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Glossary of Terms

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A

Actos (pioglitazone hydrochloride)

A drug that decreases Insulin Resistance in peripheral and hepatic tissue. It is in a class of anti-diabetic drugs called "thiazolidinediones" that are used in the treatment of Type 2 Diabetes.

Adiponectin

A protein hormone produced and secreted exclusively by adipocytes (fat cells) that regulates the metabolism of lipids and glucose. Adiponectin influences the body's response to insulin. It also has anti-inflammatory effects on the cells lining the walls of blood vessels. High blood levels of adiponectin are associated with a reduced risk of heart attack. Low levels of adiponectin are found in people who are obese and therefore at increased risk of a heart attack.

Adipose tissue

Adipose tissue cushions and insulates the body and is the largest reservoir of fuel-storing energy in the form of rapidly utilizable triglycerides. It is primarily located beneath the skin but also found around internal organs. In the skin, the tissue accumulates at the deepest level, the subcutaneous layer, where it provides insulation from heat and cold. Around the organs, it provides protective padding and also functions as a reserve of nutrients. In a severely obese person, excess adipose tissue hanging downward from the abdomen is referred to as a panniculus (or pannus). A panniculas complicates surgery of the morbidly obese and may remain as a literal "apron of skin" if a severely obese person loses most of his or her excess weight, as in the case of a bypass.

Adrenal glands

Located above each kidney, adrenal glands are comprised of an outer wall (cortex) that secretes important steroid hormones (aldosterone, cortisol, testosterone, estrone) and an inner portion (medulla) that produces epinephrine, norepinephrine and dopamine. These hormones influence many vital functions such as heart rate, blood pressure and the way the body uses food, adapts to stress and expresses sexual characteristics.

Adrenocortical hormones

Hormones secreted by the adrenal cortex, e.g. cortisol, aldosterone and androgens (testosterone).

Aldactone (spironolactone)

A diuretic used in the treatment of hirsutism, PCOS (Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome), congestive heart failure, cirrhosis of the liver, kidney disease, hypertension and in resistant cases of low potassium (hypokalemia). It is also used to counteract the effects of excessive adrenal aldosterone production (as from an adrenal tumor) which influences sodium retention, potassium excretion and blood volume.

Alzheimer's disease

A progressive, neurodegenerative disease characterized by loss of function and death of nerve cells in several areas of the brain leading to loss of cognitive function including memory and language. It is the most well known type of dementia.

Angiotensinogen

The precursor to angiotensin II, which constricts blood vessel walls and raises blood pressure. In addition, it enhances macrophage accumulation (see Tumor Necrosis Factor TNF) as well as the metabolism of nitric oxide into free radicals.

Arteriosclerosis

Literally the hardening and thickening of the arteries. This condition, divided into three distinct variants, can occur due to build up of fat deposits (plaque) on the inner walls of arteries (atherosclerosis), calcification of the wall of the arteries (Monckeberg's medial calcific sclerosis), or thickening of the muscular wall of small arteries and arterioles (arteriolosclerosis).

Atherosclerosis

A form of arteriosclerosis that occurs when fatty deposits called plaque cling to the interior walls of the arteries causing narrowing and blockages which can lead to heart attacks, stroke and embolism.

Autoimmune disease

Illness that occurs when body tissues are attacked by their own immune system. It is felt that estrogen in females may influence the immune system to predispose some women to autoimmune diseases. Examples of autoimmune diseases include Juvenile (Type I) Diabetes, systemic lupus erythematosus, Sjogren syndrome, Hashimoto thyroiditis, rheumatoid arthritis, Addison's disease, vitiligo, pernicious anemia and pulmonary fibrosis.

Avandia (rosiglitazone maleate)

A drug that increases insulin sensitivity, it is in a class of anti-diabetic drugs called "thiazolidinediones" that are used in the treatment of Type 2 Diabetes.




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A. MAUREEN ROUHI, Chemical and Engineering News. November 22, 2004.Vol. 82, No.47  
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"Simply losing 5-7% of your body fat (typically 10-15 pounds) and increasing your physical activity by taking a brisk walk 4-5 times a week can reduce your risk of developing Type II Diabetes by almost 60%."
Diabetes Prevention Program study 2001, study funded by the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, et al.
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"A non-pharmacologic treatment for these patients is needed, since drugs prescribed to lower blood pressure have been shown to actually worsen carbohydrate and lipid metabolism in Syndrome X patients, negating the beneficial effects of those drugs."
Duke University Study, results published in the Archives of Internal Medicine, September 2003.
Article by Dr. Sheri Colberg, Phd, FACSM
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"...approximately 90% of overweight Hispanic children with a family history for type 2 diabetes have at least one feature of the metabolic syndrome and 30% possess the metabolic syndrome.

Our results support the view that improving insulin resistance may be crucial in the prevention of both type 2 diabetes and premature cardiovascular disease in this at-risk subpopulation of Hispanic youth."
Cruz ML, Weigensberg MJ, Huang TT, Ball G, Shaibi GQ, Goran MI.,J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2004 Jan;89(1):108-13.
"To gain the most benefit from modifying multiple metabolic risk factors, the underlying insulin-resistant state must become a target of therapy."
Bogdanovic, Streten and Langlans, Beata, "Metabolic Syndrome: New Opportunities in Diagnostics and Therapeutics", DMD Publications, 2004.  
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