You are here

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)
OR
  • ANTIGEN

    This is something that triggers the body to fight infection. A vaccine is an example of an antigen.
  • ANTIRETROVIRAL THERAPY (ART) or HIGHLY ACTIVE ANTIRETROVIRAL THERAPY or TREATMENT (HAART)

    This is the combination of three or more medicines given to HIV patients to slow down HIV infection. These medicines can be called a "cocktail."
  • AP

    ante partum, before childbirth
  • ap

    ante prandium, before dinner
  • APHTHOUS ULCER

    This is a painful sore in the mouth. It can be called a canker sore.
  • APOPTOSIS

    This means the way your body gets rid of old and damaged cells.
  • aq

    aqua, water
  • AREOLA

    This is the dark tissue around the nipple.

Pages