Online Medical Dictionary

Letter C

A byproduct of insulin production, stored in the beta cells of the pancreas. Historiacally C-peptide levels were used to gauge how much insulin was being produced in the body and to study types 1 and 2 diabetes, but is now found to have effects on tissue health and microvascular blood flow.
C-section (Caesarian section, Cesarian section)
The procedure in which a baby is surgically removed from the uterus through incisions made in the mother's abdomen. Usually performed when a vaginal delivery would cause harm to the mother or fetus, or when approved upon the mother's request.
Abbreviation for coronary artery disease.
A deceased human body often used in the study of anatomy and disease; to determine cause of death or course of disease or condition; or to provide tissue or organ(s) for transplant to a living human being in need.
Caesarian Section
See C-section.
Astringent produced from zinc oxide, commonly found in lotions that treat mildly pruritic skin conditions.
The heel bone.
The suffusing of tissues with calcium salts resulting in the building of bone.
Abnormal deposit of calcium salts in body tissues, or calification, seen in with some diseases and conditions such as renal failure, hypercalcemia and dystrophic calcification.
Active form of vitamin D produced by the kidneys or in-lab. Used to increase calcium levels.
Calcium Deficiency
Hypocalcemia: having low levels of serum calcium in the blood, which can cause the nervous system to manifest irritability in spasms or sensations of pins and needles in the hands and feet; muscle or abdominal cramps; and hyperactive reflexes.
Calcium Excess
Hypercalcemia: possessing escalated levels of calcium in the blood, which can cause muscle weakness, constipation, kidney stones, depression, confusion, fatigue, anorexia, nausea, and abnormal heart rhythms. Usually indicative of other illness.
Calf Bone
The fibula, the lateral of the two bones in the lower leg.
A compass-like tool used to measure diameter.
A food energy unit. Approximately 1,000 small calories are needed to increase the temperature of 1 kilogram of water by 1C.
A malignant growth of cells, tending to duplicate and invade neighbouring tissues uncontrollably, in some cases metastasizing, or spreading to other areas of the body. Cancer refers to more than 100 distinctive diseases. The majority of cancers are named for the type of cell or organ in which the cancerous cells begin dividing.
Cancer Anorexia
Weight loss, loss of appetite, muscle atrophy, weakness and fatigue experienced in patients with cancer, as well as in patients with AIDs, congestive heart failure and other illnesses. Even with increased calories implemented into the diet, the patient continues to lose body mass, leading to a lessened response to treatments. Also called cancer wasting syndrome.
Cancer Causes
Though cause remains unknown in the majority of individual cases of cancer, causes found to increase or affect the developments of cancer include genetic susceptibility; environmental exposure, such as exposure to carcinogenic toxins, chemicals or inhalants; poor diet; damage caused by infectious disease; and others.
Cancer Cluster
A geographic area where the observed occurrence of cancer cases, over time, is significantly greater than expected, such has been observed in specific industrial sectors or occupational roles.
Cancer Detection
Methods, often routine among certain demographics or age groups, utilized to determine if cancer in present in an individual, regardless of the prevalence of symptoms.
Cancer Survivor
Any individual diagnosed with any form of cancer whom is still living, regardless of the state of the cancer.
Cancer Symptoms
Any abnormal sensation, physical formation or condition that has been known to be present in cases of cancer, or could represent that cancer is the root cause. Any suspected or potential cancer symptom need be brought to the attention of a medical professional immediately.
The body's smallest blood vessels. Capillaries enable the exchange of oxygenated blood from arteries to the tissues of the body, and de-oxygenated blood from the tissues back into the veins, as well as exchanging water, carbon dioxide, nutrients and waste within the micro-circulation system.
Carbon Monoxide Poisoning
Poisoning by carbon monoxide, an odorless, tasteless gas produced through the combustion of organic matter. Carbon monoxide competes with oxygen for binding sites on hemoglobin, the red blood cell component responsible for carrying oxygen from the lungs to remote body tissues, reducing the oxygen carrying capabilities of the blood cells and leading to hypoxia.
Any substance or agent that leads to the development of cancer.
Regarding the heart.
Cardiac Aneurysm
An out-pouching, or bulging, of a thin portion of the ventricular wall of the heart usually requiring surgical reparation.
Cardiac Defibrillator
A transvenous, implanted or external treatment device designed to correct, or restore to normal, types of abnormal heart rhythms (arrhythmias) by delivering doses of electrical energy to the affected area.
Cardiac Muscle
The muscle of the heart, or the myocardium; the contraction of which propels blood from the atria and ventricles to circulatory systems.
Cardiac Myxoma
A benign tumor that develops in the heart, in some cases with the hereditary Carney complex.
Cardiac Rehabilitation
A preventative treatment regimen for individuals with heart disease with aim to reduce future heart risks. Treatment components normally integrate nutritional and anti-smoking counseling; weight, hypertension, diabetes, and lipid level management; physical activity and exercise training; and psychosocial interventions.
The study and treatment of heart conditions.
Enlargement of the heart, which can be induced by several different conditions including high blood pressure, arrhythmias, disease in the heart muscle or heart valve, or pulmonary hypertension.
Disease of the myocardium, the heart muscle.
Regarding both the heart and the lungs.
Regarding the cardiovascular system.
Cardiovascular Disease
Disease affecting the heart and/or blood vessels, which can include coronary artery disease, arteriosclerosis, heart failure, hypertension, heart valve disease, arrhythmia, shock, orthostatic hypotension, endocarditis, congenital heart disease, among others.
Cardiovascular System
The circulatory system, consisting of the heart and blood vessels, responsible for carrying nutrients and oxygen to the tissues of the body and removing carbon dioxide and other wastes. The system is comprised of two circuits: the pulmonary circuit and the systemic circuit, each with their own arterial, capillary and venous components.
Carpal Tunnel Release
A surgical procedure that relieves pressure on the median nerve within the wrist.
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
Nerve damage caused to the median nerve through the carpal tunnel, the bony passageway of the wrist to hand, brought on by compression and irritation. Is considered by some to be a repetitive stress injury, and hereditary to others. Results in pain, numbness and weakness in the fingers and hand.
The firm, flexible and rubbery tissue offering cushioning and protection for bones at joints, the ribs, elbow, ears, nose, intervertebral discs, bronchial tubes and ankle.
CAT Scan
The computerized axial tomography (CAT) scan retrieves data from multiple X-ray images and converts them into screen-displayed images. CAT scans have the ability to reveal some soft-tissue and structures that cannot be viewed using a conventional X-ray, and provide images with up to 100 times more clarity than the X-ray.
The aspect of metabolism that burns energy.
A substance that acts to expedite a chemical reaction but is not altered or consumed in the act.
The clouding of the lens of the eye, resulting in the impairment of normal vision.
Cataract Surgery
Surgical removalal of the clouded lens of an eye which is then usually replaced by a plastic, silicone, acrylic or otherwise composed intraocular lens.
Showing marked abnormalities such as immobility or purposeless agitation and motor activity; mutism; extreme negativism; or posturing, stereotyped movements as a result of a psychological/motorological disturbance.
A thin, flexible tube applied intravenously to administer drugs, fluids, blood or nutrients; to withdraw samples of blood; or to reroute fluids to a holding sac.
The process by which abnormal cells are destroyed with use of heat. Also termed diathermy or electrodiathermy.
Celiac Disease
A disorder caused by an immune reaction to gluten, causing impaired digestion and absorption of nutrients through the small intestine, resulting in weight loss and diarrhea.
The basic structural and functional, membrane-wrapped capsule of chemical and water of which all living things are composed.
Cell Cloning
The production of a group genetically identical cell clones from a single ancestral cell.
Cell Cycle
The events which occur within a cell between cell divisions.
Cell Fusion
The melding of two or more cells into one cell, termed a heterokaryon. A heterokaryon may reproduce over several generations.
Cell Suicide
Cell Therapy
A technology of cell treatment which replaces diseased and dysfunctional cells with healthy, functioning cells.
A fast spreading bacterial infection occurring under the surface of the skin, marked by redness, warm temperature, swelling and pain that may cause fever, chills and swollen lymph nodes.
A person 100 years of age or greater.
Central Nervous System (CNS)
The part of the nervous system composed of the brain and spinal cord.
Central Retinal Artery
The blood vessel which functions to supply blood into the eye and sustenance to the retina.
Central Retinal Vein
The blood vessel which functions to carry blood away from the retina.
Regarding the head or the cranium.
Cephalic Disorder
A congenital condition resulting from the damage or abnormal development of the nervous system.
Regarding the cerebellum.
Regarding the brain or cerebrum.
Cerebral Aneurysm
A localized, abnormal ballooning of a vessel within the brain. Also see Berry Aneurysm.
Cerebral Cortex
The sheet of neural tissue that covers the surface of the cerebrum, made of six horizontal layers of nerve cells connected by nerve pathways. The cerebral cortex plays a chief role in thought processing, memory, attention, perception, consciousness and language.
Cerebral Edema
An excessive accumulation of fluid in the intracellular and/or extracellular spaces of the brain causing swelling.
Cerebral Palsy
A term used to describe a group of conditions wherein an abnormality of motor function is present due to damage occurring in the motor control centres of the developing brain. Usually this damage occurs in utero but in some cases results during child birth, with effects manifesting themselves before the individual reaches the age of three. Cerebral palsy refers to conditions caused by a non-progressive brain lesion, and involves many divisions and subtypes.
Inflammation of the brain.
Cerebrospinal Fluid
A continuously produced and absorbed fluid occupying the ventricles of and surrounding the brain, protecting it from the skull.
Regarding the blood vessels and, more specifically, the arteries supplying the brain.
Cerebrovascular Disease
A group of diseases that affect the blood vessels supplying the brain. Cerebrovascular disease is often caused by atherosclerosis or hypertension, causing reduced blood flow to which can cause stroke.
The largest part of the brain, composed of symmetric right and left hemispheres. The cerebrum, also called the telencephalon, controls all of the body's voluntary actions alongside the cerebellum.
Certified Midwife
A midwife certified by their regional accreditation agency to practice midwifery.
Regarding the neck, or regarding the cervix.
Cervical Cancer
Malignant neoplasm of the cervix, the entrance and narrowest segment of the uterus. Though vaginal bleeding may become present, cervical cancer often does not present itself with symptoms. Pap smears must be attained with regularity to seek for pre-cancerous changes. Cervical cancer can usually be treated surgically if in an early stage of development.
Cervical Dysplasia
The potential precancerous transformation, or abnormal growth, of surface cells located on the cervix. Also called cervical intraepithelial neoplasia, cervical dysplasia is usually curable. The foremost cause of this condition is said to be a chronic cervical infection caused by the sexually transmitted human papillomavirus.
Surgical removal of the cervix, also termed trachelectomy.
Inflammation of the cervix.
The lower, most narrow segment of the uterus, forming a canal which opens into the vagina.
Charcot-Marie-Tooth Disease
A genetic neurological disorder of varied forms, and one of the most commonly inherited, Charcot-Marie-Tooth Disease is characterized by a progressively debilitating muscle weakness, particularly experienced in the limbs. Also called hereditary sensorimotor neuropathy or peroneal muscular atrophy, the condition causes a loss of muscle tissue and sensation, often marked by a deformity of the foot, referred to as claw toes, one of the first signs of the incurable disease.
Charcot-Wilbrand Syndrome
The loss of dreaming, or visual agnosia, in an individual after they suffer a stroke.
Chargaff Rule
DNA will always host the bases A and T and the bases G and C at a blanced ratio of 1:1. (A = adenine, T = thymine, G = guanine, and C = cytosine.)
Inflammation of the lips, also writ chilitis.
Chemical Menopause
Menopause induced by chemotherapy, other chemicals or by medications.
Abbreviated reference to chemotherapy.
Cognitive dysfunctions, such as memory loss or attention deficit, thought to be associated with the effects of chemotherapy.
The simultaneous use of chemotherapy and radiation therapy to treat cancers.
A systemic, cytotoxic treatment regimen used to treat cancer, wherein drugs are administered and flow through the bloodstream throughout the entirety of the body.
The thorax.
Chest Pain
Chest pain can be caused by several varied impetuses, such as angina, the result of an inadequate oxygen supply to the heart muscle, coronary artery disease or a spasm of the coronary arteries. Chest pain is the body's signal to seek medical attention.
Child Health
See Pediatrics.
A skilled practitioner of chiropractic therapies. Chiropractors aim to realign the vertebrae and relieve pressure on the nerves through manual manipulation of the spine. Chiropractic treatment is used to treat headaches and muscular pain, spasm or tension in the back, legs and neck.
The most common type of steroid found in the body, essential in forming bile acids (which aid in digesting fat), vitamin D, progesterone, estrogens, androgens and glucocorticoid hormones such as cortisol. Cholesterol also lends to the permeability and function of cell membranes.
A structure formed of DNA and protein found in the nucleus of cells. The three billion base pairs of the human genome are grouped into 24 distinct units carrying chromosomes, one set of chromosomes from each parent. Each set contains 22 autosomes and one X or Y sex chromosome. A female normally has a pair of X chromosomes and a male an X and Y pair.
A persistent disease or health condition, usually occurring with a slow onset but a long-lasting duration./dd>
Chronic Renal Failure
The slow,progressive loss of kidney function over the span of years, ultimately resulting in permanent kidney failure.
The hair-like projections that emerge from some cells, which aid in the sweeping away of particles and fluids and, in some cases, locomotion.
Circulatory System
The body's system which functions to transport oxygenated blood from the lungs and heart, through the arteries, throughout the reaches of the body, and to return deoxygenated blood to the heart and lungs through the veins.
A liver condition characterized by the scarring, or lumping of liver tissue, as a result of chronic liver disease. Cirrhosis can be caused by many conditions, including alcoholism, fatty liver disease and hepatitis B and C.
An abnormal and persistent fear of confined or closed spaces.
The collar bone.
Cleft Lip
A condition resulting from the failure of complete development, or fusion, of the lip to occur in utero, causing the presence of cleft(s) in the upper lip, unilaterally (on one side) or bilaterally (both sides).
Cleft Palate
An opening that occurs in the roof, or palate, of the mouth, resulting from the palatal shelves of the mouth's failure to fully fuse while in utero.
Clinical Depression
A term commonly used to denote abnormal, persistent depression.
Clinical Research Trials
Trials conducted among a sample of consenting individuals used to evaluate the effectiveness and reliability of medications or other medical devices by method of observing their effects on the sample group.
An abnormal and persistent fear of retiring to bed.
Surgical removal of the clitoris and sometimes labia; clitorectomy, female circumcision or clitoral amputation, is a form of female genital mutilation.
The process of producing a genetically identical copy of another organism.
Cloning, DNA
The process of manipulating DNA to produce replicas of a single gene or DNA segment.
A malformation of the foot present at birth, involving a sharp inward bend of one or both of the feet, causing the individual to appear as though walking on their ankle(s). Also called congenital talipes equinovarus.
Cluster Headache
A distinctive syndrome of headaches, also termed migrainous neuralgia. A cluster headache can be defined to be occurring in an episodic or chronic pattern.
The process by which blood clots to form solid masses.
The tail bone, located at the bottom of the spinal column.
The segment of the inner ear that converts vibrations into nerve impulses, delivered to the auditory departments of the brain. The cochlea resembles a snail shell, for which it was named.
Cochlear Implant
An electronic device surgically implanted into the inner ear to assist persons with corresponding hearing impairments, or inabilities to hear, in distinguishing sounds.
A substance that enhances the action of an enzyme. (An enzyme is a protein that functions as a catalyst to mediate and speed a chemical reaction).
An abnormal and persistent fear of intercourse.
Surgery during which a designated segment, or the whole, of the colon is removed.
A condition appearing in early infnacy, marked by episodes of loud crying, irritability, and apparent abdominal pain, common in infants.
Inflammation of the colon, which can take many forms including Crohn's disease, ulcerative colitis, spastic colitis, infectious colitis and pseudomembranous colitis.
The chief protein composing bone, connective tissue, cartilage, tendons and skin.
The long, hollow, tubular segment of the large intestine running from the cecum to the rectum.
Colon Cancer
A malignancy developing from the inner lining of the colon, most often beginning out of colon polyps. Removal of precancerous polyps can act in preventing the developing of colon cancer.
Colon Polyps
Benign tumors, or fleshy growths, that can develop in the lining of the large intestine (colon). Polyps can be safely removed in a colonoscopy. If left unmoved, colon polyps run the risk of becoming malignant.
An instrument used to view the interior of the colon.
A procedure in which a colonoscope is used to thoroughly inspect the colon and rectum for abnormality and, if such is found, removing the abnormality or taking biopsy of it for further examination. Also called a coloscopy.
Colour Blindness
The inability to perceive colour, most usually inherited through an X-linked recessive trait of which females are carriers and males are affected. Approximately 1 in 8 males are colour blind, to less than 1 in 100 females.
The procedure by which a displaced vagina is placed back into position against the abdominal wall.
A condition in which the vagina has prolapsed from the abdominal wall.
Computerized Axial Tomography Scan
See CAT scan.
That which is present from the time of birth.
Congenital Malformation
A physical defect present in an individual at the time of birth, regardless of the cause being genetic or something which occurred amid prenatal events.
An abnormal, involuntary muscle contraction.
Corneal Transplant
The replacement of a diseased or damaged cornea by cornea which is healthy, normally conducted under local anesthesia.
Coronary Artery Disease
A prevalent and serious disease of the coronary artery, which begins with the deposits of hard cholesterol, or plaques, within a coronary artery.
Coronary Bypass Surgery
A procedure conducted within a coronary artery wherein a portion of vein or artery from elsewhere in the body is used to graft an area of a coronary artery needed to improve blood supply, relieve angina and reduce the life threatening risks of coronary artery disease. Also called coronary artery bypass graft.
Regarding the body.
The outermost layer of an organ.
Cortical Blindness
Loss or injury incurred by the visual cortex, commonly through stroke or trauma, causing blindness.
Crohn Colitis
A chronic inflammatory disorder of the small and large intestines, but also affecting alternate digestive system components. Crohn's disease is usually diagnosed in teenage individuals or young adults, but can make its onset at any time. Crohn's disease varies in its extremity. It can take a chronic form, become a recurrent condition or cause minimal symptoms where medical treatment is not necessitated.
Crohn's disease
See Crohn Colitis.
The storing of cells, tissues or organs at temperatures low enough to maintain their viability for future use.
Procedure wherein abnormal cells or tissues are frozen and destroyed.
CT Scan
Abbreviation for Computed Tomography Scan.
An abnormal sac-like structure, of varied size, found within a tissue, containing liquid, gas or a semi-solid substance. Cysts may develop anywhere in the body.
Cystic Fibrosis
A genetic disease affecting the exocrine glands, marked by the production of abnormal secretions which lead to the build-up of mucous, resulting in the impairment of the pancreas, the intestine and the lungs. Without treatment, Cystic Fibrosis is fatal, but with proper treatment patients can live well into adulthood.