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8 medical terms and their origin

By Edited Oct 12, 2016 0 0

Doctors are famous for coming up with hard to understand words, which doesn't make sense at all. But to be honest, I have been a medical student for two years now and the medical terminology is far more logic than it seems at first. In this article I will explain and ellaborate a little more on the words you might have heard of, but which you can't seem to keep remembering. And from this point on, you will!


Medical Terminology - Atrophy
Credit: http://www.picturesdepot.com/medical/12446/atrophy.html

Atrophy - wasting away tissue. For instance muscle atrophy is losing muscles. Atrophia is Greek for 'not fed'. And as you might know: something which isn't fed will diminish. Therefor nowadays we use the word atrophy for wasting away. In the image above for instance, it is the wasting away of muscle tissue.


Medical Terminology - Apoplexia
Credit: http://www.oportalsaude.com/images/boletins/apoplexia.jpg

Apoplexy - a stroke. From Greek as well, meaning 'to cripple by a stroke'. This word isn't used without specification no more. For instance, there is pituary apoplexy, where the pituary gland isn't getting any blood anymore. Just as your brain is crippled by a stroke, because there isn't any blood anymore transferred to.


Medical Terminology - Congestion
Credit: http://healthylifecarenews.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/05/Congestion.jpg

Congestion - fluid in an organ. Nothing more than the accumulation of fluid in a certain part of the body! The Latin word 'congerere' means 'to pile up' and if we look up the word accumulation, this is exactly what happens. It is like clogging, but then with a nicer word.


Medical Terminology - Encephalitis
Credit: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Encephalitis

Encephalitis - inflammation of the brain. In one way or the other, encephalitis sounds way, way better than the simple words 'inflammation of the brain'.

The end of the word, which is -itis, means inflammation. You can see this everywhere, for instance 'cystitis' means bladder inflammation.

Enchephalo on the other hand comes from way deep, from Greek again. The word enkephalos consists of 'en-' which means in and 'kephale', which is Greek for head. So enchephalos means brain, because those are in the head!


Hematuria - bloody urine. Hema is the word for blood, actually from Greek as well, 'haima' means blood in old Greek. 'uria' comes from Greek as well, 'Ouron' is the Greek word for urine. So blood in the urine!


Medical Terminology - Hemiplegia
Credit: http://www.sistemanervoso.com/images/neurologia_clinica_aula2008/funcoes_motoras01.jpg

Hemiplegia - paralysis of one side of the body. Hemi is Greek for half, while plegia is Greek for blow/stroke. So you are half-paralysed.


Medical Terminology - Lumbago
Credit: http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_gAP27-JosLc/TCO3EgXBLlI/AAAAAAAAACI/d08YeumWUsI/s320/lumbago.gif

Lumbago - back pain. Lumbago comes from the Latin word 'lumbus', which means loin. Combine that with - ago, which is attached to it and you will have 'weakness of the lower back/loin'.


Medical Terminology - Thrombosis
Credit: http://www.healthjolt.com/images/medical/deep-vein-thrombosis.jpg

Thrombosis - blood clot in the vessels. Thrombo is Greek for 'clot', so there we have the meaning already!



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