BellaMemoirs

Glossary

A
Adrenal gland – The adrenal glands (also known as suprarenal glands) are endocrine glands that produce a variety of hormones. They are found above the kidneys. Each gland has an outer cortex and an inner medulla. The hormones they secrete aid in cell metabolism, adjust the water balance, and increase cardiovascular and respiratory activity.

Adrenaline – a hormone secreted by the adrenal glands, especially in conditions of stress. It increases rates of blood circulation, breathing, and carbohydrate metabolism and prepares muscles for exertion. Adrenaline is produced in the medulla of the adrenal glands within a couple of minutes during a stressful situation, adrenaline is quickly released into the blood to trigger the body’s fight-or-flight response.

Amygdala – The amygdala is a section of the brain that is responsible for detecting fear and preparing for emergency events.

Antibodies – a blood protein produced in response to a counteracting a specific antigen.

Antigen – a toxin or other foreign substance that induces an immune response in the body, especially the production of antibodies.

Anxiety – An emotion characterized by feelings of tension, worried thoughts and physical changes like increased blood pressure.

Autoantibodies – an antibody produced by an organism in response to a constituent of its own tissues.

Autoimmune – of or relating to disease caused by antibodies or lymphocytes produced against substances naturally present in the body.

Adrenal cortex – The adrenal cortex secretes hormones that have an effect on the body’s metabolism, on chemicals in the blood, and on certain body characteristics. The adrenal cortex secretes corticosteroids and other hormones directly into the bloodstream.
Adrenal medulla: Inner layer of the adrenal glands, which secretes epinephrine and norepinephrine.
Adrenocorticotropic hormone: Adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH) stimulates the adrenal cortex to secrete cortisol and other hormones. During any stressful situation such as injury, low blood sugar levels, and exercise.
Aldosterone: Aldosterone, another steroid hormone secreted by the adrenal cortex, targets the kidney cells that regulate the formation of urine. A decrease in blood pressure or volume, a decrease in the sodium (salt) level in blood, and an increase in the potassium level in blood all stimulate the secretion of aldosterone. Once released, aldosterone spurs the kidney cells to reabsorb sodium from the urine and to excrete potassium instead. Sodium is then returned to the bloodstream. When sodium is reabsorbed into the blood, water in the body follows it, thus increasing blood volume and pressure. Aldosterone also reduces the amount of sodium and water lost through the sweat and salivary glands. When normal blood, sodium, and potassium levels are all reached, the adrenal cortex stops releasing aldosterone

B
B-cells – a lymphocyte not processed by the thymus gland, and responsible for producing antibodies.

C
Chronic – (of an illness) persisting for a long time or constantly recurring.

Central Nervous System – the complex of nerve tissues that controls the activities of the body. In vertebrates it comprises the brain and spinal cord.

Cortex – the outer layer of the cerebrum (the cerebral cortex), composed of folded gray matter and playing an important role in consciousness.

Corticosteroids or corticoids are any of a group of steroid hormones produced in the adrenal cortex or made synthetically. There are two kinds: glucocorticoids and mineralocorticoids. They have various metabolic functions and some are used to treat inflammation.

Cortisol is another name for hydrocortisone. Steroid hormone secreted by the adrenal cortex that promotes the body’s efficient use of nutrients during stressful situations. In times of physical stress (injury, exercise, anger, fear) cortisol is secreted. Cortisol stimulates most body cells to increase their energy production. Unlike insulin, cortisol causes the cells to increase energy output by using fats and amino acids (proteins) instead of glucose. In stressful situations, this is extremely important because glucose is conserved for use by the brain (glucose is the sole source of energy for neurons or cells in nervous tissue). Cortisol also has an anti-inflammatory effect, suppressing the activities of white blood cells and other components in the body’s defense line.

E
Emotion – a natural instinctive state of mind deriving from one’s circumstances, mood, or relationships with others

Emotional trauma – Psychological or emotional trauma, is damage or injury to the psyche after living through an extremely frightening or distressing event and may result in challenges in functioning or coping normally after the event.

Endocrine system – The main functions of the endocrine system and its hormone messengers are to maintain homeostasis (a stable internal environment in the body) and to promote permanent structural changes. It is the collection of glands that produce hormones that regulate metabolism, growth and development, tissue function, sexual function, reproduction, sleep, and mood, among other things.

Epinephrine – Also called adrenaline, a hormone secreted by the adrenal medulla that stimulates the body to react to stressful situations by increasing the heart rate and force of heart contractions, facilitates blood flow to the muscles and brain, causes relaxation of smooth muscles, helps with conversion of glycogen to glucose in the liver, and other activities.

F
Flight or fight response also known as the acute stress response, refers to a physiological reaction that occurs in the presence of something that is terrifying, either mentally or physically. The response is triggered by the release of hormones that prepare the body to either stay or deal with a threat or to run away to safety.

Frontal lobes – each of the paired lobes of the brain lying immediately behind the forehead, including areas concerned with behavior, learning, personality, and voluntary movement

G
Granulocytes – a white blood cell with secretory granules in its cytoplasm, e.g., an eosinophil or a basophil.

Glucocorticoids – any of a group of corticosteroids (e.g., hydrocortisone) that are involved in the metabolism of carbohydrates, proteins, and fats and have anti-inflammatory activity.

H
Habituation – The diminishing of a physiological or emotional response to a frequently repeated stimulus.

Hippocampus – The hippocampus is a part of the limbic system. The limbic system is the area in the brain that is associated with memory, emotions, and motivation. The hippocampus itself is highly involved with memories.

Hypothalamus – The hypothalamus is not a gland, but a small region of the brain containing many control centers for body functions and emotions. It thus plays an important role in the actions of other endocrine glands, especially the pituitary.

I
Immune system – The immune system is the body’s defense against infectious organisms and other invaders. Through a series of steps called the immune response, the immune system attacks organisms and substances that invade our systems and cause disease.

Inflammation – a localized physical condition in which part of the body becomes reddened, swollen, hot, and often painful, especially as a reaction to injury or infection

L
Limbic system – a complex system of nerves and networks in the brain, involving several areas near the edge of the cortex concerned with instinct and mood. It controls the basic emotions (fear, pleasure, anger) and drives (hunger, sex, dominance, care of offspring).

Lymphocytes – a form of small leukocyte (white blood cell) with a single round nucleus, occurring especially in the lymphatic system.

M
Macrophages – a large phagocytic cell found in stationary form in the tissues or as a mobile white blood cell, especially at sites of infection.

Monocytes – a large phagocytic white blood cell with a simple oval nucleus and clear, grayish cytoplasm.

N
Nervous system – the network of nerve cells and fibers that transmits nerve impulses between parts of the body.

Natural killer cells – A cell that can react against and destroy another cell without prior sensitization to it. NK cells are part of our first line of defense against cancer cells and virus-infected cells. NK cells are small lymphocytes that originate in the bone marrow and develop without the influence of the thymus.

Norepinephrine (also called noradrenaline). This hormone causes blood vessels in the skin and skeletal muscles to constrict, raising blood pressure.

P
Parasympathetic Nervous System – The part of the involuntary nervous system that serves to slow the heart rate, increase intestinal and glandular activity, and relax the sphincter muscles. The parasympathetic nervous system, together with the sympathetic nervous system, constitutes the autonomic nervous system.

Pathogens – a bacterium, virus, or other microorganism that can cause disease.

Protein – any of a class of nitrogenous organic compounds that consist of large molecules composed of one or more long chains of amino acids and are an essential part of all living organisms, especially as structural components of body tissues such as muscle, hair, collagen, etc., and as enzymes and antibodies.

Psychological trauma – Psychological, or emotional trauma, is damage or injury to the psyche after living through an extremely frightening or distressing event and may result in challenges in functioning or coping normally after the event.

R
Ruminate – think deeply about something.

S
Serotonin – a compound present in blood platelets and serum that constricts the blood vessels and acts as a neurotransmitter. Or a chemical that is responsible for maintaining mood balance, and that a deficit of serotonin leads to depression.

Sympathetic nervous system – The part of the autonomic nervous system originating in the thoracic and lumbar regions of the spinal cord that in general inhibits or opposes the physiological effects of the parasympathetic nervous system, as in tending to reduce digestive secretions or speed up the heart.

T
Thalamus – The thalamus is a structure in the middle of the brain. It is located between the cerebral cortex and the midbrain. It works to correlate several important processes, including consciousness, sleep, and sensory interpretation

Thymus – The thymus secretes several hormones that are known collectively as thymuses. The thymus and its collective hormones, thymuses, play an important role in helping the body develop immunity (the ability to resist disease).

Thymuses – help change a certain group of white blood cells called lymphocytes into T cells, which are programmed to attack any foreign substance in the body

Trauma – a deeply distressing or disturbing experience.

Trigger – cause (an event or situation) to happen or exist.

 

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