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Archive for the ‘Terminology’ Category

Often, during a patient visit, I find myself explaining medical terms in more common language that a layperson can understand.

The following medical terms frequently come up in my conversations with patients. After each medical term is the common word or an explanation.

Conjunctivitis: pinkeye

Otitis media: ear infection in the middle ear, behind the eardrum

External otitis: “swimmer’s ear,” an infection of the ear canal

Pharyngitis: sore throat

Fracture: broken bone

Sprain: stretched ligament, a tough tissue that connects bone to bone

Strain: pulled muscle

Contusion: blunt impact injury, often causing a bruise

Hematoma: localized collection of blood

Hemorrhage: uncontrolled bleeding

Laceration: a cut to the skin

Abrasion: scraped skin

Skin abscess: boil

Hordeolum: sty

Cystitis: bladder infection

Pyleonephritis: kidney infection

Cellulitis: a bacterial skin infection

Analgesic: pain-relieving medicine

Hypertension: high blood pressure

Arrhythmia: irregular heartbeat

CPR: cardiopulmonary resuscitation

Myocardial infarction: heart attack

Angina: lack of oxygen to the heart, causing chest pain

Cerebral vascular accident (CVA): stroke

Transient ischemic attack (TIA): mini-stroke

Hemetemesis: vomiting blood

Hemoptysis: coughing up blood

Melena: black blood in stool

Hypoglycemia: low blood sugar

Cardiovascular: adjective for things pertaining to the heart and blood vessels

Renal: adjective for things pertaining to the kidneys

Hepatic: adjective for things pertaining to the liver

Cerebral: adjective for things pertaining to the brain

Cutaneous: adjective for things pertaining to the skin

Jaundice: yellowing of the skin

Edema: swelling

Medical terms can be confusing. Don’t hesitate to ask your doctor for an explanation in words you understand.

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