If you are unfamiliar with medical jargon, the language used by your doctor can leave you very confused. However, one needs to know common medical terminologies beyond understanding what your doctor is saying. It has the added advantage of giving you the vocabulary to express your medical concerns more clearly.
We’ve compiled a comprehensive list of frequently used terms by medical professionals. We’ve also added brief explanations as well.
It is a word used to describe the severe and sudden onset of a medical condition. Acute can be used to describe anything from a broken bone to an asthma attack. These conditions last from a few days to a few weeks.
The word ambulate means to move from one point to another. In medical terms, the derivate word ambulation is used. It is used to describe the ability to move from one place to another without using any devices for assistance.
Arrhythmia is also known as dysrhythmia. It is used to describe when the heartbeat exhibits an unusual or abnormal rhythm.
The term translates as “symptom-free.” This term is used one of two ways. Either you have recovered from the illness and exhibiting no symptoms. Or you are a carrier of the disease but are not showing any of the usual signs associated with it. For example, people have tested positive for Covid-19 without exhibiting the typical symptoms like coughing, high fever, etc.
Benign is used medically to describe any growth which is non-cancerous. The term non-malignant is also used in the same context.
A biopsy refers to the removal of a sample of tissue to be examined by a pathologist. It is generally used to test whether growth is non-malignant or malignant, in simpler terms, benign or cancerous. However, they are also used for several other tests that require a sample of tissue or cells.
Calcification is the term used to describe the build-up of calcium in body tissue causing it to harden. Depending on where it happens, it can be indicative of several disorders or diseases.
This type of ailment has persisted for an extended time period, usually anything lasting longer than three months. Most chronic conditions are for life. Chronic is the reverse of acute, which refers to an onset of illness that is abrupt or sudden.
It is the acronym for complete blood count and is a routine blood test performed to check for infection and a variety of other problems. A complete blood count (CBC) determines the number of red and white blood cells in the blood.
Diagnosis of exclusion
If a medical condition is not fully diagnosable by examining the patient’s history and extensive testing, what do doctors do? The diagnosis, in this case, is reached through the elimination of all possible alternatives. This process is referred to as a diagnosis of exclusion.
It is a term that refers to any medication that aids the body in eliminating excess fluid through urine. Occasionally, medical problems like heart failure lead our bodies to retain an abnormal amount of fluid. This medication draws the fluid from the tissues and transports it to the kidneys, which are then excreted as urine.
The medical word for swelling due to fluid build-up is known as “edema.” It is usually observed in the feet, ankles, and legs.
Intubation refers to any procedure that is used when the patient cannot breathe on their own. This term is often heard in conjunction with putting patients on ventilators. For example, Covid-19 patients with severe symptoms often required intubation.
It is a term used to describe an area of tissue that exhibits abnormal characteristics. A lesion can be benign or cancerous. For example, it could be a mole or blemish on the skin, a lump, or perhaps a polyp on an internal cavity.
This term refers to the act of spreading beyond the point of origin. This term is most often used when discussing cancers.
Necrosis is the term used to describe tissue death. It usually happens due to a lack of proper blood supply to a certain body part or area. It can happen due to injury, radiation, or chemicals. Necrosis is not reversible.
A nodule is used to describe any unusual bulge or lump in a part or area of the body. A nodule can be either benign or cancerous. Usually, a biopsy or CT scan is used to diagnose the state of the nodule.
The term can be used to describe a procedure, disease, or medical device. For example, a noninvasive procedure does not involve any tool which cuts or enters the body physically. On the other hand, noninvasive diseases do not damage, affect, or spread to other organs and areas of the body.
It refers to a therapy intended to enhance the quality of life through pain management and relief of symptoms for serious illnesses.
It is a branch of medicine that focuses on providing diagnoses to doctors and patients. They check if a sample has unremarkable meaning or not and look for abnormalities in it.
It is a broad word that refers to any drug that affects or alters the brain’s chemistry so that it changes the brain’s perception of reality.
This term refers to a tumor that develops from one of the body’s intermediate layers (like bone, muscles, cartilage, or fat) instead of the body’s lining tissues (skin, lung, bladder, or intestine), often referred to as adenomas—usually seen in children.
Sclerosis is a term that refers to stiffness and hardening of blood vessels or sections of the skin. It is usually caused by underlying diseases such as diabetes or scleroderma.
Stenosis is a medical term that refers to narrowing. This term is used to describe tubular structures inside the body. For example, a stenotic carotid artery is a constriction in the blood vessel that leads to the brain, resulting in reduced blood flow.
Thrombosis is a term that refers to a blood clot that forms within a blood vessel and prevents blood flow. Thrombosis can cause strokes. There are many therapeutic options for thrombosis, depending on the location of the clot in the body.
It refers to the application of a medicine or therapy directly to the afflicted region. Typically, when we say topical, we imply that it is intended for use on the skin.
Toxicity refers to how poisonous or harmful a substance is. In medical terms, it can refer to an overabundance of a drug in the body. Or it can be used to describe the accumulation of harmful substances within the body due to an infection or disease.
The term “transcutaneous” is made up of two words. Trans is a synonym for through, and cutaneous refers to the skin. Transcutaneous implies that the operation or therapy is carried out via the skin to reach the deeper tissues. A transcutaneous injection penetrates the skin’s layers. For example, a transcutaneous pacemaker is a kind of electrical shock given to the skin’s surface. It passes through the skin to the heart, where it may induce the heart to beat properly.