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Term Definition

A simple blood test that measures your average blood sugar over the last 3 months; important for controlling diabetes; also known as glycosylated hemoglobin or HbA1c

abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA)

an aneurysm in the lower part of the aorta that runs through the abdomen; AAAs account for 3 in 4 aortic aneurysms

Abdominal Obesity

Excess weight around a person's belly, resulting in an apple-shaped figure. Also called central obesity. It is defined as a waist measurement of more than 35 inches -40 inches for men


The surgical removal or destruction of tissue by electrocautery.

ACE inhibitors

a class of drugs that block the production of angiotensin (a hormone involved in blood vessel constriction); part of the basic treatment of heart failure, can also be used to treat high blood pressure; also called angiotensin converting enzyme inhibitors

Activities of daily living (ADL)

tasks of everyday life, including eating, dressing, getting into or out of a bed or chair, and using the bathroom; they often need to be relearned after a stroke

Acute coronary syndrome

A broad definition that includes typical heart attacks -AMI-, mild heart attacks -NSTEMI-, and unstable angina.

Acute Symptom

A sudden and typically severe attack.

Adrenal glands

Hormone-producing glands resting atop each kidney that secrete several hormones, including adrenaline and aldosterone.


A hormone produced by the adrenal glands that increases heart rate and blood pressure by narrowing the blood vessels, often during stressful situations. Also known as epinephrine.

alcoholic cardiomyopathy

heart muscle disease caused by heavy, long-term use of alcohol; can lead to heart failure


A hormone secreted by the outer portion of the adrenal glands that regulates the levels of potassium and sodium in the body.

Aldosterone antagonists

a class of drug used to treat high blood pressure and heart failure (as well as some hormone problems); they trigger the body to get rid of more salt and water, lowering blood pressure

Alpha blockers

Drugs that block the effects of stress hormones such as adrenaline preventing these hormones from narrowing the blood vessels, thereby lowering blood pressure.

Alpha-linoleic acid (ALA)

A polyunsaturated omega-3 fatty acid found in seed and nut oils. ALA is an essential fatty acid - your body can't make it so you must include it in your diet.

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