Bowel Sounds – Definition, Types

Bowel Sounds Definition and Types The noises of the gastrointestinal tract. Listening to sounds through a stethoscope (auscultation) provides important clues about the function of the gastrointestinal tract. Normal noises vary in tone and loudness according to the activity of the bowel though follow characteristic patterns the doctor can identify. Excessive noises often accompany excessive bowel […]

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Jejunum – Function and Definition

Jejunum Definition The middle segment of the small intestine, between the ileum and the duodenum. The jejunum is six to eight feet long and handles absorption of carbohydrates and proteins, as well as vitamins such as vitamin k and minerals such as iron. The jejunum’s tissue composition and excellent blood supply allow it to be the source of tissue grafts […]

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Cecum – Definition and Function

Cecum Definition Cecum is the first segment of the colon (large intestine) into which the ileum, the final segment of the small intestine, empties digestive matter. It is a pouchlike structure located in the lower right abdomen that absorbs water from the waste, returning fluid to the body and consolidating the waste for its journey through the end stage […]

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Liver Function and Diseases

Liver Definition The largest internal organ in the body. Its soft, spongy tissue spreads like a flattened football between the diaphragm and the stomach, tucked protectively beneath the lower ribs on the right side of the abdomen. Weighing about three and a half pounds, the liver contains 15 percent of the body’s blood (about a pint). Liver function About […]

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Cholesterol, Endogenous – Definition

Definition A sterol alcohol molecule essential for many functions of cellular metabolism and the synthesis (production) of numerous hormones. The liver synthesizes the cholesterol that circulates within the body (endogenous) from dietary fats, particularly saturated fats, and the components of dietary cholesterol that enter the bloodstream from the gastrointestinal tract. The liver can continue to synthesize […]

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Meconium Definition

Definition The first stool a newborn passes, made up of amniotic fluid, bile, and mucus. Meconium resembles tar in consistency and color. Its passing is a key indictor of the infant’s health and gastrointestinal patency (clear passage). Infants with healthy gastrointestinal systems pass their first meconium stools within 24 hours of birth and may continue to […]

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Pancreas – Function, Problems and Disease

Pancreas Definition Pancreas – an elongated gland with both endocrine and exocrine functions that lies beneath the stomach on the upper left side of the abdomen, beneath the lower ribs. Both realms of function play roles in digestion, though the endocrine functions of the pancreas are also significant for maintaining the body’s glucose-insulin balance and for regulating cellular […]

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Peristalsis Definition

Peristalsis Definition Peristalsis – the rhythmic waves of contraction that move food through the gastrointestinal tract. Pressure against the inner walls of the intestines, such as occurs when food enters an intestinal segment, signals the muscles to contract and relax in a progressive pattern. The muscles ahead of the pressure relax, widening the intestinal passage, and […]

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