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What Did My Doctor Say?

The special words doctors and nurses use can be hard to understand. You may see or hear these words at your doctor’s office, on the Internet, on the radio or TV, or in newspapers or magazines. We call these words “medspeak.” The Medical Library Association created this site to help you understand what a doctor or nurse tells you. You’ll find tips on how to understand many health words. The terms on this site were created with the help of the Working Group for Health Literacy, Massachusetts Health Sciences Library Network (MAHSLIN)
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  • ACE INHIBITORS

    This means “angiotensionconverting enzyme inhibitors”. These are drugs used to treat heart problems or high blood pressure. They help keep blood vessels open so the blood can flow more easily. Then the heart doesn’t have to work so hard.
  • ACUTE

    This is a serious illness or injury. A doctor or nurse should take care of it right away.
  • ACUTE HIV INFECTION

    This is the early stage of HIV infection. It is when a person is first infected with HIV. HIV means human immunodeficiency virus.HIV can cause AIDS.
  • ad effect

    until effective
  • ad lib

    - as much as desired
  • ADHERENCE

    This word means to carefully follow instructions. An example is taking the right amount of medicine at the right time.
  • ADIPOCYTE

    This is a kind of cell in the body. It stores energy as fat.
  • ADJUNCT

    This is a drug or treatment that is used along with another drug or treatment to help it work better.

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