Over the years, medical professionals have created and adopted their own vernacular. Their dialect is so advanced it often sparks confusion among those who aren’t well-versed in the healthcare field. This set language that they’ve developed is so important because it helps doctors and nurses alike effectively describe symptoms, medical equipment, diagnoses, test results, etc. Just because outsiders may not understand what doctors are saying, doesn’t mean the healthcare industry needs to abandon the way in which they communicate. Instead, it’s important for individuals to have outlets that allow them to keep up with conversation; almost like a “medical dictionary.”
Not only are medical terms inherently difficult to understand, they can also sound intimidating to the novice ear. You might seek out a doctor for what you believe to be shin splint pains, but when the doctors spouts off expressions like “medial tibial stress syndrome”, which is how they describe shin splints, it’s likely to leave you feeling unsettled. Immediately, the mind wanders to a dark place and suddenly you’re wanting to live out your bucket list. Understanding medical terms is not only savvy, it alleviates the stress that can arise from hearing these alarming diagnoses.
While the task of familiarizing yourself with medical terminology may seem daunting, the majority of terms are derived from Greek and Latin. In addition, the science-based vocabulary follows a systematic methodology of 3 major components: root word, prefixes, and suffixes. With that said, it’s not too difficult to turn these medical phrases into laymen’s terms.
What’s more, it’s beneficial to know how to adequately decipher information within your medical chart. Your medical chart consists of key clinical data and medical history that’s often riddled with medical jargon. In fact, all information documented within the medical chart has been entered by someone on your healthcare team. With that said, understanding medical terms goes hand in hand with understanding your medical chart.
When we allow ourselves to remain uneducated in terms of understanding the language within the healthcare field, we instill ourselves with the “fear of the unknown.” The doctor’s office and having conversations with medical professionals is only scary and foreign when we allow it to be so. That’s why it’s important that we, as patients, hold ourselves accountable and responsible for our own well-being and equip ourselves with the appropriate knowledge.