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Menopause Glossary of Terms

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    Adjuvant therapy: Treatment provided in addition to the primary treatment.

    Alternative medicine: Practices not generally recognized by the medical community as standard or conventional medical approaches.

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    Alzheimer's disease: A progressive disease in which nerve cells in the brain degenerate and brain matter shrinks, resulting in impaired thinking, behavior, and memory.

    Amenorrhea: The absence of a woman's monthly period.

    Androgens: A group of hormones that promote the development and maintenance of male sex characteristics.

    Antidepressants:Medications used to treat depression.

    Anti-hypertensive drugs: Medications used to treat high blood pressure.

    Anti-inflammatory drugs: Drugs that reduce inflammation and/or swelling.

    Anxiety: A feeling of apprehension, fear, nervousness, or dread accompanied by restlessness or tension.

    Atherosclerosis: Also called hardening of the arteries, this is a disease characterized by a narrowing of the arteries caused by cholesterol-rich plaques. Atherosclerosis is a common cause of coronary artery disease or heart disease.

    Biofeedback: A method of learning to voluntarily control certain body functions such as heartbeat, blood pressure, and muscle tension with the help of a special machine. This method can help control pain and other bodily functions.

    Birth control: A way for men and women to prevent pregnancy. Methods include birth control pills, condoms, vaginal spermicides, intrauterine devices (IUDs), vasectomy and several others.

    Bisphosphonates: A group of drugs used to treat or prevent osteoporosis and to treat the bone pain caused by some types of cancer.

    Bladder: The sac that holds urine.

    Bladder prolapse: A condition in which the bladder moves downward from its normal position. It is usually caused by a weakness in the pelvic floor after childbirth.

    Bone mineral density (BMD): A term used to describe the amount of calcium present in bone.

    Breast cancer: A disease in which abnormal cells in the breast divide and multiply in an uncontrolled fashion. The cells can invade nearby tissue and can spread through the bloodstream and lymphatic system (lymph nodes) to other parts of the body.

    Calcium: A mineral taken in through the diet that is essential for a variety of bodily functions, such as the transmission of nerve impulses, muscle contraction and proper heart function. Imbalances of calcium can lead to many health problems. Calcium is also important for bone health.

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