Houston Methodist. Leading Medicine.
Houston Methodist. Leading Medicine

Houston Methodist DeBakey Heart & Vascular Center

Words to Know

A1C TEST
A measurement of diabetes control which reflects average blood glucose levels for the last 60 to 90 days.

ANGINA
Chest pain or discomfort due to coronary artery disease.

ATHEROSCLEROSIS
The process in which fat, cholesterol, calcium and other substances build up in the inner lining of an artery.

ATRIAL FIBRILLATION
When the heart's two small upper chambers, the atria, quiver instead of beating regularly.

C-REACTIVE PROTEIN
An antibody produced by the liver as a result of chronic inflammation; elevated levels may indicate increased risk for heart disease or heart attack.

CARDIOMYOPATHY
A disease in which the heart muscle becomes inflamed and doesn't work as well as it should.

CHOLESTEROL
Made by the liver and found in animal products such as meat and eggs; too much in the body can lead to coronary artery disease.

CORONARY ARTERY DISEASE
A buildup of fatty material in the wall of the coronary artery, which causes narrowing of the artery.

DIABETES
When the body does not produce the right amount of insulin, the hormone that allows cells to absorb sugar from the bloodstream.

DIASTOLIC PRESSURE
The pressure of blood inside the arteries when the heart is at rest; the bottom number in a blood pressure reading.

DYSPNEA
Difficulty breathing.

DYSRHYTHMIAS
Disorders of the regular, rhythmic beating of the heart.

EDEMA
Swelling, commonly in the legs, ankles and feet.

EJECTION FRACTION
The amount or percent of blood pumped from the heart with each contraction or beat.

FIBER
A substance found in plant foods, also called "roughage" or "bulk"; helps in the digestive process and may also help lower blood cholesterol.

HDL (HIGH DENSITY LIPOPROTEIN) CHOLESTEROL
A particle in the blood that carries cholesterol and helps reduce atherosclerosis; "good" cholesterol.

HEART ATTACK
When a part of the heart muscle dies because of a sudden decrease in blood flow to that area of the heart.

HEART FAILURE/CONGESTIVE HEART FAILURE
When the heart has weakened and is not able to adequately pump blood, causing excessive fluid retention, which often leads to swelling of the legs and ankles and congestion in the lungs.

HYPERTENSION
High blood pressure (the pressure of blood inside the arteries when the heart beats).

INSULIN
A hormone made in the pancreas which helps the body use glucose (sugar) as a source of energy.

LDL (LOW DENSITY LIPOPROTEIN) CHOLESTEROL
A particle in the blood containing cholesterol and thought to be responsible for atherosclerosis; "bad" cholesterol.

MYOCARDIAL INFARCTION
A heart attack or when a part of the heart muscle dies because of a sudden decrease in blood flow to that area of the heart.

PULMONARY EDEMA
Fluid in lung tissues, often caused by congestive heart failure.

SATURATED FAT
A type of fat that tends to raise blood cholesterol levels; mainly found in animal-based foods and usually solid at room temperature; examples: butter, lard, meat fat, solid shortening, palm and coconut oils.

SODIUM
A mineral that directly affects the body's water balance.

STRESS TEST
A test that examines the function of the heart.

SYSTOLIC PRESSURE
The pressure of blood inside arteries when the heart contracts; the top number in a blood pressure reading.

TRIGLYCERIDES
Fats normally present in the blood that come from food, excessive weight gain, consuming too much fat, alcohol or carbohydrates may increase blood triglyceride levels.

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