Glossary try the best to avoid the use of medical terms that could make it more difficult to understand the information on this website. Still, there are a number of terms that can't be avoided and that are useful to know because they are so often used by the doctors, nurses, and other medical professionals with whom you might speak. The list below includes the terms used on for which we have provided definitions.

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Term Main definition

Hardening of tissue resulting from the formation of calcium salts


To adjust the output or reading from a testing device to assure that it gives a correct answer; the adjustment is based on measurement of one or more known substances called standards (or calibrators).


The tiniest of blood vessels. Through the one-cell-layer-thick walls of capillaries, oxygen and nutrients are delivered to body tissues and carbon dioxide and other wastes are cleared from body tissues.


The starches and sugars that are the chief energy sources of the body


A collection of boils caused by an infection of a large area of skin involving several hair follicles and deeper layers of tissue; the area often has several openings for pus drainage and sloughing dead tissue

Carcinoid tumor

Slow-growing mass that can develop in the mucous membrane of the gastrointestinal (GI) tract and sometimes the lungs

Cardiovascular System

The heart and blood vessels involved in the pumping of blood and the transport of nutrients, oxygen, and waste products throughout the body


1. Person, generally in apparent good health, who harbours organisms that can infect and cause disease in others
2. Person who has one copy of a recessive disease gene but is not affected themselves


Tissue that lines joints to absorb shock; it also forms the shape of the nose and ears.


1. long, thin, flexible tube inserted into a body cavity or vessel to allow the passage of fluids
2. thin, flexible tube inserted into a vessel in the body for the purpose of opening (distending) the vessel

Central Nervous System

Also known as: CNS

One of the two main divisions of the human nervous system, consisting of the brain and the spinal cord; the other division is the peripheral nervous system.


The automated process of separating lighter portions of a solution, mixture, or suspension from the heavier portions, by centrifugal force

Cerebrospinal Fluid

Also known as: CSF

Normally clear liquid, produced in the ventricles of the brain, that surrounds the brain and spinal cord

Cervical Adenitis

Lymph node inflammation in the neck

Chain of Custody

Legal document created when a piece of evidence is obtained that records the movement, location, handling and/or testing of the evidence from the time it is collected until the evidence is used in a legal proceeding and/or until it is no longer needed and is discarded or destroyed