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    Disease or symptoms that affect many different parts of the body.


Illness or sickness often characterized by typical patient problems (symptoms) and physical findings (signs). Disruption sequence: The events that occur when a fetus that is developing normally is subjected to a destructive agent such as the rubella (German measles) virus.

This word is used to described observable behavior that represents the expression of a subjectively experienced feeling state (emotion). Common examples of affect are sadness, fear, joy, and anger. The normal range of expressed affect varies considerably between different cultures and even within the same culture. Types of affect include: euthymic, irritable, constricted; blunted; flat; inappropriate, and labile.


Systematic desensitization
A behavior therapy procedure widely used to modify behaviors associated with phobias. The procedure involves the construction of a hierarchy of anxiety-producing stimuli by the subject, and gradual presentation of the stimuli until they no longer produce anxiety.

Systemic Circulation
The circulation of blood from the left ventricle, through an extensive network of vessels that penetrate every part of the body, to the right side of the heart.

Systemic lupus erythematosus
The commonest connective tissue disorder in which the commonest clinical features are dermatological (often with photosensitivity) and rheumatological.

Systemic sclerosis
A form of scleroderma.

Systemic therapy
Treatment that consists of taking medication internally, such as in pill form or by injection or infusion.

The cardiac contraction of a heartbeat.

Measurement of the maximum blood pressure in the arteries. The larger number is the systolic pressure caused by each pump of the heart.

Systolic blood pressure
The highest blood pressure measured in the arteries.

Systolic Pressure
The pressure of the blood in the arteries when the heart pumps. It is the higher of two blood pressure measurements, e.g., 120/80, where 120 is the systolic pressure.


Stress incontinence
Involuntary leaking of urine during activities that increase pressure inside the abdomen, such as coughing, sneezing, or jogging.

Stress ulcer
An upper GI ulcer from physical injury such as surgery, major burns, or critical head injury.

The abnormal narrowing of a body opening. Also called stenosis. See also esophageal stricture and pyloric stenosis.

Sudden death
Death that occurs unexpectedly or immediately after onset of symptoms.

Superior vena cava
The large vein that returns blood to the heart from the head and arms.


Systolic blood pressure
The highest blood pressure measured in the arteries.

Light-headedness or fainting caused by insufficient blood supply to the brain.

Skin prick test
Skin prick tests are used to diagnose allergies. Pricking gently through a drop of allergen extract placed on the surface of the arm may result after 10-15 minutes in the appearance of a small, itchy swelling and a reddening of the skin. This indicates an allergy.

Specific allergy vaccination
Specific allergy vaccination is also called specific immunotherapy, hyposensitisation or allergy shot. It is a vaccination programme that affects the natural course of an allergic disease, not only its symptoms. When the patient is given increasing doses of the allergen to which he or she is allergic, the immune system becomes less sensitive and the patient no longer reacts. Two different types of vaccine exist: a depot (slow-release) preparation and an aqueous solution.

See specific allergy vaccination.

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