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Medical Terminology & Practitioners

Posted on June 8, 2015 at 3:55 AM

Sometimes it can be a bit daunting visiting a medical practitioner.  Especially when visiting a specialist in their field of medicine.

One of the aspects of a doctor visit that can cause anxiety/stress is due to the medical terminology they use, which can be quite tricky to understand. Doctors forget that the person sitting in front of them is not trained in their field and is basically at their mercy for information and guidance. Always, always, always ask them to explain it thoroughly so that you are comfortable with the explanation. If you walk away still not quite sure of what they meant, or felt that their explanation was not 100% convincing, then you are well within your rights to seek a second opinion.

As a general rule of thumb, when you try and read a medical report, if you are even allowed to see it, what you have to remember is that most of the "terminology" relating to a person's condition is actually relating to the position or geographical location on your body. For example Distal (meaning further distance from the heart and centre/Sagital line) and Proximal (meaning closer to the heart and centre/Sagital Line).

Sagital Line = an invisible line/plane that runs from the top of your head straight down to your feet. Basically separates the left side from the right side. It is used as a form of identifying a position within the body.

Below is a link to a very fine document that can help take some of the fear-factor from reading a medical report that pertains to your own health condition:

Some examples below:



• An / A- = without / lack of

• Ad- = near / toward

• Dys- = bad/difficult

• Endo- = inside

• Epi- = upon

• Hyper- = Excessive/ above/ high

• Hypo- = Under/ below/low

• Intra- = within/inside

• Tachy- = fast

• Brady- = slow


• -aemia = condition of blood

• -ectomy = removal

• -itis = inflammation

• -ology = study of

• -phasia = speech

• -phagia = eating / swallowing

Categories: General Information, Health

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