Glossary – Diabetes and Other Endocrine and Metabolic Disorders
Adrenal cortex – the outer portion of the adrenal gland that secretes hormones that are vital to the body.
Adrenal gland – the pair of adrenal glands are located on top of both kidneys. Adrenal glands work hand-in-hand with the hypothalamus and pituitary gland.
Aldosterone – a hormone secreted by the adrenal cortex which affects blood pressure and saline balance.
Androgen hormone – a hormone secreted by the adrenal cortex which affects the development of male characteristics.
Antidiuretic hormone (also called vasopressin) – a hormone secreted by the pituitary gland which helps the body conserve the right amount of water.
Blood glucose – the main sugar that the body makes from food; cells cannot use glucose without the help of insulin.
Calcitonin – a hormone secreted by the thyroid gland which controls the levels of calcium and phosphorous in the blood.
Carbohydrates – a type of food, usually derived from plants; one of three nutrients that supply calories to the body; includes simple carbohydrates (sugar, fruit) and complex carbohydrates (vegetables, starches).
Cholesterol – a substance similar to fat that is found in the blood, muscles, liver, brain, and other body tissues.
Computed tomography scan (also called a CT or CAT scan) – a diagnostic imaging procedure that uses a combination of X-rays and computer technology to produce horizontal, or axial, images (often called slices) of the body. A CT scan shows detailed images of any part of the body, including the bones, muscles, fat, and organs. CT scans are more detailed than general X-rays.
Corticosteroids – hormones produced by the adrenal gland, consisting of hydrocortisone (or cortisol).
DiGeorge syndrome (also known as Shprintzen, velo-cardio-facial, and 22q11.2 deletion syndrome) – a genetic disease caused by a missing piece of chromosome material on chromosome #22 that results in many different health problems, and affects the normal fetal development of the heart, thymus, and parathyroid glands.
Estrogen – a group of hormones produced by the ovary, placenta, and testes that also stimulate secondary sexual characteristics in males and females. Estrogen plays an important role in a woman’s menstrual cycle.
Glucagon – a protein hormone secreted by the pancreas to stimulate the liver to produce glucose.
Glucose – a sugar in the blood and a source of energy for the body.
Gonadotropins – luteinizing hormone and follicle-stimulating hormone, produced by the pituitary gland.
Guillain-Barre syndrome (GBS) – a reversible condition that affects the nerves in the body. GBS can result in muscle weakness, pain, and even temporary paralysis of the facial, chest, and leg muscles. Paralysis of the chest muscles can lead to breathing problems.
Hermaphrodite – a person born with both male and female organs and sexual characteristics.
Hormones – chemical substances created by the body that control numerous body functions.
Hydrocortisone – a hormone secreted by the adrenal cortex which affects metabolism.
Hyperglycemia – a condition in which the blood sugar is higher than normal.
Hypoglycemia – a condition in which the blood sugar is lower than normal.
Hypothalamus – located in the brain, at the base of the optic chiasm. The hypothalamus secretes hormones that stimulate or suppress the release of hormones in the pituitary gland, in addition to controlling water balance, sleep, temperature, appetite, and blood pressure.
Insulin – a hormone released by the pancreas in response to increased levels of sugar in the blood.
Insulin-dependent diabetes – a condition in which the body’s immune system destroys the cells in the pancreas that produce insulin. Insulin allows glucose to enter the cells of the body to provide energy. Persons with type 1 diabetes must take daily insulin injections.
Insulin-resistance – partial blocking of the effect of insulin.
Intravenous – introducing a fluid into the bloodstream through a vein (usually in the patient’s forearm).
Isthmus – tissue that connects the two lobes of the thyroid.
Ketone – break down product of fat that accumulates in the blood as a result of inadequate insulin or inadequate calorie intake.
Kidney – the pair of kidneys are located near the middle of the back, just below the rib cage. The kidneys process the blood to sift out waste products and extra water. This waste and extra water becomes urine, which is stored in the bladder.
Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) – a diagnostic procedure that uses a combination of large magnets, radiofrequencies, and a computer to produce detailed images of organs and structures within the body.
Metabolism – the chemical activity that occurs in cells, releasing energy from nutrients, or using energy to create other substances, such as proteins.
Noninsulin-dependent diabetes – a condition in which the body either makes too little insulin or cannot properly use the insulin it makes to convert blood glucose to energy. Type 2 diabetes may be controlled with diet, exercise, and weight loss, or may require oral medications and/or insulin injections.
Nutrients – proteins, carbohydrates, fats, vitamins, and minerals provided by food and necessary for growth and the maintenance of life.
Osteogenesis imperfecta (OI) – a genetic disorder that is also characterized by easily fractured bones.
Osteoporosis – a progressive condition in which bone density is lost, or there is insufficient bone formation.
Ovary – a female’s ovaries are located on both sides of the uterus, below the opening of the fallopian tubes (tubes that extend from the uterus to the ovaries). In addition to containing the egg cells necessary for reproduction, the ovaries also produce estrogen and progesterone.
Oxytocin – a hormone secreted by the pituitary gland which plays a role in childbirth.
Pancreas – located across the back of the abdomen, behind the stomach. The pancreas plays a role in digestion, as well as hormone production.
Parathyroid glands – located in front of the neck, below the larynx (voice box). The parathyroid glands play a role in the regulation of the body’s calcium balance.
Pineal body – located below the corpus callosum, a part of the brain. The pineal body produces the hormone melatonin.
Pituitary gland – located at the base of the brain. No larger than a pea, the gland controls many functions of the other endocrine glands.
Placenta – organ that grows in the uterus during pregnancy and connects the blood supplies of the mother and baby.
Polyp – a growth that projects from the lining of mucous membrane, such as the intestine.
Progesterone – a hormone secreted by the ovaries which affects many aspects of the female body, including menstrual cycles and pregnancy.
Prolactin – a hormone secreted by the pituitary gland which affects growth of the mammary (related to the breasts) glands.
Radioisotope scan – uses radioactive substances introduced into the body to create an image of the functioning adrenal gland.
Risk factors – traits that make it more likely that a person will develop an illness.
Sarcoidosis – a rare inflammation of the lymph nodes and other tissues throughout the body.
Suprarenal glands – another name for the adrenal glands.
Testis – a male’s testes are located in a pouch that hangs suspended outside his body. The testes produce testosterone and sperm.
Thymus – located in the upper part of the chest and produces T-lymphocytes (white blood cells that fight infections and destroy abnormal cells).
Thyroid – located in front of the neck, below the larynx (voice box). The thyroid plays an important role in the body’s metabolism and also plays a role in the regulation of the body’s calcium balance.
Thyroid scan – uses a radioactive substance to create an image of the thyroid as it is functioning.
Thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) – a hormone that helps to increase the size, number, and activity of the thyroid cells; stimulates the release of hormones that affect a person’s metabolism and that are essential for normal growth and development.
Thyroxine (T4) – a hormone secreted by the thyroid gland which regulates metabolism.
Triiodothyronine (T3) – a hormone secreted by the thyroid gland which regulates metabolism; exerts the same biological effects as thyroxine, but is generally more potent and the onset of its effect is more rapid.
Type 1 diabetes – a condition in which the body’s immune system destroys the cells in the pancreas that produce insulin. Insulin allows glucose to enter the cells of the body to provide energy. Persons with type 1 diabetes must take daily insulin injections.
Type 2 diabetes – a condition in which the body either makes too little insulin or cannot properly use the insulin it makes to convert blood glucose to energy. Type 2 diabetes may be controlled with diet, exercise, and weight loss, or may require oral or injected medications and/or insulin injections.
Ultrasound – a diagnostic technique which uses high-frequency sound waves to create an image of the internal organs.