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Glossary of Terms

Common Medical Terminology Related to Medications and Treatments:

    - A -

  • Analgesic: a drug that relieves pain

  • Antacid: a drug that counteracts acidity

  • Antibiotic: chemical compounds used to treat or prevent infections

  • Anticoagulant: a substance that suppresses (slows down), delays, or stops the coagulation of blood.

  • Anticonvulsant: a drug used to control or prevent seizures

  • Antidepressant: a drug used to treat depression

  • Anti-diarrheal: a drug used to counteract diarrhea

  • Antihistamine: a drug used to relieve symptoms of allergies, colds, and sometimes motion sickness. These drugs dry up secretions.

  • Anti-inflammatory: a category of drugs used to treat inflammation, pain, and swelling

  • Antifungal: a drug or agent that helps control or stops the growth of fungus

  • Antihypertensive: a medication which helps lower blood pressure

  • Antiseptic: a substance that inhibits the growth of bacteria

  • Aphagia: loss of the ability to swallow, difficulty swallowing

  • Aphasia: difficulty with or loss of the ability to express oneself, can be spoken, written, or comprehension

  • Antipsychotic: a group of drugs or drug category that works on the chemical imbalance in the brain

  • Atrophy: a decrease in size or wasting away of muscle tissue, often seen after a person has suffered a stoke

  • Axilla: otherwise known as "the arm pit", used as one method to place a thermometer to take a temperature

    - B -

  • Balm: a soothing or healing medication applied topically

  • Bandage: a strip of plastic material or roll of gauze used to cover a wound or control bleeding of an injury

  • Barbiturates: a group of drugs (compounds) used to sedate or cause sleep

  • Buccal Tablet: a medication that is placed between the person's cheek and gum

    - C -

  • Capsule: a soluble casing inclosing a dose of medication

  • Cardio: a Greek term for heart

  • Cardiac: pertaining to the heart

  • Catheter: a flexible tube that passes though body channels to help drain off fluids

  • Cellulitis: a severe infection of the tissues

  • Chronic: a condition or illness that persists for a long time

  • COPD: chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, a disease of the lung causing shortness of breath, fatigue, and cough.

  • Colon: a part of the large intestine

  • Colostomy: an artificial opening (stoma) created in the large intestine and brought out through the abdominal wall

  • Constipation: a condition in which a person has a difficult time passing waste material from the bowel. The material may be dry and hard and may cause pain.

  • Contracture: abnormal shortening of muscle tissue, often caused by muscles becoming "atrophied"

  • Contusion: injury to tissues without the skin breaking, blood accumulates under the skin, causing pain and swelling.

  • Controlled Drugs: the US Federal Controlled Substances Act of 1970 placed drugs into five categories, based on the drugs potential to cause psychological or physical dependence, as well as potential for abuse.

  • Coronary: having to do with the heart. There are two large arteries that supply blood to heart muscle. People may have "coronary insufficiency" or complete occlusion.

  • CPR: Cardiopulmonary resuscitation

    - D -

  • Decongestant: a drug that reduces or relieves congestion

  • Decubitus Ulcer: also known as a pressure or bed sore. These are often caused by lack of circulation, inactivity, poor hydration, and/or poor nutrition. Frequent changes in position as well as proper hydration and proper nutrition are good preventative measures.

  • Deficiency: a lack or shortage of, less than the normal amount. Deficiencies can be caused by dietary or metabolic disturbances

  • Delirium: a mental disturbance usually reflecting a toxic state. The person may have hallucinations and become very restless or excited. Delirium can be caused by an infection, withdrawal from heavy alcohol intake, or medication overdose.

  • Derma/Dermal: pertaining to the skin.

  • Dermatitis: an inflammation of the skin, most common form is contact dermatitis.

  • Diabetes Mellitus: a metabolic disorder where the person is unable to utilize carbohydrates in his blood properly

  • Diabetic: pertaining to diabetes, a person with diabetes

  • Diagnosis: the determination of a nature or cause of a disease

  • Discontinued: medications that have a physician's order to no longer be taken by the resident. The abbreviation D/C is often used.

  • Disinfectant: an agent or substance that destroys infection producing organisms

  • Disorientation: a condition where a person is confused about time and place

  • Diuretic: a type of medication that promotes urination. The medication helps pull fluid from within the cells of the body.

  • Dosage: the dose of a medication relates to the amount of the drug to be taken. It may be indicated in milligrams, micrograms, or ounces.

    - E -

  • Edema: an abnormal amount of fluid trapped in the cell walls, which causes swelling or "puffiness".

  • Elixir: medical ingredients are mixed in a sweet, alcoholic based liquid given orally.

  • Enema: a solution placed in the rectum to help elimination

  • Enteric Coated: a special coating applied to tablets or capsules to delay absorption until they reach the small intestine

    - F -

  • Fatigue: a general feeling of tiredness or exhaustion

  • Feces: body waste also called stool

    - G -

  • Gait: refers to a manner of walking. Those with gait problems may shuffle, walk up on their toes, or have a scissor like walk.

  • Gangrene: death of tissue usually caused by extreme loss of circulation

  • Glucose: a simple sugar used by the body to create energy

  • Gout: a form or arthritis in which uric acid is deposited in joints

    - H -

  • Hallucination: a symptom or sense which is not correct that can be caused by mental illness, or result from reaction or overdose to medication.

  • Hematoma: a collection of blood in an organ, space, or tissue

  • High Blood Pressure: also called hypertension, a disorder of the circulatory system where there is excessive pressure by the blood against the walls of the arteries

  • Hyper/Hypo Glycemia: a condition of too high (hyper) or too low (hypo) blood sugar levels

  • Hypnotic: a drug category, a drug that induces sleep

    - I -

  • Inflammation: a collection of body fluids which can cause redness, swelling, heat, and pain

  • Influenza: a viral infection of the respiratory tract

  • Inhaler: a device used to install medication into the respiratory tract

  • Injection: medication administered with a needle into the skin, muscle, or vein

  • Immunization: also called a vaccine, a substance give to help stimulated the immune system to prevent certain illness

  • Interaction: an occurrence where two or medications may affect the actions of the medications and may cause side effects

    - L -

  • Laceration: a wound where the skin is torn

  • Laxative: a medication that loosens bowel material and assists in elimination

  • Lesion: a broad term that can describe a wound, sore, tumor, or damage to the skin

  • Lozenge: a hard medication meant to be melted in the mouth to treat the throat or decrease coughing

    - M -

  • Malignant: a condition which becomes worse and can result in death. The term is commonly used in some cancerous conditions.

  • Membrane: a thin layer of tissue that covers or lines a body cavity or body part surface

  • Metabolism: refers to the processes of the breakdown and absorption of nutrients into the blood following digestion

  • Metric System: system of weights and measurement based on the meter and having all units based on the power of 10

    - N -

  • Narcotic: a drug category that is made up of drugs that alter the sensation of pain, narcotic drugs can be habit forming

  • Nausea: a symptom in which the person feels "sick to their stomach" and may vomit

  • Nebulizer: a mechanical device that delivers medicine into the respiratory tract through a fine mist or spray

  • Neuron: a nerve cel

    - O -

  • Occult: hidden, used in the term "occult blood test" it mean a test looking for hidden blood

  • Ointment: a semi-solid medication used for external treatments

  • Ophthalmic: pertaining to the eye

  • Opiate: any sedative narcotic containing or being derived from opium

  • Oral: pertaining to the mouth, one route of medication delivery (orally)

    - P -

  • Pallor: refers to the paleness of the skin

  • Paralysis: loss of or impairment of the ability to move a body part, can be a symptom of a stroke

  • Pulmonary: pertaining to the lungs

  • Pulse: the beat of the heart as felt through the walls of the arteries. The most common pulse points are at the wrist, the carotid, and over the heart.

    - R -

  • Rash: a temporary breakout or eruption on the skin

  • Rectal: pertaining to the rectum (bottom), a route of medication administration

  • Resistant: the ability of an organism to survive and remain unaffected by medication, used in the term "drug resistant"

  • Respiration: the rate a person breathes in and out

    - S -

  • Saline: a solution of salt in purified water

  • Sedative: a drug category, drugs that calms nervousness or causes sleep

  • Solution: a clear liquid preparation

  • Splint: a flexible device used to demobilize bones or joints

  • Stoma: an opening in the body

  • Spray: a fine mist medication

  • Sublingual: a medication place under the tongue until it dissolves

  • Suppository: a wax based medication that melts in body temperature

  • Syrup: a medication solution with a sugar base

    - T -

  • Tablet: a solid form of medication

  • Threshold: a level of a medication that must be reached for the desired effect to be produced.

  • Time-released: a type of drug used to have actions at different times in capsule form

  • Toxicity: the quantity or level of being poisonous

  • Tranquilizer: a drug category made up of drugs (usually compounds) that calm or quiet anxiety

  • Transdermal Patch: medicated patches are applied topically so that they are absorbed slowly

    - V -

  • Vital Signs: the readings of temperature, pulse, and respirations



Common Medical Abbreviations Associated With Medications and Treatments:

    - A -

  • a: before

  • ac: before meal

  • AD: right ear

  • ADA Diet: American Diabetic Diet

  • ADL: activity of daily living

  • Am: morning

  • Amb.: Ambulate

  • AS: left ear

  • ASA: aspirin (acetylsalicylic acid)

    - B -

  • BID: two times a day

  • BM: bowel movement

  • B/P: blood pressure

    - C -

  • c: with

  • CAP: capsule

  • Cal: calorie

  • Cath: catheter

  • CHF: congestive heart failure

  • c/o: complains of

  • COPD: chronic obstructive pulmonary disease

  • CVA: cerebrovascular accident (stroke)

  • CXR: chest x-ray

    - D -

  • D/C: discontinue

  • DM: diabetes mellitus

  • DOA: date of admission

  • DOB: date of birth

  • DX: diagnosis

    - E -

  • ENT: ear, nose, and throat

    - F -

  • FBS: fasting blood sugar

  • fl: fluids

  • F/U: follow up

  • F/W: front wheel

    - G -

  • gtt: drop

    - H -

  • H: hour

  • H20: water

  • H202: hydrogen peroxide

  • H & P: history and physical

  • hr: hour

    - I -

  • I & D: incision and drainage

  • IDDM: insulin dependant diabetes mellitus

  • IM: intramuscular

  • I & O: measuring intake and output

  • IPPB: intermittent positive breathing machine

  • IV: intravenous

    - L -

  • (L): left

    - M -

  • MAR: medication administration record

  • Mg: milligram

  • ml: milliliter

  • mm: millimeter

  • MOM: milk of magnesia

  • MRX1: may repeat one time

    - N -

  • neg: negative

  • NKDA: no known allergies

  • n/v: nausea and vomiting

    - O -

  • 02: oxygen

  • O.D.: right eye

  • O.S.: left eye

  • O.T.: occupational therapy

  • O.U.: both eyes

  • oz: ounce

    - P -

  • p: after

  • pc: after meals

  • pm: afternoon

  • po: by mouth

  • PPD: purified protein derivative

  • P.T.: physical therapy

    - Q -

  • Q: every

  • qh: every hour

  • qid: four times a day

  • qod: every other day

    - R -

  • (R): right

  • ROM: range of motion

  • Rx: prescription

    - S -

  • S: without

  • SL: sublingual

  • SOB: shortness of breath

  • subq: subcutaneous

    - T -

  • TID: three times a day

  • TPR: temperature, pulse, and respiration

  • Tbsp: tablespoon

  • Tsp: teaspoon

  • Tyl: Tylenol

    - U -

  • UA: urinalysis

  • UTI: Urinary tract infection

  • URI: Upper respiratory infection

    - V -

  • VS: Vital signs
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