Glossary Of Terms
The abnormal suppression or absence of menstruation for more than six
months. Many female athletes experience what is known as Athletic
Amenorrhea due to rigorous training schedules
Untreated, amenorrhea can lead to osteoporosis.
A disorder characterized by an aversion toward eating resulting in
extreme thinness and sometimes in death from self-inflicted starvation.
The causes of anorexia nervosa are poorly understood, and its
treatment is therefore difficult. The disease commonly affects girls
between the ages of 14 and 17, although a male or an older woman may
also develop a frantic preoccupation with body size. In most cases the
illness begins with dieting to lose excess weight, and turns into a
refusal to take nourishment in a relentless pursuit of an ideal of
extreme thinness. They often follow strenuous exercise programs. As
the percentage of body fat decreases below a certain level, the
menstrual cycle is interrupted, initiating a decrease in bone density.
Primary hyperparathyroidism is a hormonal disorder that occurs when
one or more of the parathyroid glands produces too much parathyroid
Discovered in 1808, barium is an alkaline earth metal found in nature
only in combination with other elements. When refined, it is a soft,
silvery-white metallic element. In addition to serving as an opaque
medium in x-ray analysis of the digestive tract, barium compounds are
also used as pigments and fillers in paper and rubber. In metallurgy,
barium is frequently used as a carrier for radium. It is used in
certain alloys, in vacuum tubes to perfect the vacuum, and in copper
A slender, flexible tube inserted into an artery, through which a
contrast agent may be injected.
Cholesterol, a primary component of cell membranes, enables the body
to process vitamin D, steroid hormones, and bile acids. In addition to
the cholesterol produced by the liver and several other organs, human
beings ingest substantial amounts of cholesterol in the course of a
normal diet. Cholesterol is not soluble in the blood; therefore, in
order to circulate in the bloodstream, cholesterol must be attached to
certain proteins called lipoproteins. Low-Density Lipoproteins (LDLs)
transport cholesterol from the liver, where it is produced, to the cells
where it is separated from the lipoprotein for use. It is chiefly the
cholesterol associated with LDLs that builds up as fatty deposits in the
arteries. Conversely, High-Density Lipoproteins (HDLs) may possibly
transport excess cholesterol from the tissues back to the liver, where
it is broken down into bile acids and eliminated from the body. HDLs
may actually serve to retard or reduce fatty buildup.
An abnormal liver condition characterized by irreversible scarring of
the liver. Alcohol and viral hepatitis B and C are among the many
causes of cirrhosis.
Coronary Artery Disease (CAD)
CAD is narrowing or blockage of the coronary arteries caused by
atherosclerotic plaque ("hardening of the arteries"). Plaque tends to
calcify and the greater the amount of calcium (which we can measure) the
more severe the plaque. The coronary arteries supply blood to the
heart muscle (myocardium). If the coronary artery is obstructed, blood
flow to the heart muscle is decreased or stopped resulting in a heart
attack. Over the last several decades it has been learned that the
mechanism of heart attack is usually due to rupture of an unstable
atherosclerotic plaque causing a blood clot which decreases or stops
blood flow to the heart muscle. This has replaced the older theory of
progressive atherosclerotic plaque build-up ultimately creating total
blockage. Therefore, there is a strong incentive to prevent any
atherosclerosis in the coronary arteries.
Cushing's Syndrome, first described by neurosurgeon Harvey Williams
Cushing, is the collection of symptoms and signs caused by an excess of
cortisol, the primary stress hormone. Cushing's syndrome is an
extremely complex hormonal condition involving many areas of the body.
Symptoms include weakness, bruising, thinning of the skin, weight gain,
hypertension, diabetes, osteoporosis, facial puffiness, and in women
cessation of periods. Ironically, one of the most common causes of
Cushing's syndrome is the use of cortisol-like medications for the
treatment of various diseases. All other cases of Cushing's syndrome
are due to excess production of cortisol by the adrenal gland including
1) a benign or malignant growth within the adrenal gland, which produces
cortisol, 2) an abnormal growth of the pituitary gland, which stimulates
the adrenal gland, and 3) production within another part of the body (ectopic
production) of a hormone that directly or indirectly drives the adrenal
gland to make cortisol.
A disease in the lungs, usually due to smoking, in which the alveoli
(tiny air sacs) become damaged due to an abnormal accumulation of air.
Traditional endoscopy is a procedure in which a doctor looks inside
the body through a flexible, lighted instrument called an endoscope.
A fluorescent screen on which the internal structure of an opaque
object, such as the human body, may be continuously viewed by
transmission of x-rays through the object.
A subspecialty of diagnostic radiology. It requires considerable
additional training in the interpretation of images of the brain and
A doctor specializing in the study of tumors and their causes,
development, characteristics, and treatment. They diagnose type and
location of tumor and how fast it is spreading. They then prescribe
and supervise radiation and drug therapy or recommend surgery if needed.
A bone disorder, primarily affecting the elderly, marked by a
decrease in bone mass due to the depletion of calcium and leading to
increased risk of fracture. Recommendations for treatment include
cessation of smoking, increasing calcium-rich foods, adding weight
bearing exercise, calcium supplements, and hormone-replacement therapy.
Silent (asymptomatic) tumor
Cancer may cause symptoms and warning signs, but, especially in its
early stages, cancer may develop and grow without producing any
symptoms, hence the word asymptomatic.
The central portion of the lumbar vertebrae is comprised of
trabecular (cancellous) bone. Density measurements are performed in
trabecular bone because it has the highest rate of bone mineral turnover
and therefore is the most accurate location for measurement of bone