Glossary

    Abdomen

    Abdomen is the medical name for your belly. It extends from the phrenic to the pelvis and contains several inner organs, e.g. liver, stomach, bowel among others.

    abdominal

    Added to other words, 'abdominal' describes anything in relation to the abdomen (or belly). For example, the abdominal cavity is the hollow in your belly, where several inner organs are situated in.

    Absorption

    In the nutritional field, absorption is the taking in of substances into the blood or into tissues. For example, nutrients are absorbed by bowel tissue and transported into the blood. In peritoneal dialysis, several substances are absorbed by tissue layers in your belly and quickly attain to the blood stream

    Access

    In haemodialysis patients 'access' is a means to get into the blood stream. It is the place where a needle or catheter is inserted in a blood vessel. In peritonealdialysis patients it is the site where the catheter is placed in the abdominal wall. Sometimes, the term also includes the catheter itself.

    Acid

    Any chemical compound that releases hydrogen ions into a solution is called acid. It makes fluids acidly.

    Acid-base balance

    The balance between acidic (hydrogen-ion producing) and basic (hydrogen-ion accepting) ions in the body fluids is called acid-base-balance. In the human body, this is maintained at a nearly neutral level by mechanisms operating in the lungs and the kidneys.

    Acidosis

    A condition in which there is too much acid in the body fluids and tissues. It may be caused by failure of the mechanisms responsible for maintaining the acid-base balance, for example if failing kidneys cannot excrete acids sufficiently.

    Acute Kidney Failure

    A sudden loss of renal function to excrete wastes, concentrate urine, and conserve electrolytes is called acute kidney failure. Depending on the severity of renal function loss, intermittent or continuous dialysis treatment may be necessary.

    Adequacy

    The term refers to the efficiency of dialysis treatment. To measure adequacy, tests are performed to see if enough fluid and substances are being removed from the patient’s blood.

    Albumin

    Albumin is the main protein in human blood and the key to the regulation of the osmotic pressure of blood (it holds fluid in the blood vessels). Albumin transports many small molecules in the blood (for example, bilirubin, calcium, progesterone, and drugs).

    Amino acid

    Amino acids are the "building blocks" of proteins. There are 20 different amino acids existing. Amino acids are molecules that contain an amino group -(NH2), one or more carboxyl groups (-COOH) and a side chain attached to an alpha carbon atom.

    Anaemia

    Anaemia is a decrease in normal number of red blood cells or less than the normal quantity of haemoglobin in the blood. Haemoglobin is the oxygen-carrying substance in red blood cells. In anaemia less oxygen can be transported by the blood, therefore anaemic patients suffer from fatigue.

    Angiotensin receptor blockers

    These drugs lower blood pressure by blocking the receptor to which angiotensin II attaches normally. Angiotensin II is a substance that constricts arteries and thus increases blood pressure. It is produced in the body as a part of blood pressure and fluid regulation.

    Angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors

    This class of drugs is used to lower blood pressure. ACE inhibitors act by blocking the conversion of angiotensin I to angiotensin II. Angiotensin II is a powerful constrictor of arteries. It is produced in the body as a part of blood pressure and fluid regulation.

    Anorexia

    The lack of desire to eat is called anorexia. It may contribute to malnutrition.

    Antibiotic

    A drug used to treat bacterial infections is called an antibiotic.

    Antibodies

    Antibodies are proteins that are used by the immune system to identify and combat foreign objects, e. g. bacteria and viruses. They are also called immunoglobulins, abbreviated Ig.

    Arteriosclerosis

    Arteriosclerosis is a general term describing any hardening (and loss of elasticity) of medium or large arteries. It may impair the blood flow through tissues and hence their oxygen supply.

    Artery

    A blood vessel that carries blood away from the heart to the several organs or tissues of the body.