Monday, September 22, 2008

Define That

One of the most confusing things about learning about a disease is mastering the lingo the accompanies it. It seems that every condition has it's own language to describe it, and Sjogren's Syndrome is no exception. 

What follows is a definition of few of the terms which may be seen in medical literature.

Autoimmunity is a term which describes a state in which the body inappropriately produces antibodies against it's own tissues. Sjogren's Syndrome is an example of an autoimmune disease. 

Keratoconjunctivitis  describes the dry, inflamed surface of the eye which results when normal secretions of the eye are diminished by autoimmune activity.

Parotid refers to the salivary glands located just in front of each ear. They are commonly enlarged in Sjogren's Syndrome, and when impacted by the disease, produce a decreased amount of saliva. 

Sicca is a latin word which means dry - an apt word to describe the symptoms that define Sjogren's. Frequently, especially in earlier references to the disease, Sjogren's and Sicca Syndrome were considered synonymous. Sicca refers to the symptoms of dry eyes and dry mouth.

Xerostoma means dry mouth, from the Greek word stoma meaning mouth.

You can read more about Sjogren's terminology here, and investigate more medical definitions here. 

Of course, then there are the less commonly known words which may not be found in Taber's or other medical dictionaries:

Schltock - The sound heard when the tongue becomes unstuck from the roof of the mouth at 4:00 AM.

Ocular Elmer's - A sticky substance which causes upper and lower eyelids to adhere when awakening.

Another onomatopoeia-type word, Gerglunk, describes the sound of the fifth water bottle of the day being emptied. 

Moving on to a word commonly used in ejaculatory phrases, Omygoshwheresthebathroom, is most frequently used shortly after Gerglunk.

Amoebaface is one of my personal favorites. This word is most commonly used to describe the facial shape that results after the parotid salivary glands (see above) become enlarged. An alternate cause may be the result of an increase in the dosage of a steroid medication.

Knowledge is power, people. Use it wisely.


Anonymous said...

I hear you with the "Gerglunk" it's a daily event for me! The next one is a constant one too!

Gossamer Axe said...

OMG I almost fell off the couch laughing!
I also have sjs and I know EXACTLY what you're talking about. I too have to pry my tongue off the roof of my mouth in the wee hours of the morning. :) And spend most of my workday in the ladies room because I drink so much water :)