Senior Health Glossary of Terms

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

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

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

Acquired: Not inherited, or present at birth (congenital), but developing after birth. For...

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

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Alzheimer's disease: A progressive degenerative disease of the brain that leads to dementi...

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

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

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

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

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Atrial: Pertaining to the atria, the upper chambers of the heart, as in atrial fibrillatio...

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Baseline: Information or data gathered at the beginning of a period from which variations ...

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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 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.

Board certified: In medicine, a description for a physician who has taken and passed a med...

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Bone density: Bone density is the amount of bone tissue in a certain volume of bone. It ca...

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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.

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

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

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Bruise: Injury of the soft tissues that results in breakage of the local capillaries and l...

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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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Carbohydrate: One of the three nutrient compounds, along with fat and protein, used as ene...

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Cardiac: Having to do with the heart.

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

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CDC: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the US agency charged with tracking a...

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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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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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Colitis: Inflammation of the large intestine (the colon). There are many forms of coliti...

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

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

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

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COPD: Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Any disorder that persistently obstructs bron...

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Delirium: A sudden state of severe confusion and rapid changes in brain function, sometime...

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Dementia: Significant loss of intellectual abilities, such as memory capacity, that is sev...

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Depression: An illness that involves the body, mood, and thoughts and that affects the way...

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

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Diverticulosis: Diverticulosis is the condition of having diverticula, small outpouchings...

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Dry mouth: The condition of not having enough saliva to keep the mouth wet. This is due to...

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Dry skin: Abnormally dry skin. Can be caused by a dry climate, winter weather, deficiency...

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Dysfunction: Difficult function or abnormal function.

Dysphagia: Difficulty swallowing. Dysphagia is due to abnormal nerve or muscle control. It...

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Ear: The hearing organ. There are three sections of the ear, according to the anatomy tex...

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

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

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Feces: The excrement discharged from the 'intestines.

Flu: Short for influenza. The flu is caused by viruses that infect the respiratory tract w...

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Fungal: Pertaining to a fungus. For example, a fungal skin infection.

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

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Geriatrics: The branch of medicine concerned with the diagnosis, treatment and prevention ...

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Gland: A group of cells that secrete a substance for use in the body. For example, the thy...

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Glaucoma: A common eye condition in which the fluid pressure inside the eyes rises becaus...

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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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Gout: Condition characterized by abnormally elevated levels of uric acid in the blood, rec...

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Gum disease: Inflammation of the soft tissue (gingiva) and abnormal loss of bone that surr...

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

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

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Hemorrhoids: Dilated (enlarged) veins in the walls of the anus and sometimes around the re...

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Herpes: A family of viruses. Herpes also refers to infection with one of the human herpesv...

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Herpes zoster: Also called shingles, zona, and zoster. The culprit is the varicella-zoster...

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

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High blood sugar: An elevated level of the sugar glucose in the blood. Also called hypergl...

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Hygiene: The science of preventive medicine and the preservation of health. Also commonly ...

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

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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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Incontinence: The inability to control excretions, to hold urine in the bladder, or to kee...

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Indicate: In medicine, to make a treatment or procedure advisable because of a particular ...

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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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Influenza: The flu is caused by viruses that infect the respiratory tract which are divide...

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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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Internal medicine: The medical specialty dedicated to the diagnosis and medical treatment ...

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Involuntary: Done other than in accordance with the conscious will of the individual. The ...

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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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Lens: The transparent structure inside the eye that focuses light rays onto the retina.

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

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Living will: An advance medical directive that specifies what types of medical treatment a...

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

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Macular: Pertaining to the macula. A macula is a small spot. A macula on the skin is a s...

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Macular degeneration: A disease that progressively destroys the macula, the central porti...

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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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Marrow: The bone marrow.

Memory: 1. The ability to recover information about past events or knowledge. ...

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

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Metabolism: The whole range of biochemical processes that occur within a living organism. ...

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Mouth: 1. The upper opening of the digestive tract, beginning with the lips and con...

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

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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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Nail: In medicine, there are two types of nails. One is just a plain old metal nail used t...

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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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Osteoarthritis: A type of arthritis caused by inflammation, breakdown, and eventual loss ...

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Osteoporosis: Thinning of the bones, with reduction in bone mass, due to depletion of calc...

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Ovary: The female gonad, one of a pair of reproductive glands in women. The ovaries are lo...

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

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Pancreas: A spongy, tube-shaped organ that is about 6 inches long and is located in the ba...

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Parkinson's disease: A slowly progressive neurologic disease that is characterized by a fi...

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

Peripheral artery disease: A form of peripheral vascular disease in which there is partial...

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

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Pneumonia: Inflammation of one or both lungs, with dense areas of lung inflammation. Pneum...

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Primary care: A patient's main source for regular medical care, ideally providing continui...

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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 enlargement: Most prostatic enlargement is due to benign prostatic hyperplasia (B...

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

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Psychiatric: Pertaining to or within the purview of psychiatry, the medical specialty conc...

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

Rosacea: A chronic skin disease that causes persistent redness over the areas of the face ...

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Saliva: a watery secretion in the mouth produced by the salivary glands that aids in the d...

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Scan: As a noun, the data or image obtained from the examination of organs or regions of...

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Sense of smell: See Olfaction.

Shingles: An acute infection caused by the herpes zoster virus, the same virus as causes ...

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Sleep: The body's rest cycle.

Sleep disorders: Any disorder that affects, disrupts, or involves sleep. The most common...

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Stomach: The digestive organ that is located in the upper abdomen, under the ribs. The upp...

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

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

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Tear: A drop of the salty secretion of the lacrimal glands which serves to moisten the con...

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Thyroid: 1. The thyroid gland. Also, pertaining to the thyroid gland. 2. A p...

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Thyroid gland: A gland that makes and stores hormones that help regulate the heart rate, b...

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Tooth: One of the structures within the mouth that allow for biting and chewing. Teeth hav...

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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 incontinence: The unintentional loss of urine. Inability to hold urine in the blad...

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

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Vaccination: Injection of a killed microbe in order to stimulate the immune system against...

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

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Vertical: In anatomy, upright. As opposed to horizontal.

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

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

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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