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Glossaries - K

We've defined thousands of terms related to health care. This page discusses glossary terms with the letter K.

Ketone Bodies

Ketone Bodies

Chemicals that the body makes when there is not enough insulin in the blood and it must break down fat for its energy. Ketone bodies can poison and even kill body cells. When the body does not have the help of insulin, the ketones build up in the blood and then "spill" over into the urine so that the body can get rid of them. The body can also rid itself of one type of ketone, called acetone, through the lungs. This gives the breath a fruity odor. Ketones that build up in the body for a long time lead to serious illness and coma.

Kidney Disease

Any one of several chronic conditions that are caused by damage to the cells of the kidney. People who have had diabetes for a long time may have kidney damage.


Two organs in the lower back that clean waste and poisons from the blood. The kidneys are shaped like two large beans, and they act as the body's filter. They also control the level of some chemicals in the blood such as hydrogen, sodium, potassium, and phosphate.

Kupffer's Cells (KOOP-furz selz)

Cells that line the liver. These cells remove waste such as bacteria from the blood.

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