Glossary

Browse through glands, hormones and endocrine conditions.
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bisphosphonates

a class of drugs commonly used to treat osteoporosis. They work by preventing bone cells from breaking down.

body mass index

(BMI) a calculation used to determine a person's weight to height ratio. BMI is defined as weight (kg) divided by height (m2). The BMI of a normal weight adult is 20.0–24.9; overweight = 25.0–29.9; obese = 30.0–39.9; severe (or morbid) obesity = 40+.

beta-blockers

a class of medications that are particularly used to manage abnormal heart rhythms, and to protect the heart from a second heart attack after a first heart attack. They are also widely used to treat high blood pressure by blocking the action of the hormone adrenaline.

biochemical

refers to the chemical makeup of the body. Levels of certain biochemical markers found in the blood can indicate or rule out certain medical conditions.

birth canal

the passage through which a baby travels during labour and birth; includes the womb, cervix, vagina and vulva.

beta cells

a special group of cells found in the islets of Langerhans in the pancreas. Beta cells produce the hormone insulin, which they release into the bloodstream when the blood sugar level is high.

benign

the word benign is often used to refer to a medical condition that is not cancerous and usually will not become life-threatening. However, it may require treatment, e.g. a benign pituitary adenoma, to avoid health complications.

basal

referring background level of activity of a gland or muscle during a rest period.


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