Common Health Tests Glossary of Terms

The following are health and medical definitions of terms that appear in the Common Health Tests article.

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

Antigen: A substance that the immune system perceives as being foreign or dangerous. The b...

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

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

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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.

Breast cancer: Breast cancer is diagnosed with self- and physician-examination of the brea...

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

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

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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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Cervix: The cervix is the lower, narrow part of the uterus (womb). The uterus, a hollow, ...

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

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

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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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Colonoscopy: A procedure whereby a physician inserts a viewing tube (colonoscope) into the...

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Colorectal: Related to the colon and/or rectum.

Colorectal cancer: A malignant tumor arising from the inner wall of the large intestine (t...

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Coronary artery disease: Impedance or blockage of one or more arteries that supply blood t...

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

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

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Discharge: 1.The flow of fluid from part of the body, such as from the nose or vag...

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

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Family history of colorectal cancer: See: Colon cancer family history.

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

Fecal occult blood test: A test to check for hidden blood in the stool.

Feces: The excrement discharged from the 'intestines.

Genetic: Having to do with genes and genetic
information.

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

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

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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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Laxative: Something that promotes emptying of the bowels. Laxatives are used to combat con...

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Lesion: An area of abnormal tissue change. Lesions vary in severity from harmless to serio...

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Liquid diet: The Liquid diet is the restriction of solid food intake, and replacement of s...

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Lung cancer: Cancer of the major organ of respiration - the lung. Lung cancer kills more m...

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

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

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Melanoma: The most dangerous form of skin cancer, a malignancy of the melanocyte, the cell...

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Menstrual: Pertaining to menstruation (the menses), as in last menstrual period, menstrua...

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Menstrual cycle: The monthly cycle of changes in the ovaries and the lining of the uteru...

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

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Mole: 1. In dermatology a mole is a pigmented spot on the skin, Also called a nevus...

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MPH: Master of public health, a degree designating successful training in analyzing past, ...

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Occult: Hidden. For example, occult blood in the stool is hidden from the eye but can be d...

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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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Pharmacy: A location where prescription medications are sold. A pharmacy is constantly sup...

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Precancerous: Pertaining to something that is not yet overtly cancerous, but appears to be...

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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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Prostate specific antigen: Widely known as PSA. See: PSA.

PSA: Prostate specific antigen. A test for PSA may be used to screen for cancer of the p...

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Rectum: The last 6 to 8 inches of the large intestine. The rectum stores solid waste until...

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Risk factor: Something that increases a person's chances of developing a disease. For exam...

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Scrape: An abrasion or cut caused by something rubbing roughly against the skin. To treat ...

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Sigmoidoscope: A lighted instrument that is used to view the inside of the lower colon.

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Sigmoidoscopy: A procedure in which a physician inserts a viewing tube (sigmoidoscope) int...

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Skin biopsy: Removal of a piece of skin for the purpose of diagnostic examination. Skin bi...

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Sore: 1. (adjective) A popular term for painful, such as a sore throat. 2. (...

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Speculum: An instrument that is used to widen the opening of the vagina so that the cervix...

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

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Stool: The solid matter that is discharged in a bowel movement.

Stroke: The sudden death of brain cells due to lack of oxygen, caused by blockage of blood...

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Sunscreen: A substance that blocks the effect of the sun's harmful rays. Using lotions tha...

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Testes: Plural of testis.

Testicles: The testicles (also called testes or gonads) are the male sex glands. They are ...

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Testicular cancer: A malignant tumor of the male sex organ (testicle) that normally produc...

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Testicular self-examination: A monthly procedure for detecting the early signs of testic...

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Testis: The male sex gland, located behind the penis in a pouch of skin called the scrotum...

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

X-ray: High-energy radiation with waves shorter than those of visible light. X-ray is used...

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