Medical Terms, Made Simple

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Medical Terms, Made Simple

A1C. A test that measures average blood glucose over a period of up to three months by looking at how much of a red blood cell protein (called hemoglobin) is coated with sugar.

Apolipoprotein A-I (apo A-I). The main protein associated with HDL “good” cholesterol. An increased level is associated with a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease.

Apolipoprotein B-100 (Apo B-100 ). The main protein associated with LDL “bad” cholesterol and other lipid particles. An increased level is associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular disease.

Atherosclerosis. A common disorder that develops when fat, cholesterol, and other substances build up in the arteries, forming plaque. As a result, the vessels narrow and become less flexible, leading to decreased blood flow.

Blood pressure. The force created as the blood pushes against the walls of the arteries to get to the rest of the body.

Cardiovascular disease (CVD). Term used to describe conditions that can affect the heart or blood vessels.

Cartilage. A type of connective tissue found in the body, including in the joints where it helps promote movement and flexibility.

Cholesterol ratio. The level of total cholesterol in the blood divided by the level of HDL cholesterol level.

Cholesterol: A waxy, fat-like substance found in all cells of the body used to make  cell membranes, many hormones, and vitamin D. It comes from animal-based foods or is produced in the liver, which makes all the cholesterol the body needs.

Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10). A fat-soluble, vitamin-like substance essential for the function of mitochondria, the area of cells that produce energy. The body’s CoQ10 stores may be depleted by statin drugs.

Diabetes. A disease in which blood glucose levels are too high.

Diastolic blood pressure. The bottom number in the reading, which signifies the pressure during the rest between heart beats.

Electrolytes. Minerals in your blood and other body fluids that carry an electric charge. Common electrolytes include calcium, potassium, sodium, magnesium, chloride and phosphate.

Fasting Plasma Glucose (FPG) test. Measures blood glucose, usually first thing in the morning, after an eight-hour fast.

Flush-free (no-flush) niacin. The form of niacin (inositol hexaniacinate) designed to reduce the niacin flush. Unlike nicotinic acid, however, this form is unable to be adequately absorbed by the body and has no effect on cholesterol metabolism. One clinical study found this no-flush form to be minimally absorbed (if at all) during the entire 8-hour period after intake.1

HDL cholesterol. Often referred to as the “good” cholesterol because it carries cholesterol from other parts of your body back to the liver, where it’s removed.

Insulin. A hormone made in and released by the pancreas when blood glucose rises after a meal.

LDL cholesterol. Often referred to as the “bad” cholesterol because a high level leads to a buildup of cholesterol in the arteries and is associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular disease.

Lipid profile. Also called a lipid panel, it is a test used as part of a cardiac risk assessment. It usually includes total cholesterol, HDL cholesterol, LDL cholesterol and triglycerides.

Niacin Flush. A harmless feeling of warmth or temporary discomfort on the face or upper body after taking niacin in the form of nicotinic acid. It typically occurs with simple immediate-related forms that are rapidly absorbed and lasts less than an hour or two.

Niacin. An umbrella term for the two chemical forms of this B vitamin: nicotinic acid and nicotinamide (also called niacinamide). Both forms work to activate hundreds of cellular enzymes critical for optimal health, but only nicotinic acid has targeted benefits for heart health and cholesterol metabolism.

Niacinamide. The amide form of niacin also known as nicotinamide. This form supports whole body health, but fails to offer the targeted benefits for heart health and cholesterol metabolism seen with nicotinic acid.

Nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD). The biochemically active form of niacin produced in the body from both forms of niacin (nicotinic acid and nicotinamide). NAD is critical for cell metabolism, healthy inflammatory response, combating oxidative stress, DNA repair, and more. The body’s ability to produce NAD declines with age.

Nicotinic Acid. The type of niacin used to support heart health and cholesterol balance. It is available in various forms. Some sensitive people experience harmless (but annoying) skin flushing with immediate-release forms. For these people, doctors typically recommend an extended-release form to reduce flushing and other side effects.

Oral glucose tolerance test (OGTT). Also called a two-hour glucose tolerance it checks blood glucose level first a fast, then again two hours after consumption of a special sugary drink.

Pre-diabetes. Also referred to as impaired glucose tolerance (IGT) or impaired fasting glucose (IFG), when blood glucose levels are high, but not high enough for a diagnosis of diabetes. You can help prevent type 2 diabetes with simple lifestyle changes. 

Statins. Drugs used to lower cholesterol, yet have the potential to deplete the body’s stores of coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10). CoQ10 supplementation helps avoid any drug-induced CoQ10 depletion.

Systolic blood pressure. The top number in the reading, it signifies the pressure during the heart’s beat.

Triglycerides. The form in which fatty acids are transported through the blood for delivery to tissues. Blood triglycerides are derived from triglycerides in the foods we eat or are made in the liver. When not used for energy, triglycerides are stored in fat cells until use.

Wax-matrix tablet delivery. The Endurance Products sustained-release proprietary technology that uses a special cold-extrusion process to evenly embed nutrients throughout a vegetable wax matrix tablet core. The process is free of heat, moisture or solvents and requires no coating solution (which typically contains sugar, starch, artificial colors or other undesirable ingredients). The result is a clean tablet with a uniform, continuous release of nutrients preferred by consumers, doctors and researchers alike.


    1. Keenan JM. Wax-matrix extended-release niacin vs inositol hexanicotinate: a comparison of wax-matrix, extended-release niacin to inositol hexanicotinate "no-flush" niacin in persons with mild to moderate dyslipidemia. J Clin Lipidol. 2013;7(1):14-23. PMID: 23351578.