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7 Steps To Dental Health:
A Holistic Guide for
Your Mouth & Body

Book Guides

Glossary of Health Terms

Taken from various resources on the Internet, e.g. Wikipedia, an open source encyclopedia, Mayo Clinic and Mereck.


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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.

Adrenaline (sometimes 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 or polyphenols .

Although oxidation reactions are crucial for life, they can also be damaging; hence, plants and animals maintain complex systems of multiple types of antioxidants, such as glutathione , vitamin C , and vitamin E as well as enzymes such as catalase , superoxide 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 belly, diaphragm:

There are three main kinds of breathing:–

  • Chest Breathing
  • Belly Breathing (unsupported diaphragm)
  • Diaphragmatic Breathing (properly supported)

Practice Diaphragm Supported Breathing

  1. 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.
  2. Continue to follow your breathing as you rub your hands together until they are very warm.
  3. 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 breathing responds.
  4. 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 it.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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 on inhalation.
  8. 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.

coronary 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 compounds.

Chromosomes are organized structures of DNA and proteins that are found in cells . Chromosomes contain a single continuous piece of DNA, which contains many genes , regulatory 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 weekly; sloths 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 and reptiles have diaphragms or diaphragm-like structures, but important details of the anatomy vary, such as the position of lungs in the abdominal cavity.

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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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glaucoma: 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 “good” cholesterol.

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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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low-density 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.

monounsaturated fats: 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 , enkephalins . 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, peptides, cannabinoids , and even some gases, like nitric oxide .

Nutraceutical , a portmanteau of nutrition and pharmaceutical , 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 , tablet 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 [1] .

Functional 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 are resveratrol 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 labels.

Other nutraceutical examples are flavonoids antioxidants, alpha-linolenic acid from flax seeds, beta-carotene from marigold petals, anthocyanins from berries , 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 , garlic oil, etc. have been developed as nutraceuticals.

Nutraceuticals are often used in nutrient premixes or nutrient systems in the food and pharmaceutical industries .

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 product labels.

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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.

presbycusis: Age-related 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 of hydronium ions (H 3 O + ), [1] but for very dilute solutions, the molarity of H 3 O + may be used as a substitute with little loss of accuracy. [2] (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. [1] It was discovered by Nathaniel Kleitman and Eugene Aserinsky in the early 1950s. Their seminal article was published 1953 - 09-04 . [2] 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 sleep disorders.

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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 baked goods.

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 homeostasis .

The thyroid is controlled by the hypothalamus and pituitary . 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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