Amino acid: A biochemical building block that is connected in chains to form proteins. It consists of carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen, and oxygen. Some amino acids contain also sulfur.
Angina pectoris: A condition of the heart marked by sharp chest pains and a feeling of being suffocated. It is usually a symptom of coronary heart disease brought about by a diminished supply of blood to the heart muscle.
Angiographic: Of or having to do with angiography.
Angiography: Injection of a contrast agent into the blood vessels and following X-ray examination of the blood vessels.
Anti-coagulative: Preventing blood clotting.
Antioxidant: Any substance that prevents oxidation by scavenging oxygen or other aggressive agents.
Anti-oxidative: Preventing oxidation and thus damage through oxidation.
Arrhythmia: An irregular heartbeat.
Arterial: Of or having to do with an artery or arteries.
Arteriosclerosis: A progressive thickening and hardening of the walls of the arteries causing a decrease or loss of circulation.
Arteriosclerotic deposits: Arteriosclerotic plaques.
Arteriosclerotic plaques: Swellings within the artery walls which narrow the artery and thus restrict the blood flow. The swellings are composed of deposited fibrin, lipoprotein(a), calcium, and arterial muscle cells.
Artery: Arteries are the tubes through which all parts of the body are supplied with fresh blood containing oxygen and vital nutrients.
Ascorbic acid: Vitamin C.
Balloon catheter angioplasty: An artificial widening of an artery from its inside by means of a tube with an expandable balloon.
Biochemical: Of or having to do with biochemistry.
Biochemistry: The chemistry of living organisms.
Biosynthesis: The formation of a compound by the chemical union of simpler compounds in a living organism, for example the formation of a protein by the chemical union of amino acids.
Blood vessel: The blood tubes, either supplying blood loaded with oxygen and nutrients to the cells throughout the body (arteries), or returning unloaded blood to the heart and to the lungs (veins).
Bypass surgery: Bridging a narrowed or blocked part of a heart artery by inserting a piece of vein cut out of one leg. These added pieces will themselves frequently become narrowed or blocked after some time as arteriosclerosis develops also in these veins.
Capillary: Any of the smallest blood tubes in the body with a very slender, hairlike opening.
Carbohydrate: Sugar and starch are carbohydrates. Potatoes, wheat, rice, and corn contain much starch.
Cardiac: Of or having to do with the heart: cardiac disease, cardiac arteries.
Cardiomyopathy: This medical term means “heart muscle disease”. Please see “congestive heart failure”.
Cardiovascular disease (CVD): A progressive thickening and hardening of the walls of the arteries (arteriosclerosis), including the arteries supplying the heart, which decreases circulation in the heart muscle. A loss of circulation in one ore more heart arteries causes a heart attack.
Cell: The extremely small, basic unit of living matter of which all plants and animals are made. A human body contains approximately 50 trillion cells. The human body has blood cells, muscle cells, nerve cells, and other kinds. Cells vary in size and shape but are generally microscopic. Their diameter is 10 to 50 micrometers (millionth of meters). The cells are the biochemical factories of the body assembling and dismantling thousands of different substances.
Cell membranes: The walls of the cells.
Cellular: Of or having to do with cells, concerning the cells, in the cells, etc.
Cholesterol: Cholesterol, a wax-like colorless substance, is one of the most important biochemical building blocks in the body, the biochemical foundation for a huge number of substances without which your body would not be alive. Cholesterol plays a vital part in the structure of every cell (the basic living unit of the body), is a key molecule for building and maintaining the brain cells and all other cells of the nervous system. Too little cholesterol also appears to be related to the onset of Alzheimer’s disease. In addition, cholesterol is the mother substance for the body’s production of a large number of vitamins and hormones. For example, all female and male sex hormones are made from cholesterol being responsible for fertility, muscular strength, and potency.
Collagen: A fibrous protein that provides stability and strength to blood vessels, bones, cartilages, eyes, heart, skin, teeth, tendons, and, in fact, essentially to all parts of the body.
Congestive: With congestion, with a blood congestion, with retention of blood in the heart.
Congestive heart failure (CHF): Heart failure or congestive heart failure or cardiomyopathy (meaning “heart muscle disease”) is a deficiency disease of the heart muscle characterized by decreasing contractive performance, enlargement of heart chambers, and impaired blood circulation in different organs of the body including the kidneys. The symptoms are shortness of breath, edema and exhaustion. More than 15 million people worldwide suffer from this disease.
Connective tissue: At least 30 percent of the tissues in the body do not consist of organs, such as lungs, liver, kidneys, etc., but of a network of strong collagen and elastic (elastin) fibers forming the connective tissue or extracellular matrix. This is the structural tissue that holds your body together, maintains its form, maintains the form of the organs and holds them in place. Connective tissue is also the main building material of the artery walls, which gives the arteries stability and elasticity and thus keeps them healthy. Moreover, throughout the body, the connective tissue transports nutrients from the capillaries to the cells of the organs, transports waste products from the cells to the capillaries and lymphatic vessels, acts as a macromolecular filter protecting the cells against pollutants and has vital defense functions against invaders, such as bacteria or viruses.
Contract: To make smaller; shrink; shorten: to contract a muscle.
Contractility: The ability of the heart muscle to contract and thus pump blood through the blood tubes of the body.
Contractive: Of or having to do with contraction.
Coronary arteries: The blood vessels (tubes) supplying the heart muscle with fresh blood, including oxygen and nutrients.
Coronary artery disease (CAD): Progressive arteriosclerosis in the coronary (heart) arteries causing a decrease of circulation in the heart muscle. A loss of circulation causes heart attack.
Coronary heart disease (CHD): Progressive arteriosclerosis in the coronary (heart) arteries causing a decrease of circulation in the heart muscle. A loss of circulation causes heart attack.
Diastolic blood pressure: The diastolic pressure is the pressure in the arteries when the heart is relaxed.
Diuretic: Any drug extracting water from the body in order to remove edema from legs, lungs, etc. Diuretics leach out also vital nutrients.
Edema: An abnormal accumulation of watery fluid in the tissues or cavities of the body, often causing visible swelling.
Endothelium-derived relaxing factor (EDRF): The endo-thelium cells produce one molecule of EDRF from one molecule of the amino acid L-arginine. EDRF is nitric oxide. It is used as a messenger substance. It effects are: relaxation of the arterial walls thereby increasing the arterial diameter, increasing blood circulation, and reducing high blood pressure.
Endothelial: Of or having to do with the endothelium.
Endothelium: The inner coat of an artery consisting of cells, named endothelium cells.
Enzyme: An enzyme is a protein that serves as a biochemical tool. Numerous enzymes exist in the biochemical ‘tool box’ of an organism. There may be as many as fifty thousand different kinds of enzymes in a single human body. The building of strong muscles, maintaining smooth elastic hair, nails and skin, detoxifying alcohol and other aggressive substances, killing bacteria, obtaining energy from food, in short, every biochemical process in the body that enables the body to live is performed by enzymes.
Epidemic: Noun: The rapid spreading of a disease so that many people have it at the same time. Adjective: Affecting many people at the same time, widespread.
Fatty acid: Different fatty acids together with glycerine form nutritional fats such as butter or vegetable oils.
Fibrin: A blood protein involved in forming blood clots. Also involved in forming arteriosclerotic plaques.
Fibrinogen: A preliminary form of fibrin.
Fibrinolytic: Dissolving fibrin and thus blood clots.
Genetic defect: An error or an omission in one of the genes. The genes are the body’s biochemical ‘design specification’ and ‘work instruction’ sheets located in the cells.
Genetic disease: A disease caused by an error or an omission in one of the genes. The genes are the body’s biochemical design specification and work instruction sheets (blue prints) located in the cells.
HDL: High density lipoprotein is a heavier lipoprotein particle. It is a carrier protein that consists of approximately 50 percent protein (carrier), 22 percent phospholipids (binder), 20 percent cholesterol (cargo) and 8 percent triglycerides (cargo). It loads cholesterol taken up from food or given off by the cells, and transports it to the liver.
Heart attack: A sudden failure of the heart to function properly that is caused by a loss of circulation in a part of the heart muscle, frequently leading to death.
Heart disease: Progressive arteriosclerosis causing a decrease of circulation in the heart muscle. A loss of circulation causes heart attack.
High blood pressure (hypertonia, hypertension): Of all cardiovascular disease conditions, this is the single largest epidemic. Systolic pressures (pressure peaks caused by contractions of the heart) of 140 mm Hg and diastolic pressures (the diastolic pressure is that in the arteries when the heart is relaxed) of 90 mm Hg are generally regarded as the upper limits of normal blood pressure; “mm Hg” is a measuring unit of pressure referring to a column of mercury that becomes longer or shorter depending on the pressure.
Homocysteine: A harmful decomposition product of the amino acid methionine. Normally the homocysteine blood levels are low. But if its decomposition is impeded— usually because of a lack of biochemical tools such as vitamins B2, B6, B12, and folic acid—homocysteine accumulates. Elevated homocysteine levels are accompanied by an increased risk of arteriosclerotic deterioration of the blood vessel walls.
Hormone: A biochemical substance controlling cell and tissue functions.
Hydroxylation: To connect a group of oxygen and hydrogen to a compound.
Hypertension: High blood pressure.
Hypertonia: High blood pressure.
Inhibitor: Any substance that slows down or hinders a chemical reaction.
Infarction: See “myocardial infarction”.
Inverse correlation: Opposite mutual relation of two or more things.
Ischemia: Shortfall in blood supply, for example in the heart arteries due to arteriosclerosis.
Ischemic: Of or having to do with ischemia.
LDL: Low density lipoprotein is a lighter lipoprotein particle. It is a carrier protein and consists approximately of 21 percent protein (carrier), 25 percent phospholipids (binder), 45 percent cholesterol (cargo), and 9 percent triglycerides (cargo). It binds mainly with cholesterol that has been manufactured by the liver and transports it from the liver to cells.
Lipases: Enzymes (biochemical tools) able to decompose triglycerides (fats).
Lipoprotein: Lipoproteins are spherical particles consisting of a globule of lipid (fat) molecules surrounded by a protein shell. Lipoproteins are transporter proteins supplying all cells, tissues and organs with fatty acids and cholesterol.
Lipoprotein(a): Lipoprotein(a) is a lipoprotein with two protein shells and one lipid ‘core’, very similar in lipid composition to LDL, consisting mainly of cholesterol. Lipoprotein(a) is a very adhesive particle; “(a)” stands for “adhesive”. Lipoprotein(a), not LDL, is the main risk factor for the development of arteriosclerosis and heart disease or stroke. Lipoprotein(a) is mostly abbreviated to Lp(a).
Metabolic: Of or having to do with metabolism.
Metabolism: The biochemical processes in living organisms that change food into energy, build materials for growth or maintenance, and break down waste products.
Mineral: Minerals are sodium, potassium, magnesium, calcium, chlorine, phosphorus.
Mitochondria: The power stations inside the cells producing cellular energy.
Molecule: The smallest particle into which a substance can be divided without chemical change.
Moribund: Being in the state of dying, approaching death.
Mortality: Death rate.
Myocardial infarction: Interruption of blood supply and heart attack.
Nanogram: 1 billionth of a gram.
Nitric oxide: A gas consisting of nitrogen and oxygen used in the body to relax arterial walls.
Nutrient: A nourishing substance, especially as an element or ingredient of a foodstuff.
Organ: Any part of an animal or plant that is composed of various tissues organized to do certain things in the organism. The eyes, heart, kidneys, liver, lungs, etc. are organs of the body.
Organelle: A minute specialized part of a cell, analogous in function to an organ of higher animals.
Organism: A living body having organs that work together to carry on the processes of life; individual plant or animal.
Oxidative: Of or having to do with the action of oxygen.
Oxygen: A gas without color, odor, or taste that forms about one fifth of the air and that is essential for breathing. It is necessary for combustion and for biochemical generation of energy. Oxygen can also be very poisonous. It can damage or destroy vital structures, such as cell walls and artery walls, if there are not enough protecting substances (vitamin C, vitamin E, etc.) present in the body. This situation is comparable to a car: If there were no oxygen, it would never rust, but it would also never run.
Pathological conditions: Diseased conditions, diseases.
Peripheral vascular disease: Arteriosclerosis and subsequent circulatory problems in the legs, kidneys, eyes, etc.
Permeability: Micro-porosity of the capillary walls to provide a passage for nutrients.
Physical: Of or having to do with the body.
Platelet: A very small blood cell, shaped like a disc. Platelets help to clot the blood in order to stop a bleeding.
Platelet aggregation: Clotting of platelets.
Premortal: Occurring just before death.
Primate: Any of the highest order of mammals, including human beings, apes, monkeys, and lemurs.
Prognosis: Forecast of the probable course of a disease.
Protein: A large molecule made up of a string of connected amino acids.
Renal: Of or having to do with the kidneys.
Smooth muscle cells: A special kind of muscle cells found, for example, in the walls of the intestines or in the walls of the arteries.
Stenosis: A narrowed part of a blood vessel.
Stroke: A sudden, serious illness that occurs when an artery supplying blood to the brain is blocked or bursts, leading to a loss of mobility or the ability to speak clearly, or to death.
Structural formula: Chemical formula showing not only the components, but also the three-dimensional form of a molecule.
Symptom: Sign or indication.
Syndrome: A set of symptoms.
Synthesis: A chemical or biochemical manufacturing. The formation of a compound by the chemical union of simpler compounds, for example, the formation of a protein by the chemical union of amino acids.
Synthesize: To manufacture chemically or biochemically.
Systolic blood pressure: Pressure peak in the arteries caused by a contraction of the heart.
Tissue: A group of similar cells, united to perform a specific function, e.g. muscle tissue. Many tissues contain also fibers.
Tomography: X-ray photography of a structure in a certain layer of tissue in the body.
Trace element: Chemical elements like chromium, selenium, or zinc. These elements are indispensable to the body, but are needed only in small amounts (trace amounts).
Triglycerides: The usual form of any nutritional fat, such as that found in butter or sunflower oil.
Vascular: Of or having to do with blood vessels.
Vascular muscle cells: Muscle cells in the walls of the arteries that are able to constrict or relax the arteries, resulting in a smaller or wider inner diameter.
Vasoconstrictoric: Of or having to do with vasoconstriction.
Vasoconstriction: Tightening of the artery wall resulting in a smaller inner diameter of the artery.
Vasodilatative: Of or having to do with vasodilation.
Vasodilation: Relaxation of the artery wall resulting in a wider inner diameter of the artery.
Vein: The blood vessels that return blood from which the oxygen has been unloaded to the heart and to the lungs.
Vitamin: Vitamins are the vital biochemical tools of the body with which the body builds up its structure, including its cells and tissues—muscles, brain, etc.—and with which it breaks down and detoxifies its waste products. Without vitamins, the body would die quickly. The body cannot manufacture vitamins; they have to be absorbed through food and—because the food today is generally depleted—via vitamin supplements.
World Health Organization (WHO): An agency of the United Nations (UN) that is concerned with international public health. It was established on 7 April 1948, headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland.