Medical terms can be confusing and difficult to understand for those who are not familiar with the language of medicine. However, with a little bit of knowledge about the parts of medical terms, it becomes much easier to understand what they mean. This article aims to decode the language of medicine by breaking down the different parts of medical terms and explaining their meanings.
What are Medical Terms?
Medical terms are words used to describe medical conditions, procedures, and treatments. They are made up of different parts, each with its own meaning. Understanding medical terms is essential for doctors, nurses, and other healthcare professionals, as they need to use medical terminology to communicate with one another effectively.
The Parts of Medical Terms
Medical terms are broken down into several different parts, each of which has a specific meaning. These parts include:
- Root words
- Combining forms
The root word is the core of a medical term, and it often describes the body part or system that the term refers to. For example, the root word “cardi” means heart, and the word “cardiology” refers to the study of the heart.
Prefixes are added to the beginning of a root word to modify its meaning. For example, the prefix “hypo-” means under, and the word “hypotension” refers to low blood pressure.
Suffixes are added to the end of a root word to modify its meaning. For example, the suffix “-itis” means inflammation, and the word “arthritis” refers to inflammation in the joints.
Combining forms are made by combining a root word with a combining vowel, which is usually “o”. For example, the combining form “cardi/o” means heart, and the word “cardiogram” refers to a tracing of the heart’s electrical activity.
Examples of Medical Terms
Here are some examples of medical terms broken down into their different parts:
|Hypertension||High blood pressure||Prefix: Hyper-
Root word: Tens
|Hematology||The study of blood||Root word: Hema
|Gastroenteritis||Inflammation of the stomach and intestines||Root word: Gastro
Root word: Enter
Why is Understanding Medical Terms Important?
Understanding medical terms is crucial for communicating effectively with healthcare professionals. If you know the meaning of medical terms, you can better understand your own health conditions and treatment options. Additionally, understanding medical terms can help you read medical documents and research studies, making you a more informed patient.
Medical terms are made up of several different parts, including root words, prefixes, suffixes, and combining forms. Each part has its own meaning, and understanding the parts of medical terms is crucial for communicating effectively with healthcare professionals and understanding your own health conditions and treatment options.
Common Questions and Answers
What are the four parts of medical terms?
The four parts of medical terms are root words, prefixes, suffixes, and combining forms.
What is the root word of a medical term?
The root word is the core of a medical term, and it often describes the body part or system that the term refers to.
What are prefixes used for in medical terms?
Prefixes are added to the beginning of a root word to modify its meaning.
What are suffixes used for in medical terms?
Suffixes are added to the end of a root word to modify its meaning.
What are combining forms in medical terms?
Combining forms are made by combining a root word with a combining vowel, which is usually “o”.
1. “Understanding Medical Words: A Tutorial from the National Library of Medicine.” PubMed Central (PMC), U.S. National Library of Medicine, 1 Jan. 2016, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5174149/.
2. “Basic Medical Terminology – Suffixes.” National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, www.ninds.nih.gov/Disorders/Patient-Caregiver-Education/Understanding-Medical-Words-Terminology/Suffixes.