of Health Terms
Taken from various resources on the Internet,
e.g. Wikipedia, an open source encyclopedia, Mayo Clinic and Mereck.
Advanced healthcare directives
: A document that describes your wishes and goals for
healthcare if you become unable to express them yourself.
Age-related macular degeneration:
A deterioration of the macula, the portion of the retina
responsible for sharp, central vision; there is a dry form and the
less common but more serious wet form.
antioxidant: A substance
that inhibits oxidation.
Adrenal glands are triangle-shaped
glands located on top of the kidneys. They produce hormones such
as estrogen, progesterone, steroids, cortisol, and cortisone, and
chemicals such as adrenalin ( epinephrine )and norepinephrine.
referred to as the "flight or fright" hormone) increases
when you are angry or stressed. High levels of adrenaline and similar
stress hormones raise your blood pressure and cholesterol, both
of which are risk factors for heart disease
An antioxidant is a molecule
capable of slowing or preventing the oxidation
of other molecules. Oxidation is a chemical
reaction that transfers electrons
from a substance to an oxidizing
agent . Oxidation reactions can produce free
radicals , which start chain
reactions that damage cells
. Antioxidants terminate these chain reactions by removing free
radical intermediates, and inhibit other oxidation reactions by
being oxidized themselves. As a result, antioxidants are often reducing
agents such as thiols
Although oxidation reactions are crucial
for life, they can also be damaging; hence, plants
maintain complex systems of multiple types of antioxidants, such
, vitamin C
, and vitamin
E as well as enzymes
such as catalase
dismutase and various peroxidases
. Low levels of antioxidants, or inhibition
of the antioxidant enzymes, causes oxidative
stress and may damage or kill cells.
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Breathing , using your
There are three main kinds of breathing:–
- Chest Breathing
- Belly Breathing (unsupported diaphragm)
- Diaphragmatic Breathing (properly supported)
Practice Diaphragm Supported Breathing
- Lie down comfortably on your back on your bed or on a mat or
carpeted floor. Position yourself with your feet flat on the floor
and your knees bent (pointing upward). Simply follow your breathing
for a minute or two with your attention. See if you can sense
which parts of your body your breath touches.
- Continue to follow your breathing as you rub your hands together
until they are very warm.
- Put your hands (one on top of the other) on your belly, with
the center of your lower hand touching your navel. Watch how your
- You may notice that your belly wants to expand as you inhale
and retract as you exhale. Let this happen, but don't try to force
- If your belly seems tight, rub your hands together again until
they are warm and then massage your belly, especially right around
the outside edge of your belly button. Notice how your belly begins
to soften and relax.
- Now rub your hands together again until they are warm and put
them on your belly again. Watch how this influences your breath.
Do not try to do anything. Simply watch and enjoy as your belly
begins to come to life, expanding as you inhale and retracting
as you exhale.
- If your belly still seems overly tight and does not want to
move as you breathe, press down with your hands on your belly
as you exhale. Then as you inhale, gradually release the tension.
Try this several times. Notice how your belly begins to open more
- When you are ready to stop, be sure to sense your entire abdominal
area, noting any special sensations of warmth, comfort, and energy.
Spend a few minutes allowing these sensations to spread into all
the cells of your belly all the way back to your spine.
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cataract: A clouding or
fogging of the eye's crystalline lens.
cell senescence : The
end stage in the life of a cell during which replication ceases.
artery disease: Narrowing of the arteries that carry oxygen
and other nutrients to the heart muscle, most often caused by the
buildup of atherosclerotic plaque; the condition can cause angina
and heart attack.
Catabolism any destructive
metabolic process by which organisms convert substances into excreted
Chromosomes are organized
structures of DNA
that are found in cells
. Chromosomes contain a single continuous piece of DNA, which
contains many genes
elements and other nucleotide
sequences . Chromosomes also contain DNA-bound proteins, which
serve to package the DNA and control its functions. The word chromosome
comes from the Greek
?? ? ?? (chroma, color) and ? ? ?? (soma, body) due to their
property of being stained very strongly by some dyes
Collagen is a tough,
glue-like protein that represents 30% of body protein. It shapes
the structure of tendons, bones, and connective tissues.
Cushing's syndrome is
a condition that occurs when your body is exposed to high levels
of the hormone cortisol for a prolonged period of time. Sometimes
called hypercortisolism, Cushing's syndrome can occur when your
adrenal glands, located above your kidneys, make too much cortisol.
It may also develop if you're taking high doses of cortisol-like
medications (corticosteroids) for a prolonged period.
Too much cortisol can produce some of the
hallmark signs of Cushing's syndrome — a fatty hump between your
shoulders, a rounded face, and pink or purple stretch marks on your
skin. It can also result in high blood pressure, bone loss and,
on occasion, diabetes.
The most common cause of Cushing's syndrome
is the use of oral corticosteroid medication. By contrast, it's
rare for the cause to be excess cortisol production by your body.
The syndrome is named after Harvey Cushing, an American surgeon
who first identified the condition.
Treatments for Cushing's syndrome are designed
to return your body's cortisol production to normal. By normalizing
or even markedly lowering cortisol levels, you'll experience noticeable
improvements in your signs and symptoms. Left untreated, however,
Cushing's syndrome can eventually lead to death.
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Defecation is the act
or process by which organisms eliminate solid or semisolid waste
material ( feces
) from the digestive
tract via the anus
. Humans expel
feces with a frequency varying from a few times daily to a few times
can go a week without expelling. Waves of muscular
contraction known as peristalsis
in the walls of the colon
move fecal matter through the digestive tract towards the rectum
. Undigested food may also be expelled this way; this process
is called egestion.
Diabetes mellitus, commonly
referred to as diabetes, is a disorder in which the levels of sugar
(also called glucose) in the blood are elevated because of problems
related to insulin. Insulin is a hormone produced by the pancreas
that helps the body maintain appropriate blood sugar levels. Insulin
enables blood sugar to be transferred into cells.
Type 1 diabetes is also
known as insulin-dependent diabetes. This type of diabetes keeps
your body from using blood sugar (also called blood glucose) as
energy. As a result, your blood sugar gets too high.
Type 2 diabetes was once
called non-insulin-dependent diabetes. This type of diabetes makes
it hard for your body to use the insulin it makes. That means it
can't easily turn blood sugar (also called blood glucose) into energy.
As a result, your blood sugar can get too high.
Diaphragm or thoracic diaphragm
is a sheet of muscle
extending across the bottom of the ribcage
. The diaphragm separates the thoracic
cavity from the abdominal
cavity and performs an important function in respiration
. A diaphragm
in anatomy can refer to other flat structures such as the urogenital
diaphragm or pelvic
diaphragm , but "the diaphragm" generally refers to
the thoracic diaphragm. Other vertebrates such as amphibians
have diaphragms or diaphragm-like structures, but important
details of the anatomy vary, such as the position of lungs in the
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Endocrine system consists
of glands that produce hormones, which regulate processes throughout
your body. These glands include the adrenal glands, pituitary gland,
thyroid gland, parathyroid glands, pancreas, ovaries (in females)
and testicles (in men).
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free radical: An unstable
oxygen molecule that can damage tissue
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A disease of the eye characterized by increased intraocular pressure.
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High Blood Pressure ,
also known as hypertension, is abnormally high pressure in the arteries.
Having high blood pressure can contribute to stroke, heart disease,
heart attack, and kidney damage. Because high blood pressure usually
does not cause any symptoms, it is often referred to as "the
silent killer." As men age they are more likely than women
to develop symptoms of metabolic syndrome, including increased belly
size, high blood pressure, and cholesterol and blood sugar abnormalities;
and study findings also suggest that low male hormone levels may
predict an increased metabolic syndrome risk...
Homeostasis : The kidneys
must know when the body has too much fluid, so that they can produce
more dilute urine, and when the body is dehydrated, so that they
can conserve water. Through communication, the body keeps itself
in balance—a concept called homeostasis . Through homeostasis ,
organs neither underwork nor overwork, and each organ facilitates
the functions of every other organ.
Hypoglycemia is a condition
that occurs when your blood sugar (glucose) is too low. Alternative
Names: Insulin shock; Hypoglycemia is abnormally low levels of sugar
(glucose) in the blood. Normally, the body maintains the levels
of sugar in the blood within a range of about 70 to 110 milligrams
per deciliter (mg/dL) of blood.
high-density lipoprotein (HDL)
: A lipoprotein that protects the arteries by transporting
cholesterol from body cells to the liver for elimination; the so-called
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ischemia: An inadequate
flow of oxygenated blood to a part of the body, caused by a blockage
in the blood vessels. Ischemia can cause pain in the affected tissue.
Insulin i s a hormone
produced by the pancreas that helps the body maintain appropriate
blood sugar levels. Insulin enables blood sugar to be transferred
into cells. , where it can be used by the body for energy.
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lipoprotein (LDL) : A lipoprotein that transports cholesterol
from the liver to the rest of the body and can cause buildup of
plaques in the arteries; the so-called “bad” cholesterol.
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M etabolism. It regulates
the rate at which every part of your body works.
Fatty acids, abundant in olive, peanut, sesame, and canola oils,
in which one pair of hydrogen atoms in each molecule has been replaced
by a double bond.
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neuropeptide is any of
the variety of peptides
found in neural
tissue ; e.g. endorphins
. Now, about 100 different peptides are known to be released
by different populations of neurons in the mammalian brain.
Neurons use many different
chemical signals to communicate information, including neurotransmitters,
, and even some gases, like nitric
Nutraceutical , a portmanteau
, refers to extracts of foods claimed to have a medicinal effect
on human health. The nutraceutical is usually contained in a medicinal
format such as a capsule
or powder in a prescribed dose.
More rigorously, nutraceutical implies
that the extract or food is demonstrated to have a physiological
benefit or provide protection against a chronic disease 
foods are defined as being consumed as part of a usual diet
but are demonstrated to have physiological benefits and/or reduce
the risk of chronic disease beyond basic nutritional functions.
Examples of claims made for nutraceuticals
from red grape
products as an antioxidant
, soluble dietary
fiber products, such as psyllium
seed husk for reducing hypercholesterolemia
, broccoli ( sulforaphane
) as a cancer preventative, and soy or clover ( isoflavonoids
) to improve arterial health. Such claims are being researched
and many citations are available via PubMed
to ascertain their foundation of basic research.
However, among the above examples, only
the effect provided by psyllium as a fiber product has been sufficiently
documented in human clinical
trials to receive approval by the United States Food
and Drug Administration for health claim statements on product
Other nutraceutical examples are flavonoids
acid from flax
, etc. With the US Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act
(DSHEA), several other compounds were added to the list of supplements
originally mentioned in FDA notification. Thus, many botanical and
herbal extracts such as ginseng
oil, etc. have been developed as nutraceuticals.
Nutraceuticals are often used in nutrient
premixes or nutrient
systems in the food
Very few of these products, however, have
sufficient scientific evidence proving health benefits to consumers.
Consequently, few have FDA approval for making health claims on
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polyunsaturated fats :
Fatty acids, abundant in soybean, corn, cottonseed, safflower, and
sunflower oils, in which two or more pairs of hydrogen atoms in
each molecule have been replaced by double bonds.
proteomics : An emerging
field of science that focuses on the multitude of tasks assigned
to proteins churned out by our genes.
hearing loss, occurring in people over 40.
presbyopia: The natural
loss of the eye's ability to focus on close objects; noticeable
in a person's 40s, it can be corrected with reading glasses.
Peristalsis is the rhythmic
contraction of smooth muscles to propel contents through the digestive
tract. In much of the gastrointestinal
tract , smooth
muscles contract in sequence to produce a peristaltic wave
which forces a ball of food
(called a bolus
while in the esophagus
and gastrointestinal tract and chyme
in the stomach
) along the gastrointestinal tract. Peristaltic movement is
initiated by circular smooth muscles contracting behind the chewed
material to prevent it from moving back into the mouth, followed
by a contraction of longitudinal smooth muscles which pushes the
digested food forward.
pH is a measure of the
acidity or alkalinity
of a solution. Aqueous solutions at 25°C with a pH less than
seven are considered acidic, while those with a pH greater than
seven are considered basic (alkaline). When a pH level is 7.0, it
is defined as 'neutral' at 25°C because at this pH the concentration
of H 3 O +
equals the concentration of OH
? in pure water. pH is formally dependent upon the activity
ions (H 3 O
+ ), 
but for very dilute solutions, the molarity
of H 3 O + may be used as a substitute with little loss of
(H + is often used as a synonym for H 3 O + .) Because pH is
dependent on ionic activity, a property which cannot be measured
easily or fully predicted theoretically, it is difficult to determine
an accurate value for the pH of a solution. The pH reading of a
solution is usually obtained by comparing unknown solutions to those
of known pH, and there are several
ways to do so.
The term "phyto" originated from a Greek word
meaning plant. Phytonutrients are certain organic components of
plants, and these components are thought to promote human health.
Fruits, vegetables, grains, legumes, nuts and teas are rich sources
of phytonutrients. Unlike the traditional nutrients (protein, fat,
vitamins, minerals), phytonutrients are not "essential"
for life, so some people prefer the term "phytochemical".
Some of the common classes of phytonutrients include Carotenoids,
Flavonoids (Polyphenols) including Isoflavones (Phytoestrogens),
Inositol Phosphates (Phytates), Lignans (Phytoestrogens), etc.
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Rapid eye movement (REM) sleep
is the normal stage of sleep
characterized by rapid movements
of the eyes . REM sleep is classified into two categories: tonic
and phasic. 
It was discovered by Nathaniel
Kleitman and Eugene
Aserinsky in the early 1950s. Their seminal article was published
1953 - 09-04
Criteria for REM sleep include not only rapid eye movements,
but also low muscle tone and a rapid, low voltage EEG -- these features
are easily discernible in a polysomnogram
, the sleep study typically done for patients with suspected
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saturated fats: Fatty
acids, abundant in red meat, lard, butter, hard cheeses, and some
vegetable oils (particularly the tropical varieties, for example,
palm, coconut, and cocoa butter and partially hydrogenated oils)
in which each molecule carries the maximum number of hydrogen atoms.
The shiitake is an edible
mushroom native to East
Asia . Two Chinese variant names for high grades of shiitake
are donggu (winter mushroom) and flower mushroom, which has a flower-like
cracking pattern on the mushroom's upper surface); both are produced
at colder temperatures. Other names by which the mushroom is known
in English include Chinese black mushroom and black forest mushroom.
All carbohydrates, whether sugars or starches, are digested
in the intestine to form glucose, which is transported around the
body via the blood and taken into cells to be converted into energy.
The hormone insulin, secreted by the pancreas gland within the abdomen,
controls this action of cell glucose uptake. Excess glucose is converted
into glycogen, which is stored in the liver or in fat around the
body. If the body needs more energy, a second hormone, glucagon,
is secreted by the pancreas which converts the glycogen back into
glucose. It is then released back into the bloodstream so that with
the help of the insulin, the cells can take up the glucose to release
the energy they need.
The glucose or sugar metabolism of the
body is a cycle of glucose, insulin and glucagon reactions. The
slower the release of glucose and hormones, the more stable and
sustainable the energy levels of the body. It is generally accepted
that the more refined the carbohydrate, the faster the glucose will
be released into the blood, resulting in less stable energy levels
in the body. Complex carbohydrates provide a slower and more sustained
release of energy than the simple carbohydrates.
Sugar like lactose (milk sugar) or sucrose
(table sugar, fruit sugar) is turned into single sugar/glucose by
different enzymes. Undigested sugar may result into watery motion
(sugar attract water) so it is depleting water from your body and
increases acid (bacteria uses sugar and develop acid). Alkaline
food is good (see FOOD).
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trans fats : Processed
fats that are solid at room temperature and include partially hydrogenated
or hydrogenated vegetable oils and shortening. Often used in commercial
triglyceride : The primary
type of fat in the body and in the diet, formed from three fatty-acid
molecules and one glycerol molecule.
The Thyroid is one of the largest endocrine
glands in the body. This gland is found in the neck
inferior to (below) the mouth
and at approximately the same level as the cricoid
cartilage . The thyroid controls how quickly the body burns
energy , makes
proteins , and
how sensitive the body should be to other hormones
The thyroid participates in these processes
by producing thyroid hormones, principally thyroxine
(T 4 ) and triiodothyronine
(T 3 ). These hormones regulate the rate of metabolism
and affect the growth and rate of function of many other systems
in the body. Iodine
is an essential component of both T 3 and T 4 . The thyroid
also produces the hormone calcitonin
, which plays a role in calcium
The thyroid is controlled by the hypothalamus
. The gland gets its name from the Greek word for "shield",
after its shape, a double-lobed structure. Hyperthyroidism
(overactive thyroid) and hypothyroidism
(underactive thyroid) are the most common problems of the thyroid
gland. Specialists are called thyroidologists
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