Glossary


Never be afraid to ask a medical caregiver for the definition of a term. They learned what the word meant when they studied so they can easily explain it to you too.


The following list includes medical and legal definitions, descriptions of various medical specialists, and common abbreviations used on medical charts and prescriptions. For a complete definition use a more extensive standard medical or legal dictionary.


abnormal Something is not considered 'normal'. For example, a temperature is abnormal if it below or above the typical level.

abscess A sac of pus formed by the breakdown of infected or inflamed tissue.

a.c. abbrev. Before meals.

acupressure A method of pain relief using finger pressure on the same points used in acupuncture.

acupuncture Chinese medical practice of inserting needles through the skin in specific points to restore the balance of a body's energy flow.

acute Condition with symptoms that develop quickly, are severe, but do not last long. Opposite to chronic condition.

acute care facility Hospitals and medical centers where patients come for relatively quick care for sudden illness, surgery, testing or treatment. Opposite is chronic or long-term care or hospice facilities.

addiction Uncontrollable craving for a substance with an increasing tolerance and physical dependence on it.

adjuvant treatment An added treatment to what is already being done.

advance directives One of two types of legal documents that either give specific instructions or name a substitute decision maker. They may describe what medical treatments a person does, or does not, want under certain circumstances.

adverse effect Negative side effects of a treatment or medication.

allergist A doctor who also specializes in the treatment of allergies.

allergy A reaction to substances that may cause a rash, swelling or more serious physical response.

Alzheimer's A form of dementia where a person's mental capacity decreases as a result of phyisical changes to the person's brain.

alopecia Temporary or permanent loss of hair (may occur as a side effect of chemotherapy).

ambulatory The ability of someone to walk. Ambulatory centers refer to health care facilities where people go for part of a day for treatment.

amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) A deterioration of the spinal cord that results in the wasting away of muscles. Also called Lou Gerhig's Disease.

analgesic A pain-relieving drug.

anaphylaxis An exaggerated, often serious, allergic reaction to proteins and other substances.

anemia A decrease in red blood cells or in the hemoglobin content of the red corpuscles. The normal count is 4.0 to 6.0 x1012.

anesthesia Total or partial loss of sensation from an injection, ingestion or inhalation of a drug. General anesthetics put a patient to sleep for a short time. Local anesthetics numb an area of your body without putting you to sleep (e.g., dentist's anesthetic for a tooth filling).

anesthesiologist A doctor specializing in providing an anesthetic during surgery and monitoring the patient's vital signs.

aneurysm A swollen or distended area in a blood vessel wall.

angina The pain that results from not enough blood going to the heart.

angiogram Xray studies in which a dye is injected into the bloodstream to detect abnormalities in blood vessels, tissues and organs.

anorexia The loss of appetite experienced by most people near the end of their lives.

antacid A substance that neutralizes acid.

antibiotic Drugs that check the growth of bacteria but do not work against viruses.

antibody A substance produced in our bodies to fight against bacteria.

anticonvulsant A medication used to prevent seizures.

antitussive A drug used to relieve coughing.

apnea Extended periods when breathing stops during sleep.

apoplexy (See stroke)

arrhythmia An abnormal heartbeat.

aspiration Fluid that gets into the lungs.

asthma A tightening of the air passages that leads to wheezing and difficult breathing.

assets All of a person's properties, including real estate, cash, stocks and bonds, art, furniture etc., and claims against other people (e.g., loans).

asymptomatic Someone without any symptoms.

atrophy A wasting or withering away of part of the body.

autopsy An examination of a dead body to determine the cause of death; the postmortem ordered by the coroner or medical examiner.

barbiturate A type of sleeping pill.

barium enema Radiopaque barium (visible by xray) is put into the lower bowel (colon) and rectum by an enema for an xray. Also called a Lower GI Series.

bedsore A sore that develops when pressure causes inadequate blood circulation to the skin. For persons confined to bed, good skin care, repositioning, cushioning and some limited activity are the best treatment. Also called decubitus ulcers.

beneficiary Person who receives a benefit from a will, insurance policy or trust fund.

benign Non-malignant selflimiting condition that is not life threatening.

bereavement The period of time when a person experiences as they grieve the loss of a loved one.

b.i.d. abbrev. twice a day.

biopsy An examination of body tissue with a microscope to help in diagnosis. Tissue is removed from the body by surgery, insertion of a needle into tissue and other methods.

blood gas test A blood test to determine the level of oxygen and carbon dioxide in the blood.

blood pressure Measures the force of the blood coming from the heart against the walls of the blood vessels. (See hypertension) The measurement is recorded as two numbers; e.g., 130/80.

bolus An amount given all at once.

bone marrow test A needle is inserted into a bone (hipbone or breastbone) to remove a sample of bone marrow for diagnostic purposes e.g., to diagnose leukemia, aplastic anemia.

brain scan Also called carotid angiogram. A radioactive substance is injected into a neck artery for a brain xray using a scanning camera.

CAT (or CT) Scan A computerized axial tomography scan. X-rays of the body or head are taken using a computer to give a slice-by-slice view of the area.

CCU (Coronary Care Unit) Unit in a hospital which provides intensive care to heart patients.

cancer A malignant tumor that tends to invade healthy tissue and spread to new sites.

candidiasis A fungal infection known as 'thrush' in one's mouth, throat, esophagus or other dark, moist areas (e.g., vagina).

capacity (See competence)

carbohydrates Best source of energy for your body. Found in most foods but especially sugars and starches. If you eat too much, however, your body changes and stores them as fats.

carcinogenic Something that can cause cancer.

cardiac Refers to the heart.

cardiac surgeon Doctor specializing in heart surgery.

cardiologist Doctor specializing in the diagnosis and treatment of heart conditions.

cardiovascular surgeon Doctor specializing in surgery of blood vessels of the heart.

care The physical, emotional, spiritual and information supports given to someone who is ill or dying.

care plan A document outlining the task and responsibilities of all those involved in caring for a person.

caregivers Includes professional health care providers and volunteers. Primary caregiver is usually a family member or close friend who provides most of the physical care for a person at home (e.g., wife, husband, lover, best friend).

catheter A plastic or rubber tube that puts in or takes out fluids from your body. A common example is a bladder catheter (Foley) to allow urine to leave the bladder freely.

c.c. abbrev. Cubic centimeter; also can mean with meals or food.

cerebral palsy Impaired muscular power and coordination from failure of nerve cells in the brain.

chemotherapy Drug therapy against infection or cancer that can destroy bacteria or dangerous cells.

cheyne-stoking A pattern of breathing where the respiration rates increase and then decrease followed by increasing periods of not breathing.

chiropractor Doctor without a medical degree specializing in manipulation of the spine; cannot prescribe medication or perform surgery.

chronic A prolonged or lingering condition.

clinical nurse specialist (CNS) A registered nurse with a Master's Degree in Nursing who specializes in one aspect of health care and is involved in research and teaching.

codicil An appendix or supplement to a will (e.g., to change the name of your beneficiary).

colostomy A surgical opening from the body surface (usually through the abdomen) into the colon which acts as an artificial anus. Colostomy bags collect the body's waste. Depending on a patient's condition a colostomy may be temporary or permanent.

coma A deep, prolonged unconsciousness.

competence Legal competence to make decisions for one's self is difficult to determine because incompetence may not be permanent and definitions of legal competence depends on where one lives.

complementary therapies Includes therapies like: acupuncture, aroma therapy, art, autosuggestion, biofeedback, chiropractic, herbal, homeopathy, music, naturopathy, osteopathy and therapeutic touch.

congenital Something present since birth.

COLD (Chronic Obstructive Lung Disease) (See COPD)

conjunctivitis A redness and irritation of the thin membrane that covers the eye.

COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease) Includes illnesses like emphysema. Also called COLD for chronic obstructive lung disease.

coronary Refers to the blood vessels that supply the heart.

CPR Cardiopulmonary resuscitation is used on patients who are not breathing and have no pulse. Trained professionals or volunteers use artificial respiration (mouth-to-mouth breathing) and manually pump the patient's heart by compressing the chest with their hands to simulate a regular pulse.

culture A test for infection or organisms that could cause infection.

CVA (Cerebrovascular accident) Also called a stroke.

cystoscopy A long flexible tube, attached to a miniature camera, is passed through the urinary tract into the bladder.

d. abbrev. Give.

dd. in d abbrev. From day to day.

dec abbrev. Pour off.

decubitus ulcer (See bedsore)

dehydrated Lack of moisture in the body.

dementia Deterioration of a person's mental capacity from changes in the brain.

depressant A drug to reduce mental or physical activity.

dermatologist Doctor specializing in skin conditions.

diagnosis (dx) An analysis of someone's physical and/or mental condition.

diastolic The lower number in the blood pressure reading. Refers to the resting phase of a heartbeat.

dil abbrev. Dilute.

disp abbrev. Dispense.

diuretic A drug to increase urine output, relieving edema or swelling.

do not resuscitate (DNR) A written order that the doctor makes, usually with the patient-family's consent, not to resuscitate the person if they have a cardiac or respiratory arrest. This is usually written near the end of someone's life so that no CPR or treatments are done to prolong the person's life.

doctor Common title for a physician.

doppler Sound waves. Also the name for a test that can detect a deep vein thrombosis (DVT).

dos abbrev. Dose.

draw sheet A folded bed sheet placed sideways on the bed under a patient. Two people on either side of the bed can then lift the draw sheet and the patient to move them up or down in bed or to help them turn the person onto their side or back.

duodenum The first part of the small intestine connecting to the stomach.

dur dolor abbrev. While pain lasts.

dx abbrev. Diagnosis.

dysphagia Difficulty in swallowing.

dysplasia Abnormal cells.

dyspnea Shortness of breath.

ECG See EKG.

echocardiogram Sound wave test of the heart.

EKG (electrocardiogram) A record of the electrical current produced by the heart. Diagnoses abnormal cardiac rhythm and damage to the muscle of the heart. Also ECG.

EEG (Electroencephalogram) A record of the electrical current produced by the brain.

edema Excess collection of fluid in the tissues.

electrolyte imbalance When salts or chemicals in the blood are not balanced correctly.

embolism Blockage of a blood artery by a clot. In the brain it can cause a stroke.

EMG (electromyography) Test to evaluate the electrical activity of nerves and muscles.

emesis Vomiting.

emp abbrev. As directed.

empiric Based on experience.

emphysema A condition of the lungs with labored breathing and increased risk of infection. The lungs lose their elasticity and function.

endocrinologist A specialist in diagnosing and treating disorders of the endocrine glands (glands affecting hormones) and their secretions.

endoscopic exam Using a thin, lighted tube to examine an internal part of the body.

enema A fluid injected into the rectum to clean out the bowel or to give drugs.

enteral Something given by way of the intestines.

epidural anesthesia Medication given through a thin tube into your spine. Common in woman having babies as it allows the mother to be alert with pain relief.

estate All of one's assets and liabilities, especially those left by a deceased.

executor The person named in a will to dispose of the assets and pay, from estate funds, the liabilities of a deceased.

executrix The female noun for executor.

family Includes people who are part of one's immediate family and those we define as members of our family through friendship and love. In legal terms, each province and state has different definitions that may restrict family members to biologically related members.

family practitioner Doctor who diagnoses and treats the general illnesses and problems of patients and refers them to a specialist when necessary.

febris Latin for fever.

feces The waste product produced by a bowel movement.

fibrillation Irregular heart beat or an involuntary muscle contraction.

gall bladder An organ connected to the liver and duodenum by the biliary tract. The bladder stores about 50 ml of bile until the body needs it for digestion.

gastroenterologist Doctor specializing in the digestive system: esophagus, stomach and bowels.

geneticist Specialist in genetic diseases­hereditary disorders and abnormalities.

geriatrician (gerontologist) Specialist in the diagnoses and treatment of illnesses in older people.

GI (gastrointestinal) series An x-ray examination of the esophagus, stomach, colon and rectum.

GI series-lower (See barium enema)

gm. abbrev. Grams.

gr. abbrev. Grains.

gtt. abbrev. Drops.

h abbrev. Hour.

hallucination The feeling of seeing or hearing something that is not there.

hematologist Doctor specializing in conditions of the blood.

hematoma Swelling caused by bleeding into tissues as in a bruise.

hemiplegia One-sided paralysis of the body, usually from a stroke. A right-sided paralysis indicates left-sided brain damage.

hemoglobin The protein in red blood cells that carry oxygen to the body tissues. The normal count is 12-18 g/dL.

hemorrhage Extensive abnormal bleeding.

heparin lock A needle is placed in the arm with blood thinner to keep the blood from clotting inside the needle or tubing.

hepatoma Cancer or tumor of the liver.

hereditary Something inherited from parents.

high blood pressure (See hypertension)

Hodgkin's disease A form of lymphoid cancer that has high fever, enlarged lymph nodes and spleen, liver and kidneys and a dangerously lowered resistance to infection.

hormone A glandular excretion into the blood that stimulates another organ.

hospice (See palliative care) Also name for a free-standing institution where palliative care is given to people with a terminal illness. Programs often have major home care component and may also be part of an established institution such as a hospital.

h.s. abbrev. At bedtime, before retiring. From the Latin hora somni.

Huntington's chorea A hereditary condition with symptoms of uncontrolled movements and progressive mental disorder.

hypercalcemia/hypocalcemia Too high (more than 10.5 mg/dL), or too low (less than 8.8 mg/dL), calcium level in the blood.

hyperkalemia/hypokalemia Too high (more than 5.0 mEq/L), or too low(less than 3.8 mEq/L), potassium level in the blood.

hypernatremia/hyopnatremia Too high(more than 145 mEq/L), or too low(less than 136 mEq/L), sodium (salt) level in the blood.

hypertension High blood pressure The systolic number is usually above 140mmHg and the diastolic number is usually above 90 mmHg. Can lead to a stroke, heart failure or other serious condition if not treated. The pressure measures the force of the blood expelled from the heart against the walls of the blood vessels.

hypnotic A drug used to induce sleep.

hypnotism A treatment that puts a patient into a sleep-like trance to enhance memory or make the person susceptible to suggestion. Can be used in pain relief and to eliminate some negative habits.

hypotension Low arterial blood pressure.

hypoxia Low oxygen level in the blood.

I&O abbrev. Intake and output refers to fluids into and out of body.

iatrogenic disease A condition caused by a doctor or a hospital stay.

ICU (Intensive Care Unit) Unit within a hospital where seriously ill or postoperative patients receive intensive care.

incontinence Lack of bladder or rectal control.

in d abbrev. Daily. From the Latin in dies.

idiopathic Unknown cause.

infarct Death of tissue because of lack of blood supply.

infarction Blockage of a blood vessel especially the artery leading to the heart.

infection Inflammation or disease caused when bacteria, viruses and other microorganisms invade the body.

infectious disease Disease which is passed from one person to another person.

inflammation Swelling or irritation of tissue.

insomnia An inability to sleep.

intern A recent medical school graduate undergoing supervised practical training.

internist Doctor who specializes in the nonsurgical treatment of the internal organs of the body.

intramuscular Something (e.g., medication) given into a muscle.

IV abbrev. Intravenous in which a needle is kept within a vein for the injection of medication or blood.

intraperitoneal Into the abdominal cavity.

intubate Putting a tube into a person's airway to help them breathe.

invasive procedure Anything that punctures, opens or cuts the skin.

laxative A drug that causes bowel movements.

lethargy Sleepiness.

leukemia Cancer of white blood cells in which these cells reproduce abnormally.

liabilities Debts owed to others such as a loan, mortgage, utility bills, credit card payments, etc.

life-sustaining procedures These may include artificial means of keeping someone hydrated and fed, CPR, blood transfusions and mechanical ventilation.

life-threatening illness Any condition or disease that can lead to sudden or quicker-than-expected death.

lipid Fat.

living will A form of advance directives that lists what life-sustaining treatments the person does, or does not, want in situations listed in the document.

lumbar puncture A diagnostic procedure in which a hollow needle is inserted between two lumbar vertebrae in the spinal cord to remove some spinal fluid.

lymph glands Nodes of tissue that provide a system of protection against bacteria and other attacks against the body's immune system.

m et n abbrev. Morning and night.

malaise A vague feeling of discomfort; feeling bad.

malignant Progressive or terminal condition.

malnutrition Insufficient consumption of essential food elements whether by improper diet or illness.

mammography An x-ray of the breasts to detect tumors.

meningitis Inflammation of the membranes covering and protecting the brain and spinal cord.

metastasis The spreading of an infection or cancer from the original area to others in the body.

mg. abbrev. Milligrams.

MI abbrev. Myocardial infarction; a heart attack.

mor dict abbrev. In the manner directed.

morbidity Serious disease; an undesired result or complication.

mortality Death or death rate.

mobility The ability to move.

MRI abbrev. Magnetic resonance imaging; a picture of the body that uses magnetic energy rather than x-ray energy.

multiple sclerosis A degenerative disease of the central nervous system where parts of the brain and spinal cord harden.

muscular dystrophy A degenerative muscle disease in which muscles waste away.

myalgia Muscle aches.

nasogastric tube A tube from the nose to the stomach to give nutrition and medication.

neoplasm A tumor or a new growth of abnormal tissue where cells multiply. (See cancer).

nephrologist Doctor specializing in kidney conditions.

neurologist Doctor specializing in the nervous system.

neurosurgeon Doctor specializing in surgery of the nervous system.

non rep abbrev. Do not repeat.

nosocomial pneumonia Pneumonia acquired in the hospital.

notarize A notary public authenticates or attests to the truth of a document (e.g., attests that a document was signed by a particular person).

notary public A public officer (can be a lawyer) who certifies documents, takes affidavits and administers oaths.

nurse practitioner Registered Nurse who has received additional training in order to perform more specialized care than other nurses.

o abbrev. None.

obstetrician/gynecologist Doctor specializing in conditions of the female reproductive system. Obstetricians specialize in pregnancies and births.

occlusion A closing or an obstruction.

oncology The study of tumors or cancer.

oncologist Doctor specializing in tumors and cancer.

ophthalmologist Doctor who specializes in diseases of the eye.

opioids These drugs come from opium. They are generally used to relive severe pain. Heroin, methadone and morphine all come from the opium plant.

optician Non-doctor trained in filling prescriptions for eyeglasses and contact lenses.

optometrist Non-doctor trained to measure vision and make eyeglasses and contact lenses.

orthopedist Doctor specializing in bones.

osteopathy Diagnosis and treatment of disorders by manipulative therapy, drugs, surgery, proper diet and psychotherapy.

osteoporosis The bones become weaker because of a loss of calcium.

otolaryngologist A specialist in conditions of the ear, throat and nose.

palliative care Treatment to relieve symptoms, rather than cure, a disease or condition. Includes meeting the physical, emotional, spiritual and information needs of patients. Also called hospice care.

pancreas The organ that serves two functions: (a) produces pancreatic juice containing digestive enzymes, and (b) produces several important hormones, including insulin.

paracentesis Fluid drainage by inserting a tube into the body.

parenteral Administration of medication or nutrition into the body by injections.

Parkinson's disease A progressive nervous disease. Symptoms are muscular tremor, slowing of movement, partial facial paralysis and impaired motor control.

pathogenesis The initial cause of a disease.

pathologist Doctor who examines tissue and bone to diagnose if there is a malignancy. They also perform autopsies.

pathology The scientific study of disease.

patient Someone who receives treatment. Sometimes called client, consumer or customer.

pc abbrev. After meals.

pediatrician Doctor specializing in the care of children.

per os (po) abbrev. By mouth.

percutaneous Through the skin.

pH test Determines the degree of acidity or alkalinity in the urine.

pharmacokinetics Study of how the body absorbs, distributes and gets rids of a drug.

phlebitis Irritation or inflammation of a vein.

physiatrist Doctor specializing in rehabilitative therapy after illness or injury.

physician A medical doctor as opposed to doctors with a Ph.D.

placebo A substance containing no medication. It can help a patient who believes that it will work. A practical and effective treatment for some people.

plasma The liquid part of blood (55% of total volume).

plastic surgeon Doctor specializing in reconstructive and cosmetic surgery.

platelets Small particles in the blood that help with blood clotting.

pneumonia An acute or chronic disease which inflames the lungs and fills them with fluid.

p.o. abbrev. By mouth. From the Latin per os.

podiatrist Non-doctor who specializes in the care, treatment and surgery of feet.

powers of attorney There are two main types of legal powers of attorney documents that a person signs to delegate legal decision making to one or two people of their choice. The first gives someone financial and legal decision-making power from the time the document is signed until the document is revoked by the patient, and the second gives all health care related decisions away only if the patient cannot speak for themselves at the time. It is advisable to separate the two types of documents so that one person is not responsible for all decisions and not in a conflict of interest.

primary caregiver (See caregiver).

prn abbrev. Give as needed, as often as necessary.

proctologist Doctor specializing in diagnoses and treatment of disorders and diseases of the anus, colon and rectum.

prognosis (Px) A prediction of the future course of a condition or illness based on scientific study. It is only a prediction and should not be accepted as fact.

prophylaxis A drug given to prevent disease or infection.

prosthesis An artificial substitute for a part of the body such as an arm or leg.

protocol A plan of study.

psychiatrist Doctor who specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of emotional and medical disorders.

psychologist A professional with a Ph.D. in psychology who diagnoses and treats psychological disorders. They may not prescribe medication.

pt abbrev. Patient.

pulmonary Refers to the lungs.

px abbrev. Prognosis.

q abbrev. Every.

q.d. abbrev. Every day; daily.

q.h. abbrev. Every hour. From the Latin quaque hora.

q.i.d. abbrev. Four times a day. From the Latin quater in die.

qn abbrev. Every night. From the Latin quaque nox.

qod abbrev. Every other day.

qs abbrev. Proper amount, quantity sufficient.

quack Opportunist who uses questionable or worthless methods or devices in diagnosing and treating various diseases.

ql abbrev. As much as desired. From the Latin quantum libet.

radiation therapy X-ray or cobalt treatment.

radiologist Doctor who interprets Xrays. Subspecialties include nuclear medicine and angiography.

radiology A branch of science using radiant energy, as in x-ays, especially in the diagnosis and treatment of disease.

recombinant New combinations of genes.

refractory Not responding to treatment.

regimen A program or set of rules to follow for treatment of a condition.

relapse The return or reappearance of a disease.

remission Disappearance of evidence of cancer or other diseases.

renal Refers to the kidneys.

rep abbrev. Repeat.

resect Remove or cut out surgically.

resident Doctor receiving specialized clinical training.

respirator A gas-mask worn over the mouth and nose to filter out poisonous substances that someone may otherwise breathe in. Mechanical versions permit artificial respiration (see ventilator).

respirologist Specialist who diagnoses and treats diseases of the lungs and respiratory (breathing) system.

respite care Time away for rest. This might mean that a family caregiver goes away for a few days or that the person who is ill goes to a hospice program.

rheumatologist Specialist who diagnoses and treats rheumatic diseases that cause inflammation or pain in the joints and muscles.

rx abbrev. Prescription or therapy.

satiety (early) Feeling full or bloated quickly after eating very little food.

sedative A medication to calm a person or make them less anxious.

senility Loss of mental ability and memory (especially of recent events).

shiatsu (See acupressure).

shock Sudden, acute failure of the body's circulatory function.

sig abbrev. Write, let it be imprinted.

somnolence Sleepiness.

spinal tap (See lumbar puncture).

spleen This gland helps to destroy old red blood cells and remove other debris from the bloodstream, and also in holding a reservoir of blood. Although this gland is not necessary to live, not having one (often removed surgically after abdominal injuries) not having one makes people more susceptible to certain infections.

standard of care A treatment plan that the majority of health care providers accept as appropriate.

stat abbrev. Right away. From the Latin statim.

stomatitis Mouth sores or inflammation of the mouth.

stroke Sudden loss of muscular control, sensation and consciousness caused by the rupture or blocking of a blood vessel in the brain.

subclavian Under the collarbone.

subcutaneous Often refers to medication placed under the skin by a needle.

sublingual Often refers to medication placed under the tongue.

substitute decision maker This person is chosen by a patient in an advance directive document to make decisions about health care and treatment when a patient cannot speak for themselves.

supine Lying on the back.

supportive care General medical care that treats symptoms; not intended to improve or cure the underlying disease or condition. Sometimes called palliative care although not limited to people with a terminal or life-threatening illness.

suppository A medication given in solid form and inserted into the rectum or vagina. Dissolves into a liquid by body heat.

surgeon Doctor who treats a disease by surgery. Surgeons generally specialize in one or more types of surgery.

symptom An indication of a certain condition or disease.

symptomatic Having symptoms.

syndrome A group of symptoms that indicate a specific disease or condition.

systolic Top number in blood pressure; refers to the contraction phase of a heart beat.

TENS (Trans-cutaneous electrical nerve stimulation) A device that provides mild amounts of electrical stimulus to different parts of the body as a way to reduce pain.

temperature Normal oral temperature is 9799° Fahrenheit or 3637.2° Celsius. Changes +/ one degree during the day.

terminal illness Often classified as any illness that will lead to death soon. The length of time used is often between 3-12 months.

thoracic surgeon Doctor who specializes in chest surgery.

thrombosis Blood clotting within blood vessels.

t.i.d. abbrev. Three times a day. From the Latin tres in die.

titration Gradual change in drug dose to determine the best effect or dose of a drug.

tolerance Drug tolerance is when there is increased resistance to the usual effect of a drug as a result of long-term use.

topical On the skin or surface.

toxicity Side effects or undesirable effects of a drug.

toxin A poison or harmful agent.

transdermal Through the skin.

trauma An injury or wound.

tumor (See neoplasm).

tx abbrev. Treatment.

ultrasound scan A picture of internal organs using high frequency sound waves.

urine Liquid released when emptying one's bladder.

urologist Doctors specializing in urinary tract and male prostate gland diseases plus male sexual dysfunction.

ut dict abbrev. As directed.

vascular surgeon Doctor specializing in blood vessel surgery.

venipuncture Going into a vein with a needle.

ventilator A medical device that provides patients with forced air ventilation. They are used most often in intensive care medicine when a patient cannot breathe on their own and in anesthesia as part of an anesthesia machine. Home care units are also available for patients dependent on these machines.

vital signs Measurement of temperature, pulse, respiration rate and blood pressure.

vomiting A reflex action that contracts the stomach and ejects the contents through the mouth.

xray Electromagnetic radiation used to create pictures of the body's internal structures.

xray dye A substance injected into a vein before an X-ray to highlight an area for examination. May cause an allergic reaction.

WBC (White blood cell count) The white blood cells fight infection. The normal count is 5,000 to 10,000.

Improving Your Care Today

The info below is taken, with permission from the book Caring for Loved Ones at Home

 

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