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Amenorrhea

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.

Anorexia Nervosa

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.

A Symptomatic Hyperparathyroidism

Primary hyperparathyroidism is a hormonal disorder that occurs when one or more of the parathyroid glands produces too much parathyroid hormone.

Barium

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 refining.

Catheter

A slender, flexible tube inserted into an artery, through which a contrast agent may be injected.

Cholesterol

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.

Cirrhosis

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

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.

Emphysema

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.

Endoscopy

Traditional endoscopy is a procedure in which a doctor looks inside the body through a flexible, lighted instrument called an endoscope.

Fluoroscope

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.

Neuroradiology

A subspecialty of diagnostic radiology. It requires considerable additional training in the interpretation of images of the brain and spinal cord.

Oncologist

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.

Osteoporosis

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.

Trabecular Bone

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 mass.