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25 Important Medical Terms You Need to Know

These medical terms will keep you informed not only in daily conversation but in situations when they matter most.

 Word cloud of medical terms

Have you ever been watching a live sporting event when an athlete suddenly left the game due to injury? Of course you have. The media coverage goes to commercial and at the first glance of a medical update, the sports broadcaster is back on live TV saying something about a “contusion” or “abrasion.”

One of two things usually happens from there. One, you may think it’s ridiculous that the media referred to a bruise as a contusion, or a scrape as an abrasion. Two, this may actually pique a desire in you to learn some medical vocabulary. For most of us, it’s probably the first.

It's helpful to know commonly used medical terms, so we've compiled a list of 25 that will surely get you through a live sports broadcast, and help you out next time you’re at the doctor’s office.

Top 25 medical terms to know

 

  1. Benign: Not cancerous
  2. Malignant: Cancerous
  3. Anti-inflammatory: Reduces swelling, pain, and soreness (such as ibuprofen or naproxen)
  4. Body Mass Index (BMI): Body fat measurement based on height and weight
  5. Biopsy: A tissue sample for testing purposes
  6. Hypotension: Low blood pressure
  7. Hypertension: High blood pressure
  8. Lesion: Wound, sore, or cut
  9. Noninvasive: Doesn’t require entering the body with instruments; usually simple
  10. Outpatient: Check in and check out the same day
  11. Inpatient: Plan to stay overnight for one or more days
  12. In remission: Disease is not getting worse; not to be confused with being cured
  13. Membrane: Thin layer of pliable tissue that serves as a covering or lining or connection between two structures
  14. Acute: Sudden but usually short (e.g., acute illness)
  15. Angina: Pain in the chest related to the heart that comes and goes
  16. Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD): Heartburn
  17. Cellulitis: Inflamed or infected tissue beneath the skin
  18. Epidermis: Outermost layer of skin
  19. Neutrophils: Most common type of white blood cell
  20. Edema: Swelling
  21. Embolism: Blood clot
  22. Sutures: Stitches
  23. Polyp: Mass or growth of thin tissue
  24. Compound fracture: Broken bone that protrudes through the skin
  25. Comminuted fracture: Broken bone that shatters into many pieces

Next time you hear one of these terms—whether on TV, in a medical environment, or elsewhere—you won’t miss a beat. Just beware, you may be asked to translate for others.

Check out other healthy living articles here.

 

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The content presented here is for your information only. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, and it should not be used to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease. Please consult your healthcare provider if you have any questions or concerns.

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