Glossary

Alpha-blockers

Also called alpha-adrenergic antagonists. A kind of medicine that treats a variety of health conditions, including high blood pressure, an enlarged prostate, and some circulation problems. Alpha-blockers relax certain muscles and help small blood vessels stay open and relaxed. This improves blood flow and lowers blood pressure.

Antihistamines

Medicines used to treat allergic reactions, cold symptoms, and motion sickness.

Anxiety

A feeling of uneasiness, apprehension, and fear that is often accompanied by physical signs such as sweating, tension, and an increased heart rate.

Benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH)

Enlargement of the prostate gland that can lead to urination and bladder problems if the enlarged gland begins to press on the urethra.

Depression

A serious medical illness that involves the brain. Symptoms of depression include feelings of sadness, loss of interest or pleasure in activities that used to be enjoyed, and even thoughts of death or suicide. These feelings do not go away, and they can interfere with a person's everyday life.

Diabetes

A disease in which blood glucose (sugar) levels are too high. Insulin is a hormone in the body that helps glucose get from the blood into cells to give them energy. With diabetes, either the body doesn't make insulin or it doesn't use insulin the right way. This means that too much glucose stays in the blood. Over time, having too much glucose in the blood can cause serious health problems.

Enlarged prostate

Also known as benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH). This is a condition in which the prostate gland grows bigger. The gland may press on the urethra as it grows, causing urination and bladder problems.

Finasteride

Finasteride is used alone or in combination with other medications to treat benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH). Finasteride treats BPH by blocking the production of a male hormone that causes the prostate to enlarge. Finasteride may also be used to treat male pattern hair loss.

Frequent urination

Needing to urinate more often than usual. May be a symptom of benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), also known as an enlarged prostate.

Heart disease

The number one killer in the United States. The most common cause of heart disease is narrowing or blockage of the blood vessels that supply blood to the heart and all other parts of the body. Heart disease can also happen when there are problems with the valves in the heart or with how well the heart pumps.

High blood cholesterol

Cholesterol is a waxy, fat-like substance found in the blood and all cells of the body. Your body needs some cholesterol to work the right way. Your body makes all the cholesterol it needs. But cholesterol is also found in some foods we eat. This extra cholesterol in your blood can also build up in your arteries. This is called plaque. Over time, plaque can cause arteries to narrow. This can stop or slow down the flow of blood to your heart and the rest of your body, causing heart disease.

High blood pressure (also called hypertension)

Blood pressure is the force of blood pushing against the walls of the arteries as the heart pumps out blood. When this pressure rises and stays high over time, it is called high blood pressure. It can lead to heart disease, heart failure, stroke, kidney failure, and other health problems.

Leukemia

A cancer of the white blood cells. White blood cells help the body fight infection. In leukemia, the bone marrow produces abnormal white blood cells, which crowd out healthy blood cells, making it hard for blood to do its work.

Low blood pressure (also called hypotension)

When blood pressure during and after each heartbeat is much lower than usual. When this happens, the heart, brain, and other parts of the body do not get enough blood.

Multiple myeloma

A blood cancer that affects plasma cells in bone marrow. In multiple myeloma, plasma cells grow out of control and form tumors in the bone marrow.

Multiple sclerosis (MS)

A nervous system disease that affects the brain and spinal cord. MS damages the material that surrounds and protects nerve cells. This damage slows down or blocks messages between the brain and the rest of the body, which can cause problems with a person's sight, muscles, coordination, balance, and mental functioning.

NAION

A rare type of vision loss. It is caused by low blood flow to the optic nerve in the eye. NAION stands for nonarteritic anterior ischemic optic neuropathy.

Nitrates

Also known as "poppers." A type of medicine commonly used to treat heart problems. These medicines relax and widen blood vessels. This allows more blood to flow to the heart, which makes the heart work less hard.

Oral

Taken by mouth, such as oral medicines for erectile dysfunction (ED).

Parkinson's disease

A disorder that kills or damages nerve cells in a part of the brain that controls how muscles move. Symptoms may include shaking, stiffness, slow movement, and poor balance and coordination.

PDE5 inhibitors

A class of drugs used as a first-line oral medicine for erectile dysfunction (ED). PDE5 is an abbreviated term for phosphodiesterase 5, an enzyme that breaks down cGMP during an erection, ultimately returning the penis to a flaccid state.

Peyronie's disease

A condition in which a hard lump (plaque) forms on the penis. Sometimes the lump makes the penis less flexible, which can be painful. It can also cause the penis to bend or arc during an erection.

Popper

A slang term for various chemical compounds, including amyl nitrite and butyl nitrite, that are used for recreational purposes. The chemical compound is inhaled to increase sexual desire.

Priapism

An erection lasting more than 4 hours that results from blood not being able to exit the penis. If a man experiences priapism, he should seek emergency medical attention.

Prostate

A gland in a man's body located near the base of his penis. The prostate secretes a fluid that makes up the main portion of the fluid (semen) that a man ejaculates during an orgasm.

Protease inhibitors

A class of drugs that can keep a virus from making copies of itself (for example, AIDS virus protease inhibitors).

Retinitis pigmentosa

An eye disease in which there is damage to the retina. The retina is the layer of tissue at the back of the inner eye that converts light images to nerve signals and sends them to the brain.

Sexual stimulation

The act of sexually arousing a person through touch and/or emotional excitement.

Sickle cell anemia

A disease in which the body produces abnormally shaped red blood cells. These sickle-shaped cells don't last as long as normal, round red blood cells. This can cause anemia. Also, the sickle cells get stuck in blood vessels, blocking blood flow. This can cause pain and organ damage. The disease is genetic, meaning it is passed from one generation to the next. About 1 in 12 African-Americans carries the trait for sickle cell disease.

Straining

Use of the muscles of the abdomen to push down on the bladder and increase the force of urine flow.

Testosterone

A male hormone responsible for male sex characteristics, such as facial hair, voice, and other changes that happen at puberty.

Urgent urination

A sudden, urgent need to urinate, accompanied by bladder discomfort. May be a symptom of benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), also known as an enlarged prostate.

Weak stream

A slow or low urinary flow rate.

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