Glossary
Chapter 11
acrylamide a chemical produced in carbohydrate-rich foods, such as potatoes and grains, when cooked at high temperatures. A known animal carcinogen, acrylamide is also toxic to the nervous system of both animals and humans. Also used in manufacturing and construction.
AIDS acquired immune deficiency syndrome; caused by infection with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), which is transmitted primarily by sexual contact, contact with infected blood, needles shared among drug users, or fluids transferred from an infected mother to her fetus or infant.
aneurysm the ballooning out of an artery wall at a point that is weakened by deterioration.
anticarcinogens compounds in foods that act in any of several ways to oppose the formation of cancer.
aorta the large, primary artery that conducts blood from the heart to the body's smaller arteries.
atherosclerosis the most common form of cardiovascular disease; characterized by plaques along the inner walls of the arteries. The term arteriosclerosis refers to all forms of hardening of the arteries and includes some rare diseases.
bioterrorism the intentional spreading of disease-causing organisms or agricultural pests as a political weapon to produce fear and intimidate others.
caloric effect the drop in cancer incidence seen whenever intake of food energy (calories) is restricted.
cancer a disease in which cells multiply out of control and disrupt normal functioning of one or more organs.
carcinogen a cancer-causing substance.
carcinogenesis the origination or beginning of cancer.
cruciferous vegetables vegetables with cross-shaped blossoms—the cabbage family. Their intake is associated with low cancer rates in human populations. Examples include broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, rutabagas, and turnips.
degenerative diseases chronic, irreversible diseases characterized by degeneration of body organs due in part to such personal lifestyle elements as poor food choices, smoking, alcohol use, and a lack of physical activity. Also called lifestyle diseases, chronic diseases, or the diseases of old age.
diastolic pressure pressure the second figure in a blood pressure reading, which reflects the arterial pressure when the heart is between beats.
embolism an embolus that causes sudden closure of a blood vessel.
embolus a thrombus that breaks loose and travels through the blood vessels.
heart attack the event in which the vessels that feed the heart muscle become closed off by an embolism, thrombus, or other cause with resulting sudden tissue death. A heart attack is also called a myocardial infarction.
hypertension high blood pressure.
infectious diseases diseases that are caused by bacteria, viruses, parasites, and other microbes and can be transmitted from one person to another through air, water, or food; by contact; or through vector organisms such as mosquitoes and fleas.
initiation an event, probably occurring in a cell's genetic material, caused by radiation or by a chemical carcinogen that can give rise to cancer.
macrophages large scavenger cells of the immune system that engulf debris and remove it.
metabolic syndrome a combination of characteristic factors—high fasting blood glucose or insulin resistance, central obesity, hypertension, low blood HDL cholesterol, and elevated blood triglycerides—that greatly increase a person's risk of developing CVD. Also called insulin resistance syndrome or syndrome X.
metastasis movement of cancer cells from one body part to another, usually by way of the body fluids.
plaques mounds of lipid material mixed with smooth muscle cells and calcium that develop in the artery walls in atherosclerosis. The same word is also used to describe the accumulation of a different kind of deposits on teeth, which promote dental caries.
platelets tiny cell-like fragments in the blood, important in blood clot formation.
promoters factors that do not initiate cancer but speed up its development once initiation has taken place.
risk factors factors known to be related to (or correlated with) diseases but not proved to be causal.
stroke the sudden shutting off of the blood flow to the brain by a thrombus, an embolism, or the bursting of a vessel (hemorrhage).
systolic pressure the first figure in a blood pressure reading, which reflects arterial pressure caused by the contraction of the heart's left ventricle.
thrombosis a thrombus that has grown enough to close off a blood vessel. A coronary thrombosis closes off a vessel that feeds the heart muscle. A cerebral thrombosis closes off a vessel that feeds the brain.
thrombus a stationary blood clot.