Dictionary

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There are currently 73 names in this directory
Acute Hepatitis
Liver inflammation due to a viral infection (or other cause) that doesn’t last more than six months. Beyond that duration, one speak about chronic hepatitis.

Aetiology
Branch of medical science concerned with the causes and origins of diseases.

Allicine
Organosulphuric component (organic compound containing at least one sulfur atom), present in garlic or onions.

Antibody
Immune defense (immunoglobulin) produced by the B Lymphocytes. It bind to the undesirable foreign substance (antigen) in order to neutralize it.

Ascites
Accumulation of fluid in the peritoneal cavity (abdomen).

Asterixis
Involuntary jerking movement in the hands elicited by extending the arm; result from lapses of sustained muscular tone. It is a sign of a sign of hepatic insufficiency. Synonym of “flapping tremor”.

Asthenia
Medical term for the condition known as weakness.

Asymptomatic
Having or showing no symptoms of disease.

Autoantibody
An autoantibody is an antibody produced by the immune system that is directed against one of the individual’s own protein. That mechanism characterizes autoimmune diseases.

Autoimmune disease
Autoimmune diseases are caused by a dysfunction of the immune system which attacks normal body constituents.

Autoimmune hepatitis
Liver inflammatory disease caused by the presence of autoantibodies directed against the liver cells.

Bile
Fluid produced by the liver cells which aid the digestion of lipids. It is stored in the gallbladder.

Bilirubin
Pigment derived from the destruction of the blood cells. In excess it causes jaundice (icterus) in case of liver disease or when the gallbladder cannot drain the bilirubin.

Biopsy
Extraction of sample cells or tissue (liver) for microscopic examination.

Chronic hepatitis
Liver inflammation with a duration of more than six months. Transaminases remain at a high level during more that period of time.

Cirrhosis
Uncontrolled regeneration of the liver that combines scar tissue (fibrosis) and cell clusters that do not respect the normal architecture (nodules).

Coagulation
Blood coagulation is a mechanism that allows the body to form blood clots to repair damaged vessels.

Coinfection
Simultaneous infection of a person by more than pathogen species.

Compensated Cirrhosis
Compensated cirrhosis means that the body still functions fairly well and there is no sign of complication (Ascites, haemorrhage…).

Cytolysis
Destruction of cells. In the case of liver cells (hepatocytes), it releases the transaminases (ASAT, ALAT) in the blood flow.

Diabetes
Diabetes is a disorder of assimilation, use and storage of sugars provided by diet. It leads to a high glucose in blood.

DNA
Deoxyribonucleic acid. DNA molecules consist of two biopolymer of nucleotides strands coiled around each other to form a double helix. DNA stores genetic information of humans as well as viruses like the one of B hepatitis.

Endometrium
Inner layer of the uterus. Its function is to receive the fertilized egg and to allow pregnancy.

Fibrosis
Formation of excess scar tissue when hepatic cells are have been damaged.

Flapping Tremor
See Asterixis

Gallbladder
Organ where the continuously produced bile by the liver is stored.

Gamma-GT
Gamma-glatamyl transpeptidases, is an enzyme produced mainly by the liver.

Glutathione
A molecule present throughout the body, its function is to protect cells against oxidation, and unstable molecules, called "free radicals". Glutathione also helps to detoxify the body from heavy metals.

Glycogen
Polysaccharide of glucose chains, it is the chief carbohydrate storage material in the body, principally in the liver and muscles.

H.B.V.
Hepatitis B virus.

H.C.V.
Hepatitis C virus.

Hemochromatosis
Also known as iron overload, hemochromatosis is responsible for excessive absorption of iron in the body, that accumulate in the liver.

Hepatic encephalopathy
Neurologic disorders indicating a liver failure. It may lead to hepatic coma.

Hepatitis
Liver inflammation often due to a virus infection and sometimes to other causes.

Hepatitis B
Inflammatory conditions of the liver caused by the hepatitis B virus.

Hepatitis C
Inflammatory conditions of the liver caused by the hepatitis C virus.

Hepatocyte
Main liver cell responsible of the principal functions of the liver.

Hepatologist
Doctor specialized in hepatology.

Hepatology
Branch of medicine specialized in the study of liver, gallbladder, biliary tree, and pancreas.

Hepatomegaly
Condition of having an increased liver volume.

Hypertension
Also known as high blood pressure (HBP), hypertension is a condition in which the blood pressure in the arteries is elevated. It is usually measured with a manometer (sphygmomanometer).

Inflammation
Local response to harmful stimulus.

Jaundice or Icterus
Yellowing of the skin, the mucous membranes (especially conjunctivae) as a result of an increased level of bilirubin in blood.

Lobules of liver
Liver is divided in small functional units called lobules. Each of them is of polyhedral shape having a size of roughly 1 to 2 millimetres.

Metabolism
All biochemical processes taking place in the body that allow it to maintain its structure.

Myocardial infarction
Commonly known as a heart attack, is the irreversible necrosis (destruction) of a part of the heart muscle secondary to an obstruction of a coronary artery.

NAFLD
Non-alcoholic fatty liver diseases include pure steatosis and Non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH).

NASH
Non-alcoholic Steatohepatitis is a liver disease that associates a steatosis (fat storage) and hepatitis. There are always liver function test abnormalities.

Oesophageal varices
Condition where the blood vessels in the oesophagus or stomach abnormally dilate because of high blood pressure in the portal vein which brings the blood of the digestive tract to the liver.

Osteoarthritis
Local breakdown of the joint cartilage.

P.C.R.
Polymerase Chain Reaction is a technique used to amplify one or few copies of a piece of DNA or RNA which allows to detect viruses in blood.

Palmar erythema
Reddening of the palms that disappears to pressure. As spider angioma, palmar erythema can be a sign of hepatic insufficiency.

Percutaneous Liver Biopsy
Procedure using a long needle into the liver to obtain a specimen of liver tissue for microscopy analysis.

Portal hypertension
High blood pressure in the hepatic portal system that can be caused by increased vascular resistance due to cirrhosis.

Portal tract, (also known as portal triads)
Parts of the liver seen on a microscope view, they are regularly distributed at the vertices of the hepatic lobule and they contain a bile duct, and branches of the hepatic artery and hepatic portal vein.

Primary biliary cirrhosis
Disease of the biliary tract that manly affect women. It is not in fact always cirrhosis. A better term is “primary biliary cholangitis.

Primary sclerosing cholangitis (PSC)
Results from inflammation and fibrosis in bile ducts. May be secondary or primitive, depending on whether the cause of biliary lesion is identified or not.

RNA
Ribonucleic acid. Single strand chain of nucleotides component of genetic information of C hepatitis virus.

Selenium
Chemical element close to sulfur. It is a mineral, a nutrient consisting of pure mineral elements which, in very small quantities, is necessary for our organism.

Sleep apnea
Ventilation disorder characterized by unusually frequent pauses in breathing (apneas) during sleep. Risk factors for sleep apnea include being overweight.

Spider angioma
Swollen blood vessels found beneath the skin surface (upper part of the trunk and face), containing a central red spot and reddish extensions which radiate outwards. It disappears to pressure. As palmar erythema, spider angioma can be a sign of hepatic insufficiency.

Steatosis
Hepatic steatosis is the abnormal retention of fat in the liver. It means an accumulation of triglycerides fat in the liver cells (hepatocytes)

Storage disease
Metabolic diseases that are characterized by an abnormal build-up of various toxic materials in the body’s cells often as a result of enzyme deficiencies (genetically transmitted). A well-known example is the hemochromatosis (iron).

Stroke
The sudden death of brain cells due to lack of oxygen, caused by blockage of blood flow (ischemic stroke or brain infarction) or rupture of an artery to the brain (hemorrhagic stroke).

Sulfur
Chemical element found (in organic form) in certain foods, such as garlic, shallots, or leeks. It is present in all the cells of our body. In the liver, it participates to detoxification.

Transaminases or aminotransferases
Enzymes (ASAT and ALAT) contained by liver cells (hepatocytes). They are at increased level in blood in case of hepatitis.

Triglycerides
Triglycerides, as cholesterol, are part of the lipids.

Viraemia
Medical condition where viruses enter the bloodstream.

Viral hepatitis
Liver inflammation in response to a virus infection.

Viral load
It is the quantity of viruses in blood.

Viral replication
Multiplication process of the virus.

Virus
Small infectious agent made of genetic material (DNA or RNA) surrounded by a protective envelope. Virus can replicate only inside the living cells of other organisms.

Wilson’s disease
Genetic disorder in which copper accumulates in tissues manifested by liver and nervous system damages