Atherosclerosis (Hardening of the Arteries) Glossary of Terms

The following are health and medical definitions of terms that appear in the Atherosclerosis (Hardening of the Arteries) article.

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

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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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Amputation: Removal of part or all of a body part that is enclosed by skin. Amputation can...

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

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

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Angina: Chest pain due to an inadequate supply of oxygen to the heart muscle. The pain is ...

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Angiography: A procedure performed to view blood vessels after injecting them with a radio...

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Angioplasty: Procedure with a balloon-tipped catheter to enlarge a narrowing in a coronary...

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

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Aorta: The largest artery in the body, the aorta arises from the left ventricle of the he...

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Arms: An appendage in anatomy and in clinical trials. See: Arm.

Arteriosclerosis: Hardening and thickening of the walls of the arteries. Arteriosclerosis ...

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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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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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Balloon angioplasty: Coronary angioplasty is accomplished using a balloon-tipped catheter ...

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Bile: Bile is a yellow-green fluid that is made by the liver, stored in the gallbladder an...

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Bile acid: An acid made by the liver that works with bile to break down fats.

Blindness: Loss of useful sight. Blindness can be temporary or permanent. Damage to any p...

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Blood clot: A mass of coagulated blood. A blood clot can block a major blood vessel, causi...

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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 sugar: Blood glucose. See also: High blood sugar; Low blood sugar.

BMI: Body mass index.

Body mass index: A key index for relating weight to height. Abbreviated BMI. BMI is a pers...

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Brain: The portion of the central nervous system that is located within the skull. It func...

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Bypass: An operation in which a new pathway is created for the transport of substances in ...

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Calcification: The process of suffusing tissues with calcium salts.

Cardiac: Having to do with the heart.

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Cardiologist: A physician who specializes in treating heart disorders.

Cardiology: The study and treatment of heart disorders.

Carotid: Pertaining to the carotid artery and the area near that key artery, which is loca...

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Carotid artery: Either of the two key arteries located in the front of the neck, through w...

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Catheter: A thin, flexible tube.

Cerebral: Of or pertaining to the cerebrum or the brain.

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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Claudication: Limping. From the Latin claudicare, which means 'to limp.' The Roman emperor...

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Clinical trial: A study that is intended to evaluate the safety and effectiveness of medic...

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Congenital: A condition that is present at birth, whether or not it is inherited.

Congestive heart failure: Inability of the heart to keep up with the demands on it, with f...

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Coronary arteries: The vessels that supply the heart muscle with blood rich in oxygen. The...

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

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

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

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Dilatation: The process of enlargement or expansion. Also known as dilation.

ECG: Electrocardiogram.

Echocardiography: Echocardiography is a diagnostic test which uses ultrasound waves to mak...

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Endarterectomy: An operation to clean out an artery and restore normal blood flow through ...

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Endothelium: A layer of flat cells lining the closed internal spaces of the body such as t...

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Enzyme: Proteins that speeds up the rate of a chemical reaction in a living organism. An e...

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Esophagus: The tube that connects the pharynx (throat) with the stomach. The esophagus lie...

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Familial: A condition that tends to occur more often in family members than is expected by...

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Familial hypercholesterolemia: The most common inherited type of hyperlipidemia (high lipi...

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

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

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Genes: The basic biological units of heredity. Segments of deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) nee...

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Genetic: Having to do with genes and genetic
information.

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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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Groin: The area where the thigh meets the hip.

HDL: High density lipoprotein.

HDL cholesterol: High density lipoprotein cholesterol. Lipoproteins, which are combination...

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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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Heart failure: Inability of the heart to keep up with the demands on it and, specifically...

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Heart muscle: A type of muscle with unique features only found in the heart. The heart mus...

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Heart valves: There are four heart valves. All are one-way valves. Blood entering the ...

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

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

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Hypercholesterolemia: High blood cholesterol. This can be sporadic (occurring with no fami...

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

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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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Intermittent claudication: An aching, crampy, tired, and sometimes burning pain in the leg...

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Intestine: The long, tubelike organ in the abdomen that completes the process of digestion...

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Ischemia: Inadequate blood supply to a local area due to blockage of blood vessels leading...

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

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LDL cholesterol: Low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, commonly referred to as 'bad' choles...

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Left ventricle: The left lower chamber of the heart that receives blood from the left atri...

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Leg: In popular usage, the part of the body from the top of the thigh down to the foot, an...

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Lipid: Another word for "fat." (Please see the various meanings of fat.) A lipid is chemic...

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Lipid profile: A pattern of lipids in the blood. A lipid profile usually includes the leve...

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Lipids: Another word for "fats." (Please see the various meanings of Fat.) Lipids can be m...

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Lipitor: See: Atorvastatin.

Lipoprotein: A molecule that is a combination of lipid and protein. Lipids do not travel i...

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Lumen: A luminous term referring to the channel within a tube such as a blood vessel or to...

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

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Menopause: The time in a woman's life when menstrual periods permanently stop; it is also ...

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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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National Cholesterol Education Program: NCEP. A program designed to reduce illness and dea...

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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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Neurological: Having to do with the nerves or the nervous system as, for example, a neurol...

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NHLBI: Stands for the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, one of the National Insti...

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Niacin: Nicotinic acid, one of the B-complex vitamins-B 3. Deficiency of niacin in the die...

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Nicotinic acid: Deficiency of nicotinic acid (also known as niacin), one of the B-complex ...

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Obese: Well above one's normal weight. A person has traditionally been considered to be ob...

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Obesity: The state of being well above one's normal weight.

Organ: A relatively independent part of the body that carries out one or more special func...

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Overweight: The term "overweight" is used in two different ways. In one sense it is a way ...

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Oxygen: The odorless gas that is present in the air and necessary to maintain life. Oxygen...

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

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Paralysis: Loss of voluntary movement (motor function). Paralysis that affects only one mu...

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Perfusion: A chemotherapy technique that may be used when melanoma occurs on an arm or leg...

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

Peripheral vascular disease: A disease of blood vessels outside the heart. Peripheral vasc...

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Plaque:1. An semi-hardened accumulation of substances from fluids that bathe an are...

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Probability: The likelihood that something will happen. For example, a probability of less...

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Probe: 1: In surgery, a probe is a slender flexible rod with a blunt end used to explore, ...

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

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Radioactive: Emitting energy waves due to decaying atomic nuclei. Radioactive substances a...

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Radiopaque: Opaque to one or another form of radiation, such as X-rays. Radiopaque objects...

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Resolution: In genetics, the degree of molecular detail on a physical map of DNA. Resoluti...

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Respiration: The act of inhaling and exhaling air in order to exchange oxygen for carbon d...

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

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Saturated fat: A fat that contains only saturated fatty acids, is solid at room temperatur...

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Scaffold: 1. In genetics, the chromosome structure consisting entirely of nonhiston...

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Sensation: In medicine and physiology, sensation refers to the registration of an incoming...

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

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

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

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Statins: A class of drugs that lower cholesterol.

Stent: A tube designed to be inserted into a vessel or passageway to keep it open. Stents ...

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Stethoscope: An instrument that is used to transmit low-volume sounds such as a heartbeat ...

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

Stress: In a medical or biological context stress is a physical, mental, or emotional fact...

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

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Substance: 1. Material with particular features.
2. The material that...

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

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Sweating: The act of secreting fluid from the skin by the sweat (sudoriferous) glands. The...

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Symptom: Any subjective evidence of disease. In contrast, a sign is objective. Blood comin...

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

Treadmill: A machine with a moving strip on which one walks without moving forward. A trea...

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Triglycerides: The major form of fat stored by the body. A triglyceride consists of three ...

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

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

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

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Ventricle: A chamber of an organ. For example, the four connected cavities in the central ...

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

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Vital: Necessary to maintain life. For example, breathing is a vital function.

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

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

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