Glossary

A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

B

Bacteria

A type of germ or bug which can make you ill. They’re treated using antibiotics.

Barium meals

A substance swallowed by a patient so that the digestive system shows up on an x-ray. This allows doctors to check for any abnormalities.

Benign

Something that is slow-growing or won’t cause much harm.

Bile

A yellowish-brown or green fluid secreted by the liver to aid digestion. In humans, bile is produced continuously by the liver (liver bile) and stored and concentrated in the gallbladder.

Biopsy

The removal of a small piece of tissue from a part of the body or organ. Often used to diagnose cancer or other ailment.

Bladder

A bag made of muscle, which holds urine. The amount of urine the bladder holds varies from person to person.

Blood

Blood flows all around the body through arteries, veins and capillaries. It contains a wide variety of different substances that keep the body healthy. It's made up of different types of blood cell – red blood cells, white blood cells and platelets – all suspended in a liquid called plasma.

Blood clot

A solid or semisolid mass created by coagulated blood within blood vessels.

Blood count

A test on a sample of blood that counts how many of each type of blood cell is present. Regularly used to assess a person’s health.

Blood gases

A test that shows the amount of certain gases, like oxygen and carbon dioxide, are in your blood. It’s usually used to check whether you’re breathing effectively and getting enough oxygen.

Blood groups

There are more than 30 blood group systems, but most commonly these are broken down into – A, B, AB and O. Some blood groups are incompatible with others which can cause complications during blood transfusions.

Blood poisoning

A serious illness that occurs when bacteria get into the bloodstream.

Blood pressure

Blood pressure shows how hard the heart is working to move blood around your body.

Blood sugar level

This means the amount of glucose (a form of sugar/carbohydrate) in blood. High blood sugar levels over an extended period can lead to diabetes.

Blood transfusion

A way of replacing blood lost during an operation or after an accident. Before you have a blood transfusion, you’ll have your blood group checked to make sure your body will accept the transfusion.

Blood Vessel

A tube that carries blood to and from the heart. They also transport blood around the rest of the body.

Boil

An inflamed area of skin that contains pus.

Bone

Hard connective tissue that makes up a skeleton. Bones are made from substances like calcium and phosphorus which make them strong.

Bone marrow

The tissue within the internal cavities of bones.

Brain

The main organ in the nervous system. It controls lots of other things in the body, like breathing and temperature.