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Sign up to the get fit newsletter
Sign up for the ''Get Fit'' Newsletter
  • Tips on managing Stress
  • Ways to stay motivated
  • The benefits of resistance training
  • How to improve your metabolism
  • Learn why "conventional" diets fail
  • How to target stubborn fat areas
  • Healthy and tasty recipes
  • What muscle soreness really means
  • Learn how exercise affects your mood
  • How to choose the right health club
  • Weight loss and diet myths revealed
  • Flexibility, how and when to stretch
  • How to build personal motivation
  • How to conquer procrastination
Email:
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This Month In Life
  • Know the Code
    You didn’t go to med school to learn all the fancy medical terms out there. But you do visit your doctor, undergo testing, and have procedures done. Here are a few of the most common medical abbreviations and acronyms you'll hear in the healthcare world. Read >>
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Health and Fitness News

Know the Code

Medical abbreviations and terms that are helpful to know.

You didn’t go to med school to learn all the fancy medical terms out there. But you do visit your doctor, undergo testing, and have procedures done. When you do, your healthcare providers, pharmacists, medical paperwork, and billing documents may use lingo you’re unfamiliar with. Don’t let them be unfamiliar any longer.

As you navigate the world of healthcare, here are a few of the most common medical abbreviations and acronyms you should know.

Cardiovascular Code Words

When it comes to the care of your heart and circulatory system, there’s a lot of lingo that has become everyday language. But there’s also a lot you may be unfamiliar with. As you’re receiving care for your cardiovascular system, you may hear or read a few different terms.

One of the most commonly used is the acronym for cardiovascular disease, which is CVD. A transient ischemic attack, also known as a mini-stroke, is shortened to TIA. An acute myocardial infarction (AMI) is the medical term for a heart attack. A stroke is also known as a cerebrovascular accident, or CVA.

Atrial fibrillation, or an irregular heart rhythm, is known as AF. BP is short for blood pressure. PVD is short for peripheral vascular disease, which is a disease of the blood vessels. CPR, which you may have taken a class in, stands for cardiopulmonary resuscitation. An ECG or EKG is an electrocardiogram test. This is used to test for signs of heart disease. HR is an abbreviation for heart rate.

Hospital Speak

When you visit the hospital or are admitted, the staff or admission paperwork may use strange, unfamiliar language. Admission or admitted may be abbreviated as adm. When you’re discharged, you may see the letters d/c. Your chief complaint (the main reason you’re in the hospital) is known as CC. In some cases, what you complain of may be shortened to c/o. Your medical history and results of your physical exam may be abbreviated as H & P.

Have a fracture? You’ll see it labeled as an fx. Need a chest x-ray? It’s known as a CXR. Need medication given intravenously? You’ll get an IV. Need medication administered into your muscles for faster absorption? You’ll get an IM injection.
Pre-op refers to preoperative or before surgery, and post-op means postoperative or after surgery. If you see the abbreviation pt it’s talking about you, the patient. Your vital signs are shortened to vs, and some medical forms list your vital signs as TPR. This shorthan stands for your temperature, pulse, and respiration.

Pharmacology Lingo

In the pharmacy world, you’ll come across a whole different set of abbreviations and acronyms. If you’ve ever tried reading a prescription written by a doctor, you likely saw a bunch of letters and numbers that don’t make sense. Here are the basics.

You’ve likely seen Rx somewhere at your pharmacy. This is the abbreviation for prescription or treatment. Cap stands for capsule and tab is used to indicate pills in tablet form.

As far as the dosage and timing of medications go, you may see Ac, which means before a meal, or Pc, which should be taken after a meal. By mouth is abbreviated po and nothing by mouth is NPO. To take as needed, prn. Take every day, qd. Take every hour, qh. Four times a day, qid. Every other day, qod.

For medication measurements you may see Mg, which stands for milligram or MI which stands for milliliter. A drop-liquid measurement is known as gtt.