Understanding Medical Terms

Occasionally, it can be useful to have a general sense of what some common medical terms mean in order to understand your condition, medication or treatment plans. Always ask your doctor for more clarification if you are unsure what she is describing to you or what certain terms mean. Check out these sites below for extra clarification:

MedicineNet.com has a medical dictionary where you can search MedTerms and also use their glossary to figure out what medical words mean.

MediLexicon has medical dictionary with over 100,000 medical terms.

The Medical Library Association has a very simple glossary that translates medical terms into everyday language. It also has a handy guide to the medical shorthand that your doctor might jot down on your prescriptions. The glossary is available in Spanish, also.

The American Association for Clinical Chemistry has a comprehensive list of lab tests and the terminology associated with these tests.

Des Moines University offers a Web site full of medical terms related to specific diseases, along with quizzes to test what you've just learned.

The Nemours Foundation has a medical glossary just for kids. For instance, "acne" is described as "little red bumps on the skin called pimples."

See also Health Insurance Glossary.

Resources reviewed June 2013

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Understanding Medical Terms
Doctors can sometimes use unfamiliar and complicated terms to describe your illness and treatment. Here are some resources to help you understand.
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