Glossary

Browse through glands, hormones and endocrine conditions.
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Dehydroepiandrosterone

Dehydroepiandrosterone is an important precursor hormone, and is the most abundant circulating steroid present in the human body. It has little biological effect on its own but has powerful effects when converted into other hormones such as sex steroids.

dynamic function test

a diagnostic test used to assess how the body responds when a patient is given a hormone. This typically involves admission for hours or days, when blood measurements are taken.

deep vein thrombosis

(DVT) a condition that occurs when a blood clot forms in a deep vein, usually in the leg or thigh. The blood clot can break off into the bloodstream and cause obstruction in other organs.

Dihydrotestosterone

Dihydrotestosterone, a hormone with powerful androgenic actions, causes the body to mature during puberty and is responsible for many of the physical characteristics associated with adult males.

Diabetes insipidus

Diabetes insipidus (water diabetes) is a rare condition caused by a reduction in, or failure to respond to, anti-diuretic hormone. This results in passing large amounts of dilute urine and increased thirst.

Diabetes mellitus

Diabetes mellitus is a very common disorder caused by high levels of sugar in the bloodstream. It affects a large number of people, with many more people remaining undiagnosed.

dopamine agonist

a drug that mimics the effects of dopamine – a chemical in the brain. An agonist is specially designed to bind to the same receptors as the natural chemical, in this case, causing dopamine to be released.

Delayed puberty

Delayed puberty is defined as no secondary sexual maturation or any sign of puberty by the age of 13 years in girls and 14 years in boys.

dexamethasone

a synthetic (artificial) version of a steroid hormone found in the adrenal glands called cortisol (glucocorticoid). Dexamethasone is given to patients to test if they have a condition of excessive cortisol, called Cushing’s syndrome.

dehydration

occurs when the body loses more fluid than it takes in; e.g. due to excess fluid loss, inadequate fluid intake, sweating during physical activity, fever, vomiting or diarrhoea. Symptoms include headache, tiredness, dry mouth and dizziness.

depression

a disorder characterised by feelings of exhaustion, sadness and worthlessness. Patients can experience insomnia, loss of appetite and suicidal thoughts.

dietician

a professional who is an expert on nutrition and advises people on their food intake.

dialysis

a treatment for kidney failure. The patient is hooked up to a dialysis machine and their blood is passed through a semi-permeable membrane to remove toxic substances (the job that the kidney would do if working properly).

duodenum

the first part of the small intestine, where food continues to be digested. Hormones secreted by the duodenum are gastric inhibitory peptide, secretin and cholecystokinin.

dietary

present in the food we eat.

DNA

the hereditary material that makes up our genes and is passed on to the next generation. DNA, which stands for 'deoxyribonucleic acid', is found coiled up as chromosomes in the nucleus of most cells in our body.

DNA

the hereditary material that makes up our genes and is passed on to the next generation. DNA, which stands for 'deoxyribonucleic acid', is found coiled up as chromosomes in the nucleus of each cell in our body.


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