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Carle Cancer Center

Hematology Resource Page

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Glossary


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  • Diseases from abnormal clotting
  • Antithrombin III deficiency
  • References
  • Protein C deficiency
  • Protein S deficiency

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    A small glossary of some frequently used terms and concepts is below.

    Amino Acid: The basic building blocks for proteins in the body. Amino acids can be made by the body from other substances and are also ingested from eating foods with protein.

    Cell: The basic building blocks of life. Humans, plants and animals are made of many cells of different types. Cells live and die and have small organs (called organelles) that help to carry out the functions

    Cerebrovascular Accident (CVA): This is another term for a stroke, which occurs when a blood vessel (an artery) to the brain is blocked. Please see page on diseases from abnormal clotting for more information.

    Coagulation: The process by which blood clots. A detailed description of clotting is available on the general clotting information web pages.

    Deep venous thrombosis (DVT): . A clot that forms in the deep veins of the legs. Please see page on diseases from abnormal clotting for more information.

    DNA: This is the substance from which the genetic code is made.

    Enzymes: Specific proteins that act to speed up chemical reactions. The coagulation cascade is a series of enzymatic reactions.

    Factor: The enzymes of the coagulation cascade are referred to as clotting factors.

    Genetic code: This is carried on chromosomes, which are made up of DNA. Humans have 46 chromosomes. Each chromosome contains many genes which encode various traits.

    Hemophilia: Term describing the condition in which patients have an abnormal tendency to bleed because they are unable to adequately form clots.

    Hemostasis: The process by which blood flow is stopped. This is another word to describe the processes of clot formation.

    Heterozygous vs. Homozygous: These terms refer to genetic mutations. There are two copies of the protein codes in the genetic code. If one copy is normal and the other has the mutation, it is said to be heterozygous. If both copies have the mutation, it is said to be homozygous. For example: A/A -- homozygous. A/a -- heterozygous. a/A -- heterozygous. a/a -- homozygous.

    Infarction: Lack of blood suppply (and thus oxygen) to an organ or tissue resulting in tissue death.

    Ischemia: Lack of blood supply (and thus oxygen) to an organ or tissue.

    Mutation: A genetic term. A mutation is a change in the genetic code from what is considered normal.. Mutations can occur normally and not all mutations are harmful.

    Myocardial Infarction (MI): This is another term for a heart attack. This occurs when a blood vessel (an artery) to the heart is blocked. Please see page on diseases from abnormal clotting for more information.

    Platelets: Cells in the blood which serve to plug holes in the blood vessel walls and assist in forming a clot. A detailed description of clotting is available on the general clotting information web pages.

    Polymorphism: A genetic term. Polymorphisms are changes in the genetic code (like mutations) that occur commonly enough in the population such that they are considered a variation on normal. These may be harmful, helpful or neither to the persons who have a polymorphism.

    Protein: Proteins are essential molecules in the body made up of many amino acids strung together. DNA encodes the proteins and the cells can then turn the DNA into RNA and ultimately into proteins. Clotting factors are one of many types of proteins

    Subendothelium: Depicted on the clotting diagrams, this space contains numerous proteins and other molecules which, when exposed to the blood stream, serve to attract platelets and encourage clot formation.

    Thrombus: Another word for a clot.

    Thrombophilia: Another term describing hypercoagulable states. These conditions confer an increased risk of forming clots.

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