50 Medical Terms Every Students Should Know


Medical terminology can be rather confusing if you’re not familiar with the language. It can be challenging to keep up with the occasionally foreign-sounding array of technical phrases, abbreviations, and jargon that gets used, whether you’re thinking about going into the medical industry or you’re just trying to figure out the newest medical show. Having a solid foundation in the fundamentals will help you connect with and comprehend the medical professionals you will regularly encounter with, even if you have no plan to pursue employment in the healthcare industry.

Essential Medical Terms and Their Meanings

Medical terms for patient status

  1. Acute: A patient who requires emergency care due to a quick flare-up or possibly serious condition.
  2. Critical: The patient may not be conscious and their vital signs are not within normal limits.
  3. Inpatient: A patient’s status when they need to be admitted to the hospital.
  4. Observation: A short-term condition that permits patients to stay in the hospital and get care for a predetermined period of time while the doctor decides whether hospitalization or discharge is the best course of action.
  5. Outpatient: A patient’s status when they are not admitted to a hospital for long-term care. This may involve one-day ER visits, the same-day clinic visits, and same-day surgery.

Medical terms for conditions and diseases

This kind of medical jargon is frequently found in the charts that healthcare providers use to take notes. Some of them may even go by names you are more familiar with. 

  1. Abrasion: A scratch that is normally treated at home and only affects the skin.
  2. Abscess: An infected pocket that is painful and filled with pus.
  3. Aneurysm: A weakening and potentially ruptured artery caused by a protrusion in the artery wall.
  4. Aortic dissection: An opening in the aorta’s inner layer.
  5. Bradycardia: A decrease in heart rate, usually in adults to less than 60 beats per minute.
  6. Benign: Usually used to describe growths or tumors that are not malignant or cancerous.
  7. Biopsy: This is a test used to determine the origin or severity of a disease. It involves taking a small sample of tissue.
  8. Chronic: Denotes a persistent, recurrent illness that lasts more than three months.
  9. Contusion: Usually caused by force or impact, a bruise.
  10. Cyanosis: A disorder that causes the skin to turn blue, caused by low blood oxygen levels.
  11. Diagnosis: Identification of an illness, ailment, or disorder through assessment of tests, symptoms, and other variables is known as diagnosis.
  12. Thrombosis: A blood clot inside a blood vessel that interferes with regular blood flow.
  13. Edema: Accumulation of fluid-related swelling.
  14. Embolus: A clot of blood, an air bubble, or any other blockage preventing blood from leaving the damaged blood vessel.

Medical procedure and tests

  1. Blood culture: A test that looks for any uncommon fungus or bacteria in a patient’s blood.
  2. Blood gas: A test to reveal the oxygen, carbon dioxide, pH balance, and other gas-phase components of blood.
  3. Blood pressure: A measurement of the blood’s circulation efficiency. Adults typically have a blood pressure reading of 120/80.
  4. Blood swab: A stick with a cotton tip used to draw blood.
  5. Bowel disimpaction: The process of manually emptying a patient’s rectum of solidified feces.
  6. Central line: A catheter inserted into a large vein that makes it easier to take blood and provide various IV fluids.
  7. C-section: An acronym for a cesarean section, which is a surgical birth via the abdominal wall.
  8. Puls/ox: Oxygen saturation in blood is measured by pulse oximetry.
  9. Dialysis: A process used to filter blood in kidney failing patients.
  10. Intubation: Inserting an endotracheal tube to help a patient breathe is known as intubation.
  11. Laparotomy: Any procedure in which the abdominal wall is cut.
  12. Lumbar puncture: This involves inserting a hollow needle into the lumbar area to remove cerebrospinal fluid. Sometimes called a spinal tap.
  13. Sternotomy: Breast bone surgical incision.
  14. Thoracotomy: It is a chest cavity surgery.
  15. Tox screen: Blood examination for toxicological factors. ordered if there is a suspicion of a drug overdose and the drugs involved need to be determined.
  16. Ultrasound: A type of high-frequency sound wave diagnostic imaging.
  17. Venipuncture: Taking blood out of a vein.


The following is not an exhaustive list of all the acronyms and abbreviations used in medicine. However, this shortened lineup should catch you up unless you’re intending to become a physician or another kind of professional.

  1. ALOC: Acute Loss of Consciousness
  2. ASA: It stands for acetylsalicylic acid, which is also referred to as aspirin.
  3. BMI: Body mass index, is a weight-and-height-based indicator of body fat.
  4. BP: Blood pressure is referred to as BP.
  5. BLS: Basic life support entails airway blockage clearance and CPR for foreign bodies.
  6. CAT: Computerized axial tomography, is an additional type of diagnostic imaging.
  7. CHF: Congestive heart failure.
  8. CPR: Commonly known as mouth-to-mouth resuscitation, is a life-saving procedure that involves cardiopulmonary resuscitation.
  9. DNR: Don’t try to revive them. a medical directive prohibiting healthcare professionals from giving a patient CPR or other life-saving procedures.
  10. DOA: Dead on arrival, or DOA.
  11. Emergency Department/ER: Also known as Emergency Room.
  12. EEG: Brain activity is measured.
  13. Electrocardiogram, or EKG/ECG: It captures the heart’s electrical impulses.
  14. HR: It stands for heart rate, measured in beats per minute.


By offering exact terms and phrases to explain illnesses and treatments, medical terminology removes uncertainty. This lucidity is essential to avoid misconceptions that could have detrimental effects on patients and healthcare professionals alike.

Standardized medical terminology makes it possible for professionals working in the global healthcare industry to communicate with one another. Given the interrelated nature of today’s healthcare systems, this is particularly crucial.

Concise and consistent language saves time for healthcare providers in hectic medical situations. It makes it possible to quickly and accurately record patient data and promotes effective communication amongst members of the care team.

Medical terminology lowers the possibility of mistakes in diagnosis and treatment by ensuring that all parties involved in a patient’s care are aware of the same information.

FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

Q1: What are the best resources for learning medical terminology?

The best resources are dictionaries and tutorials. While a multi-media course offers a deeper grasp of medical terminology by dissecting the meaning of popular medical prefixes, word origins, and suffixes, visitors can utilize the medical dictionary to understand particular words.

Q2: How can I keep up with new medical terminology?

Reading reliable publications that provide excellent, peer-reviewed, evidence-based papers is one of the finest methods to keep up to date on medical terminology and research. Additionally, you can sign up for blogs, podcasts, or newsletters that provide an overview of the most recent discoveries and developments in many medical fields. But take care to stay away from biased, out-of-date, or untrustworthy sources, and make sure the material you read is legitimate and credible.

Q3: Can improving my medical vocabulary improve patient care?

Medical terminology lowers the possibility of mistakes in diagnosis and treatment by ensuring that all parties involved in a patient’s care are aware of the same information. It advances the field of medical study.

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