Category Archives: Defining words

Here at, each week I will focus on terms related to specific body systems, for example, cardiovascular I will focus on terms just for the cardiovascular system, respiratory, focusing on terms related to the respiratory system, etc., as well as general medical terms and pharmacological (drug/medication names and terms).

Medical Terms for the Week: Cardiovascular system:

ectopic beats  (ec- out of;   top/o place;    -ic pertaining to):  Heartbeats that occur outside of a normal rhythm.

mitral valve prolapse (MYE trul valv PRO laps ) (pro- forward; -lapse fall):  Protrusion of one or both cusps of the mitral valve back into the left atrium during ventricular systole.

valvulitis (Val vyoo LYE tis) (valvul/o valve; -itis inflammation):  Inflammation of a valve, especially a heart valve, caused most commonly by rheumatic fever, and less frequently by bacterial endocarditis or syphilis.

aortic stenosis (a OR tick sten OH sis) (aort/o aorta; -ic pertaining to; stenosis narrowing):  Narrowing of the aortic valve, which may be acquired or congenital.






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Medical terms for the week:

Hirsutism  (HUR soo tiz um):  Abnormal and/or unwanted hairiness, especially in women.

n.p.o. abbreviation:  Nothing by mouth.

b.i.d. abbreviation:  two times a day or twice daily.

paresthesia (pair uhs THEE zia):  Feeling of prickling, burning, or numbness.


Medical Terms for the week:

Vertigo (VUR ti goh):  Dizziness; abnormal sensation of movement when there is none, either of one’s self moving or of objects moving around oneself.

Dorsal (DOR Suhl):  Pertaining to the back or posterior part of the body.

Popliteal (Pop lih TEE uhl):  Pertaining to the back of the knee.

Supine (SOO pine):  Lying on one’s back.

Prone (PROHN):  Lying on one’s belly.

Medical terms for the week:

Lymphedema (lim fuh DEE muh) – Accumulation of lymphatic fluid and resultant swelling caused by obstruction, removal or hypoplasia of lymph vessels.

Anaphylaxis (an uh fuh LACK sis) – An extreme, potentially life-threatening allergic response in which a person suffers severely decreased blood pressure and constriction of the airways.

Alopecia  (al oh PEE shee ah) – Hair loss, resulting from genetic factors, disease or aging.

Cystitis (sis TYE tis)  – Inflammation of the urinary bladder.

Medical terms for the week

Herpes Zoster:  (HUR peez ZAH-stur) – An acute, painful rash characterized as a group of vesicles (blisters)  caused by reactivation of the varicella-zoster virus.   Also known as shinglesIt mainly affects older adults.

Tendinitis (or Tendonitis):  (ten din EYE tis) – Inflammation of a tendon.  A tendon is a tough, yet flexible band of fibrous tissue that connects muscle to a bone.

Renal failure: (ren/o=kidney; -al= pertaining to) – Also known as renal insufficiency, it is the inability of the kidneys to filter waste products from the blood.

Metacarpal: (meh tuh KAR pul) – One of the five bones that form the middle part of the hand.

Metatarsal:  (meh tuh TAR suhl) – One of the five foot bones that extends from the ankles to the toes.



nephropathy (neh FROP ah thee):  Disease of the kidneys, a general term that does not specify a disorder.

adjustment disorder:  Disorder that tends to manifest during periods of stressful life changes, moving to a different home or city, divorce, etc.  Symptoms can occur when one has a hard time coping and the reaction is stronger than what would be expected of the event.

neuropathy (noo RAH puh thee):  Disease or malfunction of the nerves, typically causing numbness and weakness.

Defining words for the week – 

subcutaneous:  (sub- meaning under); (cutaneous – meaning skin).  Underneath the skin.

necrosis:  (necr/o – meaning dead, death); (-osis – meaning abnormal condition).  Abnormal condition of death.

liposuction (LYE-poh-suk-shun):  Technique for removing adipose (fat present in cells) tissue with a suction pump device.

carcinoma (car-sih-NO-muh):  cancer of epithelial tissue of the skin or lining of internal organs.

tachypnea (tack IP nee ah) – Fast breathing.

epistaxis (ep ih STAK sis) – Nosebleed.

rhinorrhea (rye noh REE ah) – Nose discharge.

arrhythmia (ah RHITH mee ah) – Abnormal variation from the normal heartbeat rhythm.  (Also called dysrhythmia)

gastrectomy (gass TRECK tuh mee) – Surgical removal of all or part of the stomach.

– Defining words – 

Hyperglycemia (Hye per glye SEE mee ah) – Excessive sugar in the blood (or high blood sugar).

Hypovolemia (Hye poh voh LEE mee ah)  – Deficient volume of circulating blood (or low blood volume).

Antiemetics (An tye ee MEH tics) – Drugs that prevent or alleviate nausea and vomiting.  Some examples include:  Zofran (odansetron) and Phenergan (promethazine).

Total bilirubin (BILL lee roo bin) – Blood test to detect possible jaundice (yellowing of the skin), cirrhosis or hepatitis.

Cirrhosis (Sur OH sis) – Chronic degenerative disease of the liver, most commonly associated with alcohol abuse.

Defining words for the week:      

symptom:  A subjective report of a disease state (e.g., pain, itching, fatigue are considered symptoms).

sign:  An objective finding of a disease state (e.g., blood coming from the nose is a sign – something that is apparent to the physician, patient and others).

diagnosis:  Identifying the disease or condition by a healthcare professional after evaluating a person’s signs, symptoms, and history.

Imdur:  (EM der) – Generic name is isosorbide mononitrate (Eye so SORE bide mon no NYE trate):  This medicine is in a class of drugs known as nitrate which is used to treat angina (chest pain) in patients with certain heart conditions (coronary artery disease).  It will NOT relieve chest pain once it occurs (whereas nitroglycerin CAN relieve chest pain that is already occurring).