mind, emotions and maturity level develop throughout the course of their lifetime.

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Psychosomatic/somatic/somatisation

The term somatic refers to the cells of the body.

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PTSD

Post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a natural emotional reaction to a deeply shocking and disturbing experience and is a normal reaction to an abnormal situation.

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Pulmonary hypertension

Pulmonary hypertension is increased pressure in the pulmonary arteries, which carry blood from the heart to the lungs to pick up oxygen.

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Pulmonology/pulmonary system

Pulmonology is the branch of medicine that involves the diagnosis and treatment of disorders that affects the pulmonary system. The pulmonary system includes the lungs, the respiratory tract and the muscles that support the breathing process, such as the diaphragm, which pumps air into and out of the lungs.

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Purging

Purging is an act of flushing, rinsing, cleaning or emptying of a body or system.

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