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Abdominal: Relating to the abdomen, the belly, that part of the body that contai ns all of the structures

between the chest and the pelvis. The abdomen is separa ted anatomically from the chest by the diaphragm, the powerful muscle spanning t he body cavity below the lungs. See the entire definition of Abdominal Abnormal: Outside the expected norm, or uncharacteristic of a particular patient . ACE inhibitors: A drug that inhibits ACE (angiotensin converting enzyme) which i s important to the formation of angiotensin II. Angiotensin II causes arteries i n the body to constrict and thereby raises the blood pressure. ACE inhibitors lo wer the blood pressure by inhibiting the formation of angiotensin II. This relax es the arteries. Relaxing the arteries not only lowers blood pressure, but also improves the pumping efficiency of a failing heart and improves cardiac output i n patients with heart failure. ACE inhibitors are therefore used for blood press ure control and congestive heart failure. See the entire definition of ACE inhibitors Adrenal gland: A small gland located on top of the kidney. The adrenal glands pr oduce hormones that help control heart rate, blood pressure, the way the body us es food, the levels of minerals such as sodium and potassium in the blood, and o ther functions particularly involved in stress reactions. Aging: The process of becoming older, a process that is genetically determined a nd environmentally modulated. See the entire definition of Aging Aldosterone: A hormone produced by the outer portion (cortex) of the adrenal gla nd. Aldosterone regulates the balance of water and electrolytes in the body, enc ouraging the kidney to excrete potassium into the urine and retain sodium, there by retaining water. It is classified as a mineralocorticoid hormone. American Medical Association (AMA): The AMA. The AMA's mission statement proclai ms: See the entire definition of American Medical Association Analysis: In psychology, a term for conversation-based therapeutic processes use d to gain understanding of complex emotional or behavioral issues. Angiography: A procedure performed to view blood vessels after injecting them wi th a radioopaque dye that outlines them on x-ray. This technique can be usefully used to look at arteries in many areas of the body, including the brain, neck ( carotids), heart, aorta, chest, pulmonary circuit, kidneys, gastrointestinal tra ct, and limbs. Angioplasty: Procedure with a balloon-tipped catheter to enlarge a narrowing in a coronary artery. Also called Percutaneous Transluminal Coronary Angioplasty (P TCA). Angiotensin: A family of peptides that constrict blood vessels. Narrowing the di ameter of the blood vessels causes blood pressure to rise. Antihypertensive: Something that reduces high blood pressure (hypertension). Anxiety: A feeling of apprehension and fear, characterized by physical symptoms such as palpitations, sweating, and feelings of stress. Aorta: The largest artery in the body, the aorta arises from the left ventricle of the heart, goes up (ascends) a little ways, bends over (arches), then goes do wn (descends) through the chest and through the abdomen to where ends by dividin g into two arteries called the common iliac arteries that go to the legs. See the entire definition of Aorta Aortic: Pertaining to the aorta, the largest artery in the body. See the entire definition of Aortic Arteriosclerosis: Hardening and thickening of the walls of the arteries. Arterio sclerosis can occur because of fatty deposits on the inner lining of arteries (a therosclerosis), calcification of the wall of the arteries, or thickening of the muscular wall of the arteries from chronically elevated blood pressure (hyperte nsion). Artery: A vessel that carries blood high in oxygen content away from the heart t o the farthest reaches of the body. Since blood in arteries is usually full of o xygen, the hemoglobin in the red blood cells is oxygenated. The resultant form o

f hemoglobin (oxyhemoglobin) is what makes arterial blood look bright red. See the entire definition of Artery Atherosclerosis: A process of progressive thickening and hardening of the walls of medium-sized and large arteries as a result of fat deposits on their inner li ning. See the entire definition of Atherosclerosis Atherosclerotic: Pertaining to atherosclerosis, the process of progressive thick ening and hardening of the walls of arteries from fat deposits on their inner li ning. Atherosclerotic heart disease is the leading cause of death in the US. Balloon angioplasty: Coronary angioplasty is accomplished using a balloon-tipped catheter inserted through an artery in the groin or arm to enlarge a narrowing in a coronary artery. Coronary artery disease occurs when cholesterol plaque bui lds up (atherosclerosis) in the walls of the arteries to the heart. Angioplasty is successful in opening coronary arteries in 90% of patients. 40% of patients w ith successful coronary angioplasty will develop recurrent narrowing at the site of balloon inflation. Blood pressure: The blood pressure is the pressure of the blood within the arter ies. It is produced primarily by the contraction of the heart muscle. It's measu rement is recorded by two numbers. The first (systolic pressure) is measured aft er the heart contracts and is highest. The second (diastolic pressure) is measur ed before the heart contracts and lowest. A blood pressure cuff is used to measu re the pressure. Elevation of blood pressure is called "hypertension". Blood sugar: Blood glucose. See also: High blood sugar; Low blood sugar. Blurred vision: Lack of sharpness of vision with, as a result, the inability to see fine detail. Blurred vision can occur when a person who wears corrective len s is without them. Blurred vision can also be an important clue to eye disease. BMI: Body mass index. Body mass index: A key index for relating weight to height. Abbreviated BMI. BMI is a person's weight in kilograms (kg) divided by his or her height in meters s quared. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) now defines normal weight, overw eight, and obesity according to BMI rather than the traditional height/weight ch arts. Overweight is a BMI of 27.3 or more for women and 27.8 or more for men. Ob esity is a BMI of 30 or more for either sex (about 30 pounds overweight). A very muscular person might have a high BMI without health risks. Brachial artery: The artery that runs from the shoulder down to the elbow. Brain: The portion of the central nervous system that is located within the skul l. It functions as a primary receiver, organizer, and distributor of information for the body. It has a right half and a left half, each of which is called a he misphere. Caffeine: A stimulant compound found naturally in coffee, tea, cocoa (chocolate) , and kola nuts (cola) and added to soft drinks, foods, and medicines. Caffeine can cause anxiety, insomnia, nervousness, and hypertension. Caffeine is a diuret ic and increases urination. It can decrease a person's ability to lose weight be cause it stimulates insulin secretion, which reduces blood sugar, which increase s hunger. Caffeine can help to relieve headaches, so a number of over-the-counte r and prescription pain relievers include it as an ingredient, usually with aspi rin or another analgesic. Calcium: A mineral found mainly in the hard part of bones, where it is stored. C alcium is added to bone by cells called osteoblasts and removed from bone by cel ls called osteoclasts. Calcium is essential for healthy bones and is also import ant for muscle contraction, heart action, and normal blood clotting. Food source s of calcium include dairy foods; some leafy green vegetables, such as broccoli and collards; canned salmon; clams; oysters; calcium-fortified foods; and soy fo ods, such as tofu. According to the National Academy of Sciences, adequate intak e of calcium is 1 gram daily for both men and women. The upper limit for calcium intake is 2.5 grams daily. Capillaries: Capillaries are the smallest of blood vessels. They serve to distri bute oxygenated blood from arteries to the tissues of the body and to feed deoxy genated blood from the tissues back into the veins. The capillaries are thus a c entral component in the circulatory system, essentially between the arteries and

the veins. When pink areas of skin are compressed, this causes blanching becaus e blood is pressed out of the capillaries. The blood is the fluid in the body th at contains, among other elements, the red blood cells (erythrocytes) that carry the oxygen and give the blood its red color. Cardiac: Having to do with the heart. Cardiovascular: Relating to the circulatory system, which comprises the heart an d blood vessels and carries nutrients and oxygen to the tissues of the body and removes carbon dioxide and other wastes from them. Cardiovascular diseases are c onditions that affect the heart and blood vessels and include arteriosclerosis, coronary artery disease, heart valve disease, arrhythmia, heart failure, hyperte nsion, orthostatic hypotension, shock, endocarditis, diseases of the aorta and i ts branches, disorders of the peripheral vascular system, and congenital heart d isease. Cardiovascular disease: Disease affecting the heart or blood vessels. See the entire definition of Cardiovascular disease Catheter: A thin, flexible tube. Chromosomes: The microscopically visible carriers of the genetic material. They are composed of deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) and proteins and, under a microscope , look like little rods. See the entire definition of Chromosomes Chronic: In medicine, lasting a long time. A chronic condition is one that lasts 3 months or more. Chronic diseases are in contrast to those that are acute (abr upt, sharp, and brief) or subacute (within the interval between acute and chroni c). Circulation: In medicine, the movement of fluid through the body in a regular or circuitous course. The circulatory system, composed of the heart and blood vess els, functions to produce circulation. Heart failure is an example of a problem with circulation. Coarctation: A narrowing, stricture, or constriction of an artery. The sides of the vessel at the point of a coarctation appear to be pressed together. Coarctation of the aorta: Congenital constriction of the aorta that impedes the flow of blood below the level of the constriction and increases blood pressure a bove the constriction. Symptoms may not be evident at birth but may develop as s oon as the first week after birth, with congestive heart failure or high blood p ressure that can require early surgery. The outlook after surgery is favorable. Some cases have been treated with balloon angioplasty. Contraction: The tightening and shortening of a muscle. Diabetes: Refers to diabetes mellitus or, less often, to diabetes insipidus. Dia betes mellitus and diabetes insipidus share the name "diabetes" because they are both conditions characterized by excessive urination (polyuria). See the entire definition of Diabetes Diabetes mellitus: Better known just as "diabetes" -- a chronic disease associat ed with abnormally high levels of the sugar glucose in the blood. Diabetes is du e to one of two mechanisms: (1) Inadequate production of insulin (which is made by the pancreas and lowers b lood glucose) or (2) Inadequate sensitivity of cells to the action of insulin. The two main types of diabetes correspond to these two mechanisms and are called insulin dependent (type 1) and non-insulin dependent (type 2) diabetes. In type 1 diabetes there is no insulin or not enough of it. In type 2 diabetes, there i s generally enough insulin but the cells upon it should act are not normally sen sitive to its action. See the entire definition of Diabetes mellitus Diagnosis: 1 The nature of a disease; the identification of an illness. 2 A conc lusion or decision reached by diagnosis. The diagnosis is rabies. 3 The identifi cation of any problem. The diagnosis was a plugged IV. See the entire definition of Diagnosis Diastolic: Referring to the time when the heart is in a period of relaxation and dilatation (expansion).

See the entire definition of Diastolic Dilate: To stretch or enlarge. Also known as dilatate. Dizziness: Painless head discomfort with many possible causes including disturba nces of vision, the brain, balance (vestibular) system of the inner ear, and gas trointestinal system. Dizziness is a medically indistinct term which laypersons use to describe a variety of conditions ranging from lightheadedness, unsteadine ss to vertigo. See the entire definition of Dizziness Dysfunction: Difficult function or abnormal function. See the entire definition of Dysfunction Eclampsia: Convulsions (seizures) occurring with pregnancy-associated high blood pressure and having no other cause. Elbow: The juncture of the long bones in the middle portion of the upper extremi ty. The bone of the arm (humerus) meets both the ulna (the inner bone of the for earm) and radius (the outer bone of the forearm) to form a hinge joint at the el bow. The radius and ulna also meet one another in the elbow to permit a small am ount of rotation of the forearm. The elbow therefore functions to move the arm l ike a hinge (forward and backward) and in rotation (outward and inward). The bic eps muscle is the major muscle that flexes the elbow hinge, and the triceps musc le is the major muscle that extends it. The primary stability of the elbow is pr ovided by the ulnar collateral ligament, located on the medial (inner) side of t he elbow. The outer bony prominence of the elbow is the lateral epicondyle, a pa rt of the humerus bone. Tendons attached to this area can be injured, causing in flammation or tendonitis (lateral epicondylitis, or tennis elbow). The inner por tion of the elbow is a bony prominence called the medial epicondyle of the humer us. Additional tendons from muscles attach here and can be injured, likewise cau sing inflammation or tendonitis (medial epicondylitis, or golfer's elbow). Emergency department: The department of a hospital responsible for the provision of medical and surgical care to patients arriving at the hospital in need of im mediate care. Emergency department personnel may also respond to certain situati ons within the hospital such cardiac arrests. See the entire definition of Emergency department Endothelial: Relating to the endothelium. Enlarged heart: Enlargement of the heart. An enlarged heart is a descriptive ter m that is used to refer to the physical finding of an enlarged heart and is not a disease itself. Heart enlargement can be caused by a number of different condi tions including diseases of the heart muscle or heart valves, high blood pressur e, arrhythmias, and pulmonary hypertension. Enlarged heart can also sometimes ac company longstanding anemia and thyroid disease, among other conditions. Treatme nt and prognosis are dependent upon the underlying cause. Also referred to medic ally as cardiomegaly. Epidemic: The occurrence of more cases of a disease than would be expected in a community or region during a given time period. A sudden severe outbreak of a di sease such as SARS. From the Greek "epi-", "upon" + "demos", "people or populati on" = "epidemos" = "upon the population." See also: Endemic; Pandemic. Essential: In medicine, of unknown cause, as in essential hypertension (high blo od pressure of unknown cause). Also known as idiopathic. Fats: Plural of the word "fat". See the definition of fat. Genes: The basic biological units of heredity. Segments of deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) needed to contribute to a function. See the entire definition of Genes Genetic: Having to do with genes and genetic information. Gland: A group of cells that secrete a substance for use in the body. For exampl e, the thyroid gland. Headache: A pain in the head with the pain being above the eyes or the ears, beh ind the head (occipital), or in the back of the upper neck. Headache, like chest pain or back ache, has many causes. See the entire definition of Headache

Heart: The muscle that pumps blood received from veins into arteries throughout the body. The heart is positioned in the chest behind the sternum (breastbone); in front of the trachea, esophagus, and aorta; and above the diaphragm. A normal heart is about the size of a closed fist and weighs about 298 grams or 10.5 oun ces. It is cone-shaped, with the point of the cone pointing down to the left. Tw o-thirds of the heart lies in the left side of the chest, with the balance in th e right side of the chest. The heart is composed of specialized cardiac muscle, and it is four-chambered, with a right atrium and ventricle, and an anatomically separate left atrium and ventricle. The blood flows from the systemic veins int o the right atrium, thence to the right ventricle, from which it is pumped to th e lungs and then returned into the left atrium, thence to the left ventricle, fr om which it is driven into the systemic arteries. The heart is thus functionally composed of two hearts: the right heart and the left heart. The right heart con sists of the right atrium, which receives deoxygenated blood from the body, and the right ventricle, which pumps the deoxygenated blood to the lungs under low p ressure; and the left heart, which consists of the left atrium, which receives o xygenated blood from the lung, and the left ventricle, which pumps the oxygenate d blood out to the body under high pressure. Heart attack: The death of heart muscle due to the loss of blood supply. The los s of blood supply is usually caused by a complete blockage of a coronary artery, one of the arteries that supplies blood to the heart muscle. Death of the heart muscle, in turn, causes chest pain and electrical instability of the heart musc le tissue. See the entire definition of Heart attack Heart disease: Any disorder that affects the heart. Sometimes the term "heart di sease" is used narrowly and incorrectly as a synonym for coronary artery disease . Heart disease is synonymous with cardiac disease but not with cardiovascular d isease which is any disease of the heart or blood vessels. Among the many types of heart disease, see, for example: Angina; Arrhythmia; Congenital heart disease ; Coronary artery disease (CAD); Dilated cardiomyopathy; Heart attack (myocardia l infarction); Heart failure; Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy; Mitral regurgitation; Mitral valve prolapse; and Pulmonary stenosis. Heart muscle: A type of muscle with unique features only found in the heart. The heart muscle, or cardiac muscle, is medically called the myocardium ("myo-" bei ng the prefix denoting muscle). High blood pressure: A repeatedly elevated blood pressure exceeding 140 over 90 mmHg. Chronic high blood pressure can stealthily cause blood vessel changes in t he back of the eye (retina), abnormal thickening of the heart muscle, kidney fai lure, and brain damage. No specific cause for high blood pressure is found in 95 percent of patients. Treatment for high blood pressure involves dietary changes , regular aerobic exercise, and medication. There are many types of medications used to treat high blood pressure including diuretics, beta-blockers, blood vess el dilators, and others. Also known as hypertension. High blood sugar: An elevated level of the sugar glucose in the blood. Also call ed hyperglycemia. See the entire definition of High blood sugar Hormone: A chemical substance produced in the body that controls and regulates t he activity of certain cells or organs. Many hormones are secreted by special gl ands, such as thyroid hormone produced by the thyroid gland. Hormones are essent ial for every activity of life, including the processes of digestion, metabolism , growth, reproduction, and mood control. Many hormones, such as neurotransmitte rs, are active in more than one physical process. Hyperaldosteronism: Overproduction of the hormone aldosterone from the outer por tion (cortex) of the adrenal gland or a tumor containing that type of tissue. Ex cess aldosterone (pronounced al-do-ster-one) results in low potassium levels (hy pokalemia), underacidity of the body (alkalosis), muscle weakness, excess thirst (polydipsia), excess urination (polyuria), and high blood pressure (hypertensio n). Also called aldosteronism and Conn's syndrome. Hyperglycemia: A high blood sugar. An elevated level specifically of the sugar g

lucose in the blood. See the entire definition of Hyperglycemia Hyperplasia: An increase in the number of normal cells in a tissue or an organ. Hyperplasia can represent a precancerous condition. Hypertension: High blood pressure, defined as a repeatedly elevated blood pressu re exceeding 140 over 90 mmHg -- a systolic pressure above 140 with a diastolic pressure above 90. See the entire definition of Hypertension Incidence: The frequency with which something, such as a disease or trait, appea rs in a particular population or area. Infarction: The formation of an infarct, an area of tissue death, due to a local lack of oxygen. Inflammation: A localized reaction that produces redness, warmth, swelling, and pain as a result of infection, irritation, or injury. Inflammation can be extern al or internal. Institute of Medicine: A nonprofit organization established in 1970 as a compone nt of the US National Academy of Sciences that works outside the framework of go vernment to provide evidence-based research and recommendations for public healt h and science policy. Abbreviated IOM. The IOM is also an honorific membership o rganization. Insulin: A natural hormone made by the pancreas that controls the level of the s ugar glucose in the blood. Insulin permits cells to use glucose for energy. Cell s cannot utilize glucose without insulin. See the entire definition of Insulin Insulin resistance: The diminished ability of cells to respond to the action of insulin in transporting glucose (sugar) from the bloodstream into muscle and oth er tissues. Insulin resistance typically develops with obesity and heralds the o nset of type 2 diabetes. It is as if insulin is "knocking" on the door of muscle . The muscle hears the knock, opens up, and lets glucose in. But with insulin re sistance, the muscle cannot hear the knocking of the insulin (the muscle is "res istant"). The pancreas makes more insulin, which increases insulin levels in the blood and causes a louder "knock." Eventually, the pancreas produces far more i nsulin than normal and the muscles continue to be resistant to the knock. As lon g as one can produce enough insulin to overcome this resistance, blood glucose l evels remain normal. Once the pancreas is no longer able to keep up, blood gluco se starts to rise, initially after meals, eventually even in the fasting state. Type 2 diabetes is now overt. Isotope: A form of a chemical element that has a different-from-normal atomic ma ss. Isotopes are used in a number of medical tests because they can produce imag es of tissues that can be used to detect diseases or conditions. Journal of the American Medical Association: JAMA, which began publication in 18 83, now bills itself as "the world's best-read medical journal". However one def ines "best-read", JAMA clearly ranks as one of the two leading general medical j ournals published in the United States. The other is the New England Journal of Medicine. See the entire definition of Journal of the American Medical Association Kidney: One of a pair of organs located in the right and left side of the abdome n. The kidneys remove waste products from the blood and produce urine. As blood flows through the kidneys, the kidneys filter waste products, chemicals, and unn eeded water from the blood. Urine collects in the middle of each kidney, in an a rea called the renal pelvis. It then drains from the kidney through a long tube, the ureter, to the bladder, where it is stored until elimination. The kidneys a lso make substances that help control blood pressure and regulate the formation of red blood cells. Lipids: Another word for "fats." (Please see the various meanings of Fat.) Lipid s can be more formally defined as substances such as a fat, oil or wax that diss olves in alcohol but not in water. Lipids contain carbon, hydrogen and oxygen bu t have far less oxygen proportionally than carbohydrates. See the entire definition of Lipids Lungs: The lungs are a pair of breathing organs located with the chest which rem

ove carbon dioxide from and bring oxygen to the blood. There is a right and left lung. Magnetic resonance imaging: A procedure that uses magnetism, radio waves, and a computer to create pictures of areas inside the body. Abbreviated MRI. An MRI is painless and has the advantage of avoiding x-ray radiation exposure. There are no known risks of an MRI. The benefits of an MRI relate to its precise accuracy in detecting structural abnormalities of the body. Patients with heart pacemaker s, metal implants, or metal chips or clips in or around the eyes cannot be scann ed with MRI because of the effect of the magnet. Malignant: 1. Tending to be severe and become progressively worse, as in maligna nt hypertension. 2. In regard to a tumor, having the properties of a malignancy that can invade and destroy nearby tissue and that may spread (metastasize) to o ther parts of the body. See the entire definition of Malignant Marker: A piece of DNA that lies on a chromosome so close to a gene that the mar ker and the gene are inherited together. A marker is thus an identifiable herita ble spot on a chromosome. A marker can be an expressed region of DNA (a gene) or a segment of DNA with no known coding function. All that matters is that the ma rker can be detected and trailed. See the entire definition of Marker Metabolic: Relating to metabolism, the whole range of biochemical processes that occur within us (or any living organism). Metabolism consists of anabolism (the buildup of substances) and catabolism (the breakdown of substances). See the entire definition of Metabolic Metabolic syndrome: A constellation of conditions that place people at high risk for coronary artery disease. These conditions include type 2 diabetes, obesity, high blood pressure, and a poor lipid profile with elevated LDL ("bad") cholest erol, low HDL ("good") cholesterol, elevated triglycerides. All of these conditi ons are associated with high blood insulin levels. The fundamental defect in the metabolic syndrome is insulin resistance in both adipose tissue and muscle. Dru gs that decrease insulin resistance also usually lower blood pressure and improv e the lipid profile. See the entire definition of Metabolic syndrome MRI: Magnetic resonance imaging. Multifactorial: In medicine, referring to multiple factors in heredity or diseas e. For example, traits and conditions that are caused by more than one gene occu rring together are multifactorial, and diseases that are caused by more than one factor interacting (for example, heredity and diet in diabetes) are multifactor ial. Muscle: Muscle is the tissue of the body which primarily functions as a source o f power. There are three types of muscle in the body. Muscle which is responsibl e for moving extremities and external areas of the body is called "skeletal musc le." Heart muscle is called "cardiac muscle." Muscle that is in the walls of art eries and bowel is called "smooth muscle." Muscular: Having to do with the muscles. Also, endowed with above average muscle development. Muscular system refers to all of the muscles of the body collectiv ely. Myocardial infarction: A heart attack. Abbreviated MI. See the entire definition of Myocardial infarction National Academies: Collectively, the four National Academies of the United Stat es -- the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, the Institute of Medicine, and the National Research Council. See the entire definition of National Academies Nausea: Stomach queasiness, the urge to vomit. Nausea can be brought on by many causes, including systemic illnesses (such as influenza), medications, pain, and inner ear disease. Nutrition: 1) The science or practice of taking in and utilizing foods. 2) A nou rishing substance, such as nutritional solutions delivered to hospitalized patie nts via an IV or IG tube.

Obese: Well above ones normal weight. A person has traditionally been considered to be obese if they are more than 20 percent over their ideal weight. That idea l weight must take into account the person's height, age, sex, and build. See the entire definition of Obese Obesity: The state of being well above one's normal weight. See the entire definition of Obesity Obstetrician: A physician who specializes in obstetrics. Onset: In medicine, the first appearance of the signs or symptoms of an illness as, for example, the onset of rheumatoid arthritis. There is always an onset to a disease but never to the return to good health. The default setting is good he alth. See the entire definition of Onset Organ: A relatively independent part of the body that carries out one or more sp ecial functions. Examples of organs include the eyes, ears, heart, lungs, and li ver. Palpitations: Unpleasant sensations of irregular and/or forceful beating of the heart. In some patients with palpitations, no heart disease or abnormal heart rh ythms can be found. In others, palpitations result from abnormal heart rhythms ( arrhythmias). Peripheral: Situated away from the center, as opposed to centrally located. See the entire definition of Peripheral Perspiration: 1) The secretion of fluid by the sweat (sudoriferous) glands. Thes e small, tubular glands are situated within the skin, as well as in the subcutan eous tissue under it. They discharge their fluid through tiny openings in the su rface of the skin. Perspiration serves at least two purposes: the removal of was te products such as urea and ammonia, and cooling of the body temperature as swe at evaporates. 2) The transparent, colorless, acidic fluid secreted by the sweat glands. It contains some fatty acids and mineral matter. Adult perspiration gai ns its characteristic odor from the waste products excreted. Also known as sweat . Pharmacy: A location where prescription medications are sold. A pharmacy is cons tantly supervised by a licensed pharmacist. Potassium: The major positive ion (cation) found inside cells. The chemical nota tion for potassium is K+. The proper level of potassium is essential for normal cell function. An abnormal increase in potassium (hyperkalemia) or decrease in p otassium (hypokalemia) can profoundly affect the nervous system and heart, and w hen extreme, can be fatal. The normal blood potassium level is 3.5-5.0 milliEqui valents/liter (mEq/L), or 3.5 international units. Precursor: Forerunner. That which precedes or is derived from an available sourc e. See the entire definition of Precursor Preeclampsia: A condition in pregnancy characterized by abrupt hypertension (a s harp rise in blood pressure), albuminuria (leakage of large amounts of the prote in albumin into the urine) and edema (swelling) of the hands, feet, and face. Pr eeclampsia is the most common complication of pregnancy. It affects about 5% of pregnancies. It occurs in the third trimester (the last third) of pregnancy. See the entire definition of Preeclampsia Pregnancy: The state of carrying a developing embryo or fetus within the female body. This condition can be indicated by positive results on an over-the-counter urine test, and confirmed through a blood test, ultrasound, detection of fetal heartbeat, or an X-ray. Pregnancy lasts for about nine months, measured from the date of the woman's last menstrual period (LMP). It is conventionally divided i nto three trimesters, each roughly three months long. See the entire definition of Pregnancy Pregnant: The state of carrying a developing fetus within the body. See the entire definition of Pregnant Protein: One of the three nutrients used as energy sources (calories) by the bod y. Proteins are essential components of the muscle, skin, and bones. Proteins an d carbohydrates each provide 4 calories of energy per gram, whereas fats provide 9 calories per gram.

Proteins: Large molecules composed of one or more chains of amino acids in a spe cific order determined by the base sequence of nucleotides in the DNA coding for the protein. See the entire definition of Proteins Proteinuria: Excess protein in the urine. Some protein is normal in the urine. T oo much means protein is leaking through the kidney, most often through the glom eruli. The main protein in human blood and the key to the regulation of the osmo tic pressure of blood is albumin. Proteinuria is synonymous with albuminuria. Public health: The approach to medicine that is concerned with the health of the community as a whole. Public health is community health. It has been said that: "Health care is vital to all of us some of the time, but public health is vital to all of us all of the time." See the entire definition of Public health Pulse: The rhythmic dilation of an artery that results from beating of the heart . Pulse is often measured by feeling the arteries of the wrist or neck. Radioactive: Emitting energy waves due to decaying atomic nuclei. Radioactive su bstances are used in medicine as tracers for diagnosis and in treatment to kill cancerous cells. Recurrent: Appearing or occurring again. For example, a recurrent fever is a fev er that has returned after an intermission, a recrudescent fever. Renal: Having to do with the kidney. For example, renal cancer is cancer of the kidneys. Renal artery stenosis: Narrowing of the major artery to the kidney that can lead to seriously elevated blood pressure. Common causes of renal artery stenosis in clude atherosclerosis and thickening of the muscular wall (fibromuscular dysplas ia) of the renal artery. Resistance: Opposition to something, or the ability to withstand something. For example, some forms of the staphylococcus bacterium are resistant to treatment w ith antibiotics. Retina: The retina is the nerve layer that lines the back of the eye, senses lig ht, and creates impulses that travel through the optic nerve to the brain. There is a small area, called the macula, in the retina that contains special light-s ensitive cells. The macula allows us to see fine details clearly. See the entire definition of Retina Risk factor: Something that increases a person's chances of developing a disease . For example, cigarette smoking is a risk factor for lung cancer, and obesity i s a risk factor for heart disease. Shortness of breath: Difficulty in breathing. Medically referred to as dyspnea. Shortness of breath can be caused by respiratory (breathing passages and lungs) or circulatory (heart and blood vessels) conditions. See also dyspnea. Sphygmomanometer: An instrument for measuring blood pressure, particularly in ar teries. The two types of sphygmomanometers are a mercury column and a gauge with a dial face. The sphygmomanometer in most frequent use today consists of a gaug e attached to a rubber cuff which is wrapped around the upper arm and is inflate d to constrict the arteries. See the entire definition of Sphygmomanometer Stenosis: A narrowing. For example, aortic stenosis is a narrowing of the aortic valve in the heart. Stent: A tube designed to be inserted into a vessel or passageway to keep it ope n. Stents are inserted into narrowed coronary arteries to help keep them open af ter balloon angioplasty. The stent then allows the normal flow of blood and oxyg en to the heart. Stents placed in narrowed carotid arteries (the vessels in the front of the neck that supply blood to the brain) appear useful in treating pati ents at elevated risk for stroke. Stents are also used in other structures such as the esophagus to treat a constriction, the ureters to maintain the drainage o f urine from the kidneys, and the bile duct to keep it open. Stethoscope: An instrument that is used to transmit low-volume sounds such as a heartbeat (or intestinal, venous, or fetal sounds) to the ear of the listener. A stethoscope may consist of two ear pieces connected by means of flexible tubing

to a diaphragm that is placed against the skin of the patient. The stethoscope has become one of the symbols of the medical profession. The origins of the stet hoscope can be traced back to the French physician La'nnec, who in 1819 invented a crude model that consisted of a wooden box that served to help physicians hea r the sounds within the chest cavity. It has undergone many modifications since then. Stress: Forces from the outside world impinging on the individual. Stress is a n ormal part of life that can help us learn and grow. Conversely, stress can cause us significant problems. See the entire definition of Stress Stroke: The sudden death of brain cells due to lack of oxygen, caused by blockag e of blood flow or rupture of an artery to the brain. Sudden loss of speech, wea kness, or paralysis of one side of the body can be symptoms. A suspected stroke can be confirmed by scanning the brain with special X-ray tests, such as CAT sca ns. The death rate and level of disability resulting from strokes can be dramati cally reduced by immediate and appropriate medical care. Prevention involves min imizing risk factors, such as controlling high blood pressure and diabetes. Abbr eviated CVA. Also known as cerebrovascular accident. Surgery: The branch of medicine that employs operations in the treatment of dise ase or injury. Surgery can involve cutting, abrading, suturing, or otherwise phy sically changing body tissues and organs. Sweating: The act of secreting fluid from the skin by the sweat (sudoriferous) g lands. These are small tubular glands situated within and under the skin (in the subcutaneous tissue). They discharge by tiny openings in the surface of the ski n. See the entire definition of Sweating Syndrome: A combination of symptoms and signs that together represent a disease process. Systolic: The blood pressure when the heart is contracting. It is specifically t he maximum arterial pressure during contraction of the left ventricle of the hea rt. The time at which ventricular contraction occurs is called systole. See the entire definition of Systolic Tension: 1) The pressure within a vessel, such as blood pressure: the pressure w ithin the blood vessels. For example, elevated blood pressure is referred to as hypertension. 2) Stress, especially stress that is translated into clenched scal p muscles and bottled-up emotions or anxiety. This is the type of tension blamed for tension headaches. Therapy: The treatment of disease. Therapy is synonymous with treatment. Toxemia: A condition in pregnancy, also known as pre-eclampsia (or preeclampsia) characterized by abrupt hypertension (a sharp rise in blood pressure), albuminu ria (leakage of large amounts of the protein albumin into the urine) and edema ( swelling) of the hands, feet, and face. Pre-eclampsia is the most common complic ation of pregnancy. It affects about 5% of pregnancies. It occurs in the third t rimester (the last third) of pregnancy. See the entire definition of Toxemia Tumor: An abnormal mass of tissue. Tumors are a classic sign of inflammation, an d can be benign or malignant (cancerous). There are dozens of different types of tumors. Their names usually reflect the kind of tissue they arise in, and may a lso tell you something about their shape or how they grow. For example, a medull oblastoma is a tumor that arises from embryonic cells (a blastoma) in the inner part of the brain (the medulla). Diagnosis depends on the type and location of t he tumor. Tumor marker tests and imaging may be used; some tumors can be seen (f or example, tumors on the exterior of the skin) or felt (palpated with the hands ). See the entire definition of Tumor