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Glossary - C

Displaying glossary terms beginning with the letter C: 1 - 50 of 224 in total
C-reactive protein (CRP)
A protein made by the liver. High amounts of C-reactive protein may indicate that arteries are clogged (atherosclerosis).
CABG
Abbreviation for coronary artery bypass graft. Surgery to improve blood flow to the heart by diverting blood around a blocked artery.
calcification
The buildup of calcium deposits in soft tissue, causing it to harden. Often seen in breast tissue by mammography or in coronary arteries by x-ray or cardiac CT scans.
calcitonin
A hormone that can stimulate bone growth and is sometimes used to treat osteoporosis.
calcium
A mineral that the body needs for many vital functions, including bone formation, regulation of heart rate and blood pressure, and muscle contraction.
calcium channel blockers
A class of drugs that lowers blood pressure, slows the heart rate, and decreases the heart's need for oxygen by blocking the movement of calcium into the heart and the muscle cells surrounding blood vessels.
callus
Hardened, thick skin that forms after repeated friction; often found on hands and the bottom of feet.
calorie
The unit for measuring the amount of energy in food.
Related health topics: End-Stage Renal Disease
cancellous bone
One of two types of tissue that form bone; this type is commonly found at the center of long bones and makes up a large part of the hip and spine. Also known as trabecular bone.
cancer
A group of diseases in which abnormal cells grow in an uncontrolled way, sometimes forming tumors.
capillaries
The body's smallest blood vessels; they deliver oxygen and nutrients to tissues.
capsaicin
An chemical found in hot chili peppers that is used in some pain relief creams.
carbohydrate
The sugars and starches in food that provide the body with most of its fuel. Carbohydrates are one of three primary nutrients along with fats and proteins.
carbohydrate counting
Keeping track of the grams of carbohydrates eaten in order to control weight.
carbon monoxide
An odorless, colorless gas that is toxic to humans and animals at high levels; it is produced by cars, furnaces, fireplaces, and other equipment powered by combustion.
carcinogen
Any substance that can cause cancer.
Related health topics: Adenocarcinoma of the Lung
carcinogenesis
The process by which a normal cell becomes cancerous.
carcinoma
A cancerous tumor that develops in the tissue that lines the organs of the body (the epithelium).
Related health topics: Lung Cancer Overview
cardiac
Pertaining to the heart.
cardiac arrest
The sudden cessation of contractions capable of circulating blood to the body and brain. Also called sudden cardiac arrest. Cardiac arrest usually occurs as a result of a rapid ventricular rhythm (ventricular tachycardia) or a chaotic one (ventricular fibrillation). Death occurs within minutes unless cardiopulmonary resuscitation and defibrillation are available.
cardiac catheterization
A procedure to diagnose or treat heart problems; a long, thin, flexible tube is inserted into a blood vessel in the arm, neck, or upper thigh and maneuvered into the heart to evaluate various heart functions.
Related health topics: Cardiomyopathy
cardiac myocytes
Heart-muscle cells.
cardiac output
The amount of blood the heart is able to pump into circulation; specifically measured as the amount of blood the left side of the heart can pump in one minute.
cardiac resynchronization therapy
A pacemaker-based therapy for heart failure that improves the heart's pumping efficiency by coordinating (resynchronizing) the beat of the ventricles.
cardiac tamponade
When fluid or blood pools within the sac surrounding the heart, squeezing the heart and interfering with its ability to pump.
cardioplegia
Temporarily stopping the heart during heart surgery.
cardiopulmonary
Pertaining to the heart and lungs.
cardiopulmonary bypass
The use of a machine (heart/lung machine) to circulate and oxygenate the blood while surgery is performed on the heart.
cardiopulmonary bypass machine
A pump used to oxygenate and circulate blood through the body while the heart is stopped during open-heart surgery.
cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR)
A combination of chest compressions and mouth-to-mouth breathing that keep oxygenated blood circulating to the brain and tissues.
cardiorespiratory endurance
A component of physical fitness that relates to the ability of the circulatory and respiratory systems to supply oxygen during sustained physical activity. Also known as cardiorespiratory fitness.
cardiovascular
Pertaining to the heart and blood vessels.
cardioversion
The use of an electrical shock to stop an abnormal heart rhythm (an arrhythmia) and restore a normal one (sinus rhythm). Cardioversion can be external, using pads applied to the chest, or internal, from a pacemaker-like device called an implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD).
carminative
An herb said to expel gas from the digestive system, easing stomach discomfort.
carotenoids
Compounds such as lycopene and beta carotene that give red, yellow, and orange color to certain plants.
carotid artery
One of two major blood vessels found on either side of the neck. The carotid arteries supply blood to the brain.
carotid artery disease
Narrowing of the carotid artery by the buildup of plaque. Sometimes called carotid artery stenosis. It is a major risk factor for ischemic stroke.
carotid bruit
An abnormal sound heard with a stethoscope in the carotid artery; people who have carotid bruits have a greater risk of having a stroke.
carotid duplex Doppler scanning
An ultrasound image of the carotid arteries.
carotid endarterectomy
Surgery to remove fatty plaque buildup from the carotid artery and restore blood flow to the brain.
carpal tunnel syndrome
A condition that occurs when the median nerve, which runs from the forearm through the hand, is compressed; symptoms include pain, tingling, and numbness, as well as hand weakness.
cartilage
Stiff connective tissue that provides support to other tissues and cushions joints.
Related health topics: Marfan's Syndrome
cartilaginous joint
A joint in which the bones are firmly connected by cartilage, so that only slight movement is possible.
case-control study
A research study that compares one group of people with a particular disease to a very similar group that does not have the same disease.
catagen
The transition phase of the hair-growth cycle.
cataplexy
Sudden paralysis of some or all muscles brought on by laughter, anger, fright, or strong emotions; a hallmark of narcolepsy.
cataract
A clouding or fogging of the lens of the eye that may blur or tint vision.
catastrophic reaction
A strong emotional reaction to a minor event.
cathartic
An agent with a strong laxative effect.
catheter
A thin tube that is inserted into the body to provide or drain fluids, or to carry tiny surgical instruments and cameras in minimally invasive surgeries.