Medicine is one of the greatest discoveries of science as it eases the suffering of people around the world. 

The terms and words that are tossed around in the medical world need to be known by every individual so that he/ she can communicate effectively with a professional when the need for it arises.

Once you are aware of these 15 common medical terms, you will feel more confident while interacting with a healthcare professional. 

What’s more?

These words will enrich your vocabulary and also make it easier to understand Grey’s Anatomy, House, The Good Doctor and other such series that have a medical theme.
Let’s go through them one by one.


OUTPATIENT :  A patient who is not admitted to the hospital for overnight care. This could be a routine check up, one-day emergency room visits etc.

Eg: Sheena needed some stitches and got them done as an outpatient.

CHRONIC : A condition that has been persistent for over 3 months, such as aches and pains, heart diseases, diabetes, psychological disorders.

Eg:   My mother has suffered from chronic arthritis for the past 4 years.

DIAGNOSIS : Identifying a condition by conducting and then evaluating those tests, symptoms and other underlying reasons.

Eg : Due to misdiagnosis, Harry could not be saved in time.

GOLDEN HOUR : The first hour of an injury or medical condition where the success rate for treating the disease is very high.

Eg: Mira suffered a cardiac arrest post dinner but her husband administered the right treatment by relaxing her chest muscles until the time the ambulance arrived. The right step during the golden hour saved her life

INTRAVENOUS : Medicine that is administered via the veins by inserting a needle or a tube into them.

Eg: My father was advised on a six-week course of intravenous injections for his hepatitis.

PROGNOSIS : The predicted outcome of any medical condition.

Eg: The prognosis for cancer has improved over the years on account of breakthrough technologies that have come about.

BILATERAL : Something that affects both the sides of a body.

Eg : Greta underwent a bilateral mastectomy on Saturday.

INCISION :  An opening made into something using a sharp tool. Incisions are cuts made into bodies while a surgery is being performed.

Eg- The surgeon made a small incision on his stomach to take a look inside.

CORONARY : Related to the arteries that surround your heart.

Eg : Coronary heart disease can be prevented with simple lifestyle changes in one’s daily routine.

ANALGESIC: Medication that relieves different kinds of pain in the body.

Eg- The pain in her stomach did not subside and so, she was prescribed an analgesic.

ATROPHY : The reduction in the size of an organ, tissue or other body part.

Eg : Gina received physiotherapy after her fall in order to prevent her muscles from atrophying.

EDEMA : Swelling that’s caused by fluid in the body’s tissues.

Eg – Her face had swollen up because of the  edema.

LUMBAR : The lower back region of your spine.

Eg : Working professionals need to take good care of their lumbar health so that they do not become victims of injuries.

PALLIATIVE:  A drug or a medicine that eases suffering without treating the cause of it.

Eg : In his final days, Mr Awasthi was provided palliative care at his home surrounded by his loved ones.

CHIEF COMPLAINT: The main cause behind your doctor’s visit.

Eg-  Suruchi went to the doctor with the chief complaint of frequent headaches.


Armed with these words, you can march into any hospital or clinic and speak like a medical professional. It will also make your interactions with your physician more fruitful.


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