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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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  • RHINITIS

    This is swelling and redness inside the head and nose. It is usually caused by allergies or a cold.
  • RISK FACTORS (FOR CANCER)

    This means something that increases a person's chance of getting cancer. Some risk factors are family history, smoking, or a previous breast biopsy that was not normal.
  • RNA (RIBONUCLEIC ACID)

    This is like DNA. RNA changes the DNA plan for make proteins.
  • RSV

    This means Respiratory Syncytial Virus. This virus causes breathing problems in children or adults. RSV can be spread by coughing or sneezing.
  • Rx

    recipe, prescription
  • RYAN WHITE COMPREHENSIVE AIDS RESOURCES EMERGENCY ACT (CARE)

    CARE helps people living with HIV/AIDS and their families find and pay for care.
  • SALVAGE OR RESCUE THERAPY

    Sometimes certain drugs no longer help people with HIV This is another way to make them better.
  • SANGUI , SANGUIO

    This is part of a word. It means blood. Exsanguinate means to bleed a lot.

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