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CALCIUM

A metallic element which is essential for normal growth and functioning of body processes. It is an important component of bones and teeth and has a role in vital metabolic processes, e.g. muscle contraction, passage of nerve impulses and blood clotting.  Its concentration in the blood is regulated by various THYROID HORMONES. Calcium is an essential element in a normal healthy diet.

 

CALORIE

A term applied to a unit of energy, which is the heat required to raise the temperature of one gram of water by one degree centigrade.

 

CARBOHYDRATES

Organic compounds which include sugars and starch and contain carbon, hydrogen and oxygen.  They are the most important source of energy available to the body and are an essential part of the diet.  They are eventually broken down in the body to the simple sugar, glucose, which can be used by cells in numerous metabolic processes.

 

CARCINOGEN

Any substance which causes damage to tissue cells likely to result in cancer.  Various substances are known to be carcinogenic including tobacco, smoke, asbestos and ionizing radiation.

 

CARDIOVASCULAR SYSTEM

The heart and the whole of the circulatory system, which is divided into the SYSTEMIC (arteries and veins of the body), and PULMONARY ( arteries and veins of the lungs).  The cardiovascular system is responsible for the transport of oxygen and nutrients to the tissues, and removing waste products and carbon dioxide from them, taking these to the organs from which they are eventually eliminated.

 

CELIAC DISEASE

Also known as gluten enteropathy; this is a wasting disease of childhood in which the intestines are unable to absorb fat.  The intestinal lining is damaged due to a sensitivity to the protein gluten which is found in wheat and rye flour.  An excess of fat is excreted and the child fails to grow and thrive. Successful treatment is by adhering strictly to a gluten-free diet throughout life.

 

CENTRAL NERVOUS SYSTEM

The brain and the spinal cord, which receives and integrates all the nervous information from the peripheral nervous system.

 

 

 

CIRCULATION OF THE BLOOD

The basic circulation is as follows:  all of the blood from the body returns to the heart via the veins, eventually entering the right atrium through the inferior and superior vena cava.  This contracts and forces the blood into the right ventricle and from there is driven to the lungs via the pulmonary artery.  In the lungs, oxygen is taken up and carbon dioxide is released and the blood then passes into the pulmonary veins and is returned to the left atrium into the left ventricle and from there into the aorta.  The aorta branches, giving off the various arteries, which carry the blood to all the different parts of the body.  The blood eventually enters the fine network of arterioles and capillaries and supplies all the tissues and organs with oxygen and nutrients.  It passes into the venules and veins, eventually returning to the right atrium through the vena cava to complete the cycle.

 

 

CIRCUMCISION

A surgical removal of the foreskin (or prepuce) of the penis in males and part or all of the external genitalia (clitoris, labia minora, labia majora) in females.  In females and usually in males, the procedure is carried out for religious reasons.  Male circumcision may be required in the medical conditions known as Phimosis and Paraphimosis.  Female circumcision is damaging and not beneficial to a womanís health.

 

COLECTOMY

Surgical removal of the COLON.

 

COLON

The main part of the large intestine, which removes water and salts from the undigested food passes into it from the small intestine.  When water has been extracted the remains of the food (feces) are passed into the rectum for elimination.

 

COLOSTOMY

A surgical operation to produce an artificial opening of the colon through the abdominal wall.  The colostomy may only be temporary, as part of the management of the personís condition, e.g. to treat an obstruction in the colon or rectum.  However if the rectum or part of the colon have been removed because of cancer the colostomy is permanent and functions as the anus.

 

 

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