Have you ever watched a show like Grey’s Anatomy, ER, or Scrubs and heard the actors throw around medical terms? Whether they were describing something as “chronic” or “acute,” you probably thought to yourself, “what does that mean?” These terms aren’t just for small screen flare; they actually hold meaning in the medical field. If you were ever curious about the meaning behind the important words, then take a few minutes to check out our list below. You don’t need to be a doctor or have any kind of medical training to understand or even memorize them. A curious mind and a willingness to learn are enough.
Top 25 Medical Terms to Know
- In remission: Disease is not getting worse; not to be confused with being cured.
- Compound fracture: A broken bone that pierces the skin.
- Benign: Not cancerous.
- Malignant: Cancerous.
- Anti-inflammatory: Reduces swelling, pain, and soreness (such as ibuprofen or naproxen).
- Body Mass Index (BMI): Body fat measurement based on height and weight.
- Abiotic: Unrelated to living organisms (physical, not biological).
- Hypotension: Low blood pressure.
- Hypertension: High blood pressure.
- Lesion: Wound, sore, or cut.
- Noninvasive: Doesn’t require entering the body with instruments; usually simple.
- Outpatient: Check in and check out the same day.
- Inpatient: Plan to stay overnight for one or more days.
- Membrane: Thin layer of pliable tissue that serves as a covering or lining, or connection between two structures.
- Acute: Sudden but usually short (e.g., acute illness).
- Abatement: A reduction in the severity of symptoms.
- Biopsy: A tissue sample for testing purposes.
- Abortive: When a disease is cut short.
- Abrasion: Damage to the skin caused by friction.
- Abruption: A sudden separation or breaking off.
- Chronic: Long-lasting and recurring, as opposed to acute.
- Contusion: A bruise or minor injury that results from blunt force, such as falling.
- Compression: The application of pressure to stop bleeding or prevent further injury.
- Diagnosis: The identification of the disease-causing a person’s symptoms by analyzing tests and information.
- Epidermis: The outermost layer of skin.
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The Best Tips for Learning Important Medical Words
Knowing medical terms just for the fun of it is fine. But some may be interested in or are already enrolled in a program where they need to know medical terms. If you want to pursue a career in healthcare in any capacity, you’ll want to study and fully understand medical terminology.
One key tip for learning medical terminology is dissecting the word to its roots, prefixes, and suffixes. These parts of the word will give away important information and clue you into what’s being discussed. For example, a term like bronchitis (inflammation of the airways) contains “bronch” which lets you know it’s about the airways. Another easy example would be carcinogenic (cancer-causing). Since it contains “carcin/o,” you know it has to do with cancer.
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Ross Aresco is the CFO of Erie Institute of Technology. Erie Institute of Technology (EIT) is an Erie Pennsylvania technical/trade school providing training programs for medical, computer, electronics, manufacturing, and technology careers. EIT offers programs in many different areas to suit your interests and talents.