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Minor Minerals


Table of Contents


Acid-base balance  -  The balance between the amount of carbonic acid and bicarbonate in the blood; for proper function, this balance must remain at a constant ratio of 1:20, ensuring that the hydrogen ion concentration in the blood plasma remains a constant value.
Acidosis  -  A condition in which the acidity of body fluids and tissues is higher than normal. This results from a defect in the acid-base balance mechanism.
Acrodermatitis enteropathica  -  A hereditary condition characterized by typical symptoms of zinc deficiency, such as hair loss, skin lesions, diarrhea, and maldigestion.
Actin  -  A protein in the muscle that is involved in contraction.
Adenosine triphosphate (ATP)  -  A substance formed by the breakdown of carbohydrates, and which stores energy needed for cellular function.
Adrenal gland  -  An organ covering the outside of the kidney. It secretes hormones that affect carbohydrate metabolism, electrolyte metabolism, and the sex glands.
Aldosterone  -  A hormone produced and secreted from the adrenal gland; it aids the kidneys in regulating sodium and water balance.
Ameleoblasts  -  Cells that form the enamel of the teeth, and disappear when the tooth erupts.
Anemia  -  A condition of the blood in which there is a decrease of circulating red blood cells or hemoglobin.
Anion  -  An ion that carries a negative charge.
Arrythmias  -  Deviations from the normal rhythm of the heart.
Ascites  -  An accumulation of fluid in the peritoneal cavity of the abdomen.
Basal metabolic rate  -  The minimal amount of energy expended for vital processes, such as breathing and digestion, expressed per unit of body surface area per day.
Calcification  -  The process whereby calcium is deposited in tissue. Calcification is part of normal bone formation.
Cardiomyopathy  -  A chronic disorder of the heart muscle that can cause enlargement of the heart, heart failure, arrythmias, and embolism.
Casein  -  A protein found in milk.
Cation  -  An ion that carries a positive electric charge.
Celiac disease  -  A disease of the small intestine caused by sensitivity to the protein gliadin, which is in gluten in the germ of wheat, causing malabsorption.
Ceruloplasmin  -  A plasma protein that contains copper- forming ferroxidase, an enzyme that oxidizes iron for its absorption.
Colloids  -  Large, gelatinous particles that do not readily pass through membranes.
Cortex  -  The outer part of an organ.
Crohn's disease  -  A condition in which part of the gastrointestinal tract becomes inflamed. The disease usually occurs in the ileum, although it may occur anywhere in the gastrointestinal tract, from esophagus to rectum. The cause is unknown, but is thought to be caused by an infectious agent.
Cytochrome  -  A compound consisting of protein and heme; it transfers electrons in oxidative reactions.
Diplegia  -  Paralysis of both sides of the body, affecting the legs more than the arms.
Diuretic  -  A drug that increases urine output by stimulating the excretion of sodium and water from the kidney. Diuretics inhibit reabsorption of sodium and water from the kidney into the blood.
Duodenum  -  The first part of the small intestine, extending from the stomach.
Edema  -  An excessive accumulation of fluids in the body, resulting in swelling.
Electrocardiograph  -  A device that records the electric activity of the heart.
Enzyme  -  Substances manufactured by the body that stimulate a chemical change.
Extracellular  -  Existing outside of cells.
Fibrin  -  The final product of blood coagulation that, along with other molecules, is responsible for the fibrous material of a blood clot.
Glycerol  -  A clear liquid produced by the hydrolysis of fats.
Glycoprotein  -  A compound consisting of a protein combined with a carbohydrate.
Hemoglobin  -  A substance in red blood cells that is responsible for its color. It is composed of a pigment called heme bound to the protein globulin. Hemoglobin transports oxygen through the blood.
Histidine  -  An amino acid that gives rise to histamine. Histamine has many important roles in the body, such as in the dilation of blood vessels, contraction of muscle, and mediation of inflammation.
Hydrostatic pressure  -  Pressure exerted by a liquid on the surfaces of walls that contain the liquid.
Hyperkalemia  -  An abnormally high concentration of potassium in the blood.
Hyperphosphatemia  -  An abnormally high concentration of phosphorus in the blood.
Hyperplasia  -  An increase in production and growth of normal cells in tissues and organs.
Hypertension  -  An elevation of blood pressure above normal levels for a particular age.
Hypertonic  -  Describes a solution that has greater osmotic pressure than other substances.
Hypogonadism  -  A condition in which there is impaired function of the testes or ovaries.
Hypokalemia  -  An abnormally low concentration of potassium in the blood.
Hyponatremia  -  An abnormally low concentration of sodium in the blood.
Hypoparathyroidism  -  Abnormal activity of the parathyroid gland causing a decrease in serum calcium and muscle spasms.
Hypophosphatemia  -  An abnormally low concentration of phosphorus in the blood.
Hypothalamus  -  The region of the front of the brain that controls body temperature, thirst, hunger, water balance, and sexual function.
Hypothyroidism  -  Abnormal activity of the thyroid gland that can cause mental and physical slowing, sensitivity to the cold, weight gain, and a hardening of the skin.
Hypotonic  -  Describes a solution that has a lower osmotic pressure than other substances.
Ileum  -  The lowest part of the inestine, follows after the jejunum.
Insensible water loss  -  An unappreciable loss of water that is barely noticed.
Insoluble  -  Describing a substance that cannot be dissolved.
Interstitial  -  Relating to small gaps between tissues or structures.
Intracellular  -  Existing inside of cells.
Ions  -  An atom or group of atoms that has one or more electrons, causing it to be electrically charged and more chemically active. Ionized describes a substance that has become an ion.
Jejunum  -  The middle part of the small intestine, surrounded by the duodenum and ileum.
Lactic acid  -  A substance that forms as an end product of glucose metabolism operating without oxygen. Lactic acid can accumulate in the muscles and cause cramps.
Liters  -  Unit of volume equal to the volume occupied by 1 kilogram of pure water at 4 degrees Celsius and 760 millimeters of mercury pressure. A liter is approximately 1000 cubic centimeters, and 1 milliliter equals 1 cubic centimeter. The abbreviation is l or L.
Lymphocytes  -  White blood cells that are involved in immunity. They are also present in lymph nodes, spleen, thymus gland, gut wall, and bone marrow.
Macular degeneration  -  A condition affecting the macular lutea, which is the yellow spot on the retina in the back of the eye. It may result in a reduction or loss of vision.
Metabolism  -  The sum of all chemical and physical changes that take place in the body to ensure its growth and proper functions. It involves the breakdown of complex substances, releasing energy that is required for other functions. It also involves the building of complex substances from simple ones.
Milliequivalents  -  Unit of measure, in this case for electrolytes, in solution. It is based on the number of cations and anions in solution. The concentration is expressed as milliequivalents per liter (mEq/L).
Milligrams  -  A unit of measure that is one thousandth of a gram. The abbreviation is mg.
Milliliters  -  Unit of volume that is one thousandths of a liter. The abbreviation is ml.
Mucosal  -  Of or pertaining to the mucous membrane, the lining of structures and cavities such as of the gastrointestinal tract, respiratory tract, and nasal passages.
Myoglobin  -  A protein containing iron found in muscles. It functions similarly to hemoglobin in its binding capacity to oxygen.
Myosin  -  A muscle protein that has elasticity and is involved in muscle contraction.
Nephrosis  -  A degeneration of the outer tissue of the kidney tubules.
Neuropathy  -  A disease of the peripheral nerves, usually causing weakness and numbness. Peripheral nerves are all of the nerves outside of the central nervous system (brain and spinal cord). Neuropathy often occurs in the extremities of the arms and legs.
Neutrophils  -  White blood cells that are distinguished by their granules, and are capable of digesting and killing bacteria.
Oliguria  -  Very small output of urine.
Osteoblasts  -  Cells that originate in the embryo to form bone.
Osteomalacia  -  A defect in bone mineralization causing a softening of the bones. It is caused by a deficiency in vitamin D.
Osteoporosis  -  A condition in which there is a loss of tissue in the bone, resulting in brittle and easily fractured bones.
Oxidation  -  The combination of a substance with oxygen. Also, a chemical reaction that increases the valence of an element as a result of losing electrons.
Parathyroid gland  -  A gland that stimulates parathyroid hormone, stimulated by low serum calcium.
pH  -  A measure of the concentration of hydrogen ions in a solution that represents the degree of acidity. A pH of 7 is neutral, less than 7 is alkaline, and greater than 7 is acidic.
Phospholipids  -  Lipids containing a phosphate group. Phospholipids are synthesized in the liver and small intestine and play a role in many metabolic processes.
Phosphorylation  -  The metabolic process that combines an organic substance with a phosphate group.
Pituitary gland  -  An organ that secretes hormones into the blood.
Renal tubular  -  A tube-like part of the nephron in the kidney through which water and other substances are reabsorbed back into the body. The nephron is the entire unit in the kidney that is responsible for excretion.
Reticulum  -  A network of tubules or blood vessels.
Rickets  -  A disease of children, caused by a deficiency in vitamin D, resulting in the impairment of normal bone hardening. Bones are bent out of shape due to their lack of rigidity.
Solutes  -  Dissolved substance; particles in solution. Soluble describes a substance able to be dissolved.
Sprue  -  A deficiency in absorption of food due to a disease of the small intestine.
Tetany  -  A condition causing spasms and twitching of muscles, especially the face, hands, and feet.
Transferrin  -  A protein that binds iron and transports it in blood.
Vasopressin  -  A hormone released by the pituitary gland that increases the reabsorption of water by the kidney, preventing excessive loss of body water. It is also known as antidiuretic hormone (ADH).
Wilson's disease  -  An inborn error in copper metabolism in which there is a deficiency of ceruloplasmin. The excess copper may be deposited in the liver, causing jaundice and cirrhosis, or in the brain, causing mental retardation.

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