Kidney Disease Glossary of Terms

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

Abdomen: The belly, that part of the body that contains all of the structures between the...

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Abdominal: Relating to the abdomen, the belly, that part of the body that contains all of ...

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Abdominal cavity: The cavity within the abdomen, the space between the abdominal wall and...

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

Absorption: Uptake. For example, intestinal absorption is the uptake of food (or other sub...

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Acetaminophen: A nonaspirin pain reliever or analgesic. Acetaminophen may be given alone t...

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Acetate: A molecular ion derived from acetic acid. The formula of acetate is CH3COO-.

Acid-base balance: Acid-base balance refers to the mechanisms the body uses to keep its fl...

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Acidosis: Too much acid in the body, a distinctly abnormal condition resulting from the ac...

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Acute: Of abrupt onset, in reference to a disease. Acute often also connotes an illness th...

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Acute kidney failure: See: Acute renal failure.

Aging: The process of becoming older, a process that is genetically determined and environ...

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Albumin: The main protein in human blood and the key to regulating the osmotic pressure of...

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Aldosterone: A hormone produced by the outer portion (cortex) of the adrenal gland. Aldost...

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Aluminum: A naturally occurring element that makes up about 8% of the surface of the earth...

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Ambulatory: Able to walk about, not bedridden or immobile.

Amyloidosis: A group of diseases that result from the abnormal deposition of a protein, ca...

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Analgesic: A drug that relieves pain.

Analysis: In psychology, a term for conversation-based therapeutic processes used to gain ...

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Anatomy: The study of human or animal form, by observation or examination of the living be...

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Anemia: The condition of having a lower-than-normal number of red blood cells or quantity ...

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Anemic: Relating to anemia, the condition of having less than the normal number of red blo...

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Anesthesia: Loss of feeling or awareness, as when an anesthetic is administered before sur...

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Angioedema: Like hives but affects deeper skin layer.

Angiotensin: A family of peptides that constrict blood vessels. Narrowing the diameter of ...

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Angiotensin converting enzyme: Usually abbreviated ACE.

Artery: A vessel that carries blood high in oxygen content away from the heart to the far...

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

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Atherosclerosis: A process of progressive thickening and hardening of the walls of medium-...

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Back pain: Pain felt in the low or upper back. Causes of pain in the low and upper back in...

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Bicarbonate: In medicine, bicarbonate usually refers to bicarbonate of soda (sodium bicarb...

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Biopsy: The removal of a sample of tissue for examination under a microscope to check for ...

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Bladder: A hollow organ in the lower abdomen that stores urine. The kidneys filter waste f...

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Blood clots: Blood that has been converted from a liquid to a solid state. Also called a t...

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Blood glucose: The main sugar that the body makes from the food in the diet. Glucose is ca...

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

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Blood urea nitrogen: A measure of the urea level in blood. Abbreviated BUN. Diseases that ...

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Bone marrow: The soft blood-forming tissue that fills the cavities of bones and contains f...

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Bowel: The small and large intestine.

Breathing: The process of respiration, during which air is inhaled into the lungs through ...

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Calcitriol: The active form of vitamin D. Calcitriol is formed in the kidneys or made in t...

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Calcium: A mineral found mainly in the hard part of bones, where it is stored. Calcium is ...

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

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CAPD: Central auditory processing disorder.

Capillaries: Capillaries are the smallest of blood vessels. They serve to distribute oxyge...

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Capillary: A tiny blood vessel that connects an arteriole (the smallest division of an art...

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Capsule: Capsule has many meanings in medicine including the following:

  1. In medici...

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Cardiovascular: Relating to the circulatory system, which comprises the heart and blood ve...

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Cardiovascular disease: Disease affecting the heart or blood vessels.

Catheter: A thin, flexible tube.

Cell: The basic structural and functional unit of any living thing. Each cell is a small c...

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Central venous catheter: See: Catheter, central venous.

Chest: The area of the body located between the neck and the abdomen. The chest contains t...

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Chest pain: Pain in the chest that can be a result of many things, including angina, heart...

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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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Chronic kidney failure: See: Chronic renal failure.

Chronic renal failure: Now more commonly classified as chronic kidney disease and is liste...

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Circulation: In medicine, the movement of fluid through the body in a regular or circuitou...

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Complication: In medicine, an unanticipated problem that arises following, and is a result...

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Constipation: Infrequent and frequently incomplete bowel movements. Constipation is the op...

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Cough: A rapid expulsion of air from the lungs, typically in order to clear the lung airwa...

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Creatinine: A chemical waste molecule that is generated from muscle metabolism. Creatinine...

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Cure: 1. To heal, to make well, to restore to good health. 2. A time withou...

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Cysts: Cysts are abnormal, closed sac-like structures within a tissue that contain a liqui...

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Dehydration: Excessive loss of body water. Diseases of the gastrointestinal tract that ca...

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Diabetes: Refers to diabetes mellitus or, less often, to diabetes insipidus. Diabetes mell...

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Diabetes mellitus: Better known just as "diabetes" -- a chronic disease associated with ab...

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Diabetic nephropathy: Kidney disease from long-standing diabetes. Diabetes affects the tin...

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

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Dialysis: The process of cleansing the blood by passing it through a special machine. Dial...

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Dialysis machine: A machine used in dialysis that filters a patient's blood to remove exce...

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Diarrhea: A common condition that involves unusually frequent and liquid bowel movements. ...

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Dizziness: Painless head discomfort with many possible causes including disturbances of ...

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Donor: The giver of a tissue or an organ, such as a blood donor or kidney donor.

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Dysfunction: Difficult function or abnormal function.

Dyspepsia: Indigestion. A condition characterized by upper abdominal symptoms that may inc...

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Dysplasia: Abnormality in form or development. For example, retinal dysplasia is abnormal ...

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Edema: The swelling of soft tissues as a result of excess fluid accumulation. Edema is oft...

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EGFR: Epidermal growth factor receptor. A protein found on the surface of cells to which e...

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Electrolyte: A substance that dissociates into ions in solution and acquires the capacity ...

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Emergency department: The department of a hospital responsible for the provision of medica...

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Encephalopathy: Disease, damage, or malfunction of the brain. In general, encephalopathy i...

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End-stage renal disease: ESRD. Chronic irreversible renal failure. Also known as Chronic...

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Enzyme: A protein (or protein-based molecule) that speeds up a chemical reaction in a livi...

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Erectile dysfunction: A consistent inability to sustain an erection sufficient for sexual ...

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Essential: In medicine, of unknown cause, as in essential hypertension (high blood pressur...

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

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Fatigue: A condition characterized by a lessened capacity for work and reduced efficiency ...

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Fatty acids: Molecules that are long chains of lipid-carboxylic acid found in fats and oil...

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Fecal: Relating to the feces, the stool. The excrement discharged from the intestines.

Fiber: The parts of fruits and vegetables that cannot be digested. Fiber is of vital impor...

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Fistula: An abnormal passageway in the body. The fistula may go from the body surface int...

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Gastrointestinal: Adjective referring collectively to the stomach and small and large inte...

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Glomerular: Pertaining to the glomerulus, a tiny structure in the kidney that filters the ...

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Glomeruli: The plural of glomerulus.

Glomerulus: 1.In the kidney, a tiny ball-shaped structure composed of capillary blo...

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Glucose: The simple sugar that is the chief source of energy. Glucose is found in the bloo...

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Graft: Healthy skin, bone, kidney, liver, or other tissue that is taken from one part of t...

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Groin: The area where the thigh meets the hip.

Headache: A pain in the head with the pain being above the eyes or the ears, behind the he...

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

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

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Hemodialysis: A medical procedure that uses a special machine (a dialysis machine) to fil...

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

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Herbal: 1. An adjective, referring to herbs, as in an herbal tea.
2. A...

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Heroin: Semisynthetic drug derived from morphine. Discovered in 1874, it was introduced co...

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High blood pressure: A repeatedly elevated blood pressure exceeding 140 over 90 mmHg. Chro...

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HIV: Acronym for the Human Immunodeficiency Virus, the cause of AIDS (acquired immunodefi...

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

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Hypercalcemia: A higher-than-normal level of calcium in the blood. Hypercalcemia can be a ...

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Hyperkalemia: Elevated potassium in the blood. Hyperkalemia can be caused by taking excess...

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Hyperparathyroidism: Too much parathyroid hormone resulting in abnormally high levels of ...

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Hypertension: High blood pressure, defined as a repeatedly elevated blood pressure exceedi...

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Hypotension: Any blood pressure that is below the normal expected for an individual in a ...

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Ibuprofen: A nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) that is commonly used to treat pa...

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Immune: Protected against infection, usually by the presence of antibodies.

Immune system: A complex system that is responsible for distinguishing a person from every...

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Immunosuppressant: An agent that can suppress or prevent the immune response. Immunosuppre...

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Implantation: The act of setting in firmly.

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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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Inflammation: A localized reaction that produces redness, warmth, swelling, and pain as a ...

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Injury: Harm or hurt. To harm, hurt, or wound. The word injure may be in physical or emot...

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Insomnia: The perception or complaint of inadequate or poor-quality sleep due to a number ...

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Iron: An essential mineral. Iron is necessary for the transport of oxygen (via hemoglobin ...

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Itching: An uncomfortable sensation in the skin that feels as if something is crawling on ...

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Joint: The area where two bones are attached for the purpose of permitting body parts to m...

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Kidney: One of a pair of organs located in the right and left side of the abdomen. The kid...

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Kidney transplant: Replacement of a diseased, damaged, or missing kidney with a donor ki...

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

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Lightheadedness: A feeling you are "going to faint." Lightheadedness is medically distinc...

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Liver: The largest solid organ in the body, situated in the upper part of the abdomen on t...

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Liver disease: Liver disease refers to any disorder of the liver. The liver is a large org...

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Low blood pressure: Any blood pressure that is below the normal expected for an individua...

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Lungs: The lungs are a pair of breathing organs located with the chest which remove carbon...

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Lupus: A chronic inflammatory disease that is caused by autoimmunity. Patients with lupus ...

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Magnesia: Named after a town in present day Turkey where an ore containing magnesium carbo...

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Magnesium: A mineral involved in many processes in the body including nerve signaling, the...

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Marrow: The bone marrow.

Membrane: A very thin layer of tissue that covers a 'surface.

Metabolic: Relating to metabolism, the whole range of biochemical processes that occur wit...

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Microscope: An optical instrument that augments the power of the eye to see small objects....

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Microscopic: So small it cannot be seen without the aid of microscope. As opposed to macro...

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Muscle: Muscle is the tissue of the body which primarily functions as a source of power. T...

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Myalgia: Pain in the muscles or within muscle 'tissue.

Nausea: Stomach queasiness, the urge to vomit. Nausea can be brought on by many causes, in...

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Neck: The part of the body joining the head to the shoulders. Also, any narrow or constric...

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Nephritis: Inflammation of the kidney, which causes impaired kidney function. Nephritis ca...

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Nephron: A key unit of the kidney, a tiny funnel-like structure that filters wastes as the...

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Nephropathy: Any kidney disease.

Neuropathy: Any disease or malfunction of the nerves.

Nitrogen: Element number 7, a colorless, odorless, tasteless gas that is biologically impo...

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Nocturia: Excessive urinating at night. Nocturia can be normal and more common with aging....

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Nose: The external midline projection from the face. The purpose of the nose is to warm, c...

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Obstruction: Blockage of a passageway. See, for example: Airway obstruction; Intestinal o...

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Osteodystrophy: A bone disorder that adversely affects bone growth. See also renal osteod...

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Outpatient: A patient who is not hospitalized, but instead comes to a physician?s office, ...

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Ovarian: Of or pertaining to the ovary.

Pain: An unpleasant sensation that can range from mild, localized discomfort to agony. Pa...

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Parathyroid hormone: See Parathormone.

Paricalcitol: A man-made form of vitamin D. Brand name: Zemplar. In 1998 paricalcitol was ...

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Pericarditis: Inflammation of the lining around the heart (the pericardium) that causes ch...

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Peripheral: Situated away from the center, as opposed to centrally located.

Peritoneal: Having to do with the peritoneum.

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Peritoneal dialysis: A dialysis technique that uses the patient's own body tissues inside ...

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Peritoneum: The membrane that lines the abdominal cavity and covers most of the abdominal ...

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Phosphate: A form of phosphoric acid. Calcium phosphate makes bones and teeth hard.

Phosphorus: An essential element in the diet and a major component of bone.

Polycystic kidney disease: One of the genetic disorders characterized by the development ...

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Potassium: The major positive ion (cation) found inside cells. The chemical notation for p...

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Pound: A measure of weight that is equal to 16 ounces or, metrically, 453.6 grams. Abbrevi...

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Pregnant: The state of carrying a developing fetus within the body.

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

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Prognosis: The forecast of the probable outcome or course of a disease; the patient's chan...

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Progressive: Increasing in scope or severity, advancing, or going forward. For example, a ...

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

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Protein: One of the three nutrients used as energy sources (calories) by the body. Protein...

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Proteins: Large molecules composed of one or more chains of amino acids in a specific orde...

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Quality of life: The patient's ability to enjoy normal life activities. Quality of life is...

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Rash: Breaking out (eruption) of the skin. A rash can be caused by an underlying medical c...

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Receptor: 1. In cell biology, a structure on the surface of a cell (or inside a cel...

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Recipient: In medicine, someone who is given something, such as a blood transfusion or an ...

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Red blood cell: The blood cell that carries oxygen. Red cells contain hemoglobin and it is...

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Red blood cells: The blood cells that carry oxygen. Red cells contain hemoglobin and it is...

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Red cells: Short for red blood cells, the oxygen/carbon dioxide carrying cells in blood. A...

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Reflux: The term used when liquid backs up into the esophagus from the stomach.

Renal: Having to do with the kidney. For example, renal cancer is cancer of the kidneys.

Renal osteodystrophy: A bone disorder that adversely affects bone growth and is caused by ...

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Residual: Something left behind. With residual disease, the disease has not been eradicate...

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Restless legs: See: Restless leg syndrome.

Serum: The clear liquid that can be separated from clotted blood. Serum differs from plas...

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Shortness of breath: Difficulty in breathing. Medically referred to as dyspnea. Shortness ...

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Sickle cell disease: A genetic blood disorder caused by the presence of an abnormal form ...

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Sodium: The major positive ion (cation) in the fluid surrounding cells in the body. The ch...

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Spine: 1) The column of bone known as the vertebral column, which surrounds and protects ...

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Stage: As regards cancer, the extent of a cancer, especially whether the disease has spre...

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Subcutaneous: Under the skin. For example, a subcutaneous injection is an injection in whi...

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Surgery: The branch of medicine that employs operations in the treatment of disease or inj...

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Symptomatic: 1 With symptoms, as a symptomatic infection. 2 Characteristic o...

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Syndrome: A combination of symptoms and signs that together represent a disease process.

Systemic: Affecting the entire body. A systemic disease such as diabetes can affect the wh...

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Systemic lupus erythematosus: A chronic inflammatory condition caused by an autoimmune di...

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Taste: A perception that results from stimulation of a gustatory nerve. Taste belongs to t...

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

Throat: The throat is the anterior (front) portion of the neck beginning at the back of th...

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Tired: A feeling of a lessened capacity for work and reduced efficiency of accomplishment,...

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Tiredness: See: Tired.

Transplant: The grafting of a tissue from one place to another, just as in botany a bu...

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Tubes: The "tubes" are medically known as the Fallopian tubes. There are two Fallopian tub...

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Tubule: A small tube.

Tylenol: See: Acetaminophen.

Type 2 diabetes: See Diabetes, type 2.

Ulcer: A lesion that is eroding away the skin or mucous membrane. Ulcers can have various ...

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Ultrasound: High-frequency sound waves. Ultra-sound waves can be bounced off tissues by us...

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Urea: A nitrogen-containing substance normally cleared from the blood by the kidney into t...

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Urethra: The tube that leads from the bladder and transports and discharges urine outside ...

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

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Urinary: Having to do with the function or anatomy of the kidneys, ureters, bladder, or ur...

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Urinary tract: The organs of the body that produce, store, and discharge urine. These orga...

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Urine: Liquid waste produced by the kidneys. Urine is a clear, transparent fluid that norm...

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Vascular: Relating to blood vessels. For example, the vascular system in the body includes...

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Vasculitis: A general term for a group of uncommon diseases that feature inflammation of t...

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Vein: A blood vessel that carries blood that is low in oxygen content from the body back t...

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Vessel: A tube in the body that carries fluids. Examples of vessels are blood vessels and ...

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Viral: Of or pertaining to a virus. For example, if a person has a viral rash, the rash wa...

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Vitamin D: A steroid vitamin which promotes the intestinal absorption and metabolism of ca...

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Vitamins: The word "vitamin" was coined in 1911 by the Warsaw-born biochemist Casimir Funk...

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Water retention: A nonspecific term meaning the accumulation of excess fluids in body tiss...

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Weight loss: Weight loss is a decrease in body weight resulting from either voluntary (die...

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Medical Dictionary