Glossary

acromegaly – excessive growth due to the production of excessive growth
hormone by the pituitary gland.

adrenal cortex – the outer portion of the adrenal gland that secretes hormones that are vital to the body.

androgen hormone – a hormone that primarily influences the growth and development of the male reproductive system.

aldosterone – a hormone secreted by the adrenal cortex which affects blood
pressure and saline balance.

amyloidosis – a rare disease which causes the buildup of amyloid, a protein
and starch, in tissues and organs.

basal metabolic rate (BMR) – a measurement of energy required to keep the body functioning at rest. Measured in calories, metabolic rates increase with exertion, stress, fear, and illness.

bromocriptine – a drug which acts on hormone-producing tumors to suppress its hormone-producing function.

calcitonin – a hormone secreted by the thyroid gland which controls the levels of calcium and phosphorous in the blood.

computed tomography (CT or CAT scan) – a non-invasive procedure that takes cross-sectional images of the brain or other internal organs; to detect any abnormalities that may not show up on an ordinary x-ray.

corticosteroids – hormones produced by the adrenal gland, consisting of hydrocortisone and corticosterone.

endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (ERCP) – this procedure involves inserting an endoscope (viewing tube) through the stomach and into the small intestine. A special dye injected during this procedures shows the ducts in the biliary system.

estrogen – a hormone secreted by the ovaries which affect many aspects of
the female body, including menstrual cycles and pregnancy.

glucagon – a protein hormone secreted by the pancreas to stimulate the liver to produce glucose.

gonads – ovaries and testes.

gonadotropins – luteinizing hormone and follicle-stimulating hormone,
produced by the pituitary gland.

hormones – chemical substances created by the body that control numerous
body functions.

hydrocortisone – a hormone secreted by the adrenal cortex which affects
metabolism.

hypothalamus – the portion of the brain that stimulates the pituitary gland.

insulin – a hormone released by the pancreas in response to increased levels of sugar in the blood.

intravenous – introducing a fluid into the bloodstream through a vein (usually in the patient's forearm).

islets of Langerhans –  pancreas cells that produce insulin and glucagon -- important regulators of sugar metabolism.

isthmus – tissue that connects the two lobes of the thyroid.

magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) – a non-invasive procedure that produces two-dimensional view of an internal organ or structure, especially the brain and spinal cord.

metabolism – the chemical activity that occurs in cells, releasing energy from nutrients or using energy to create other substances, such as proteins.

oxytocin – a hormone secreted by the pituitary gland which plays a role in
childbirth.

placenta – this organ grows in the uterus during pregnancy and connects the blood supplies of the mother and baby.

polyps – a growth that projects from the lining of mucous membrane, such as the intestine.

progesterone – a hormone secreted by the ovaries which affect many
aspects of the female body, including menstrual cycles and pregnancy.

prolactin – a hormone secreted by the pituitary gland which affects growth
of the mammatory glands.

radioisotope scan – uses radioactive substances introduced into the body to create an image of the functioning adrenal gland.

sarcoidosis – a rare inflammation of the lymph nodes and other tissues
throughout the body.

sella turcica – bony structure that houses the pituitary gland.

suprarenal glands – another name for the adrenal glands.

thyroid scan –  uses a radioactive substance to create an image of the thyroid as it is functioning.

thyroxine (T4) – a hormone secreted by the thyroid gland which regulates metabolism.

triiodothyronine (T3) – a hormone secreted by the thyroid gland which regulates metabolism.

ultrasound – a diagnostic technique which uses high-frequency sound waves to create an image of the internal organs.

x-ray – electromagnetic energy used to produce images of bones and internal organs onto film.

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