Checkup Glossary of Terms

The following are health and medical definitions of terms that appear in the Checkup article.

Abnormal: Outside the expected norm, or uncharacteristic of a particular patient.

Advance directives: These directives pertain to treatment preferences and the designation ...

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American Medical Association: The AMA. The AMA's mission statement proclaims:

Anxiety: A feeling of apprehension and fear, characterized by physical symptoms such as pa...

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Aspirin: Once the Bayer trademark for acetylsalicylic acid, now the common name for this a...

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Blood pressure: The blood pressure is the pressure of the blood within the arteries. It is...

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Bowel: The small and large intestine.

Cancer: An abnormal growth of cells which tend to proliferate in an uncontrolled way and, ...

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Cervical: Having to do with any kind of neck, including the neck on which the head is perc...

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Cervical cancer: Cancer of the entrance to the womb (uterus). The cervix is the lower, na...

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Chickenpox: A highly infectious viral disease also known medically as varicella -- in many...

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Cholesterol: The most common type of steroid in the body. Cholesterol has a reputation for...

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Chronic: In medicine, lasting a long time. A chronic condition is one that lasts 3 months ...

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Colon: The long, coiled, tubelike organ that removes water from digested food. The remaini...

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Colon cancer: A malignant tumor arising from the inner wall of the large intestine (the co...

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Department of Health and Human Services: The United States government's principal agency f...

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Diabetes: Usually refers to diabetes mellitus or, less often, to diabetes insipidus. Diabe...

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Diagnosis: 1 The nature of a disease; the identification of an illness. 2 A ...

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Diphtheria: An acute infectious upper respiratory tract disease that affects the throat. I...

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ECG: Electrocardiogram.

Family history: The family structure and relationships within the family, including inform...

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Flu: Flu is a colloquialism for influenza. The flu is an acute respiratory illness caused ...

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Folic acid: One of the B vitamins that is a key factor in the synthesis (the making) of nu...

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Health and Human Services: The United States government's principal agency for "protecting...

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Heart: The muscle that pumps blood received from veins into arteries throughout the body. ...

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Heart attack: The death of heart muscle due to the loss of blood supply. The loss of bloo...

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Heart disease: Any disorder that affects the heart. Sometimes the term "heart disease" is ...

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Hemoglobin: The oxygen-carrying pigment and predominant protein in the red blood cells. He...

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Hepatitis: Inflammation of the liver, irrespective of the cause. Hepatitis is caused by a ...

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Hepatitis A: Inflammation of the liver caused by the hepatitis A virus (HAV). HAV is usual...

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Hepatitis B: Inflammation of the liver due to the hepatitis B virus (HBV), once thought to...

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Hormone: A chemical substance produced in the body that controls and regulates the activit...

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Immunization: Vaccination. Immunizations work by stimulating the immune system, the natur...

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Incidence: The frequency with which something, such as a disease or trait, appears in a pa...

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Infection: The invasion and multiplication of microorganisms such as bacteria, viruses, an...

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Influenza: Influenza is an acute respiratory illness caused by influenza A or B viruses Mo...

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Laboratory: A place for doing tests and research procedures, and for preparing chemicals a...

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Lyme disease: An inflammatory disease that is caused by the bacterium Borrelia burgdorferi...

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Mammogram: An X-ray of the breast that is taken with a device that compresses and flattens...

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Measles: An acute and highly contagious viral disease characterized by fever, runny nose,...

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Medical history: 1. In clinical medicine, the patient's past and present which may ...

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Nutrition: 1: The process of taking in food and using it for growth, metabolism, and repai...

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Ovarian: Of or pertaining to the ovary.

Ovarian cancer: A malignant tumor of the ovary, the egg sac in a female. Women who have a ...

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Pap Smear: A screening test for cervical cancer based on the examination of cells under th...

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Pap test: A screening test for cervical cancer that involves the microscopic examination o...

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Postmenopausal: After menopause, the period of time after a woman has experienced 12 conse...

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Pregnancy: The state of carrying a developing embryo or fetus within the female body. Thi...

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Prenatal: Occurring or existing before birth.

Prescription: A physician's order for the preparation and administration of a drug or dev...

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Prescription drug: A drug requiring a prescription, as opposed to an over-the-counter drug...

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Prevalence: The proportion of individuals in a population having a disease or characterist...

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Prostate: A gland within the male reproductive system that is located just below the blad...

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Prostate cancer: A malignant tumor of the prostate, the gland that produces some of the co...

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Rubella vaccine: A vaccine designed to prevent rubella, or German measles.

Safe sex: Sexual practices that do not involve the exchange of bodily fluids, including bl...

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Seat belt: A belt used to hold an individual in their seat.

Sexually transmitted disease: Any disease transmitted by sexual contact; caused by microor...

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Tetanus: An often fatal infectious disease that is caused by the bacterium Clostridium tet...

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Therapy: The treatment of disease. Therapy is synonymous with treatment.

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Tobacco: A South American herb (Nicotiana tabacum) whose leaves contain 2 to 8 percent nic...

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Urinalysis: A test that is done in order to analyze urine. Because toxins and excess fluid...

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Vaccines: Microbial preparations of killed or modified microorganisms that can stimulate a...

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Medical Dictionary