MEDICAL TERMINOLOGY FOR DUMMIES
elcome to Medical Terminology For Dummies! Consider this your per- sonal, private course in the study of the medical terms used everyday
in doctor’s offices, hospitals, clinics, billing and insurance companies, labs, and even pharmacies. This is a personal grand tour through not only the world of medical terminology, but also through your own body.
You’ll find as you read this book that learning medical terms is a two-part propo- sition. First, you’ve got to master the landscape of language itself. Don’t worry, though — there will be no quiz. We just want you to better understand how to both create and break down words. Once you get to know more about prefixes, suffixes, and root words, you can do darn near anything with the terminology. For example, you can go inside the body to discover the terms that match up with different systems, diseases, procedures, and pharmaceutical products.
Mastering medical terminology involves more than just memorizing.
Exploring these terms and how they can be created will unlock not only medi- cal mysteries for you, but great opportunities as well.
About This Book
Getting to know the world of medical terminology can get a bit repetitive
at times. That’s why we decided to break the book down into several parts about all kinds of different things. You start by getting the backstory of termi- nology — the history and the players involved with bringing this “language” to the masses. Then you get into the nitty-gritty of how words are formed
and all about word parts, usage, pronunciation, and recognition. Finally, you take a gander at all the different body systems and the words associated with them. We even throw in some bonus top ten lists at the end that we hope you find useful.
There’s a lot to learn about medical terminology, we admit, but we’ll be right there with you for the whole wild, crazy ride. Keep in mind that you don’t have to read this book cover-to-cover, nor do you have to remember all the details from chapter to chapter. Read out of order, skip what you don’t need. It will all be there for you should you choose to revisit the sections, tips, or sidebars at another time.
Keep in mind that this is not a giant textbook of terms, nor is it a dictionary. Those are both great resources, and we recommend you pick up both if you are a medical professional. This is a friendly take on the topic, and our main goal is to show you the basics of how these words are made so that you can go out in the big, bad world and master the creation and use of medical terms on your own terms. We’re not giving you a fish, we’re teaching you to fish.
We do rely on some conventions within this book that you may not see else- where in an attempt to keep the tone fun and conversational. So, please be prepared to see a lot of the following:
We have included chapters about language and medical terminology’s place in it. You will notice we also make extensive use of lists in this book. We do this for your sanity. Be honest: Wouldn’t you rather be able to study these terms in
organized, easy-to-find lists and tables rather than picking through long, boring paragraphs trying to find the words you need to learn? We thought so.
Major chapters are divided by systems of the body. Each system chapter tells you a bit about how that particular body system works, to give you some context for its words.
We aren’t doctors, so we try our best to explain things using simple language. That means you might see words like pee and poo from time to time. We
figure you’re knee-deep in official-sounding terms here, so it doesn’t hurt to lighten up once in a while.
New terms are in italics to make them easier to spot.
Many of the body system chapters include artistic renderings. Don’t be alarmed by those little pictures you see peppering the pages of this book. Feel free to be distracted, however — that’s the point. We want you to stop and look at these great kernels of knowledge as you go through the book.
We are assuming you fall into one of these categories:
✓ A medical student hoping to get a jump-start on general terminology before that first big quiz.
✓ A medical professional looking to brush up on terms if you’re a bit out of practice or just want to know more about how these terms are made.
✓ A curious adult interested in speaking your doctor’s language and learn- ing more about the terms that describe how your body functions.
No matter what possessed you to pick up this book, we hope it gives you the terminology boost you need for your particular circumstances. The human body has hundreds and hundreds of working parts, and they all have names. Moreover, there are names for all kinds of associated terms relating to func- tions, conditions, diseases, pathology, and even pharmacology. It’s a whole lot, we grant you. But you are eager, right? And no amount of 50-cent words frighten you away from your goal: to become a medical terminology Zen master. You can do it, Grasshopper.
Icons Used in This Book
This book makes extensive use of icons — those little pictures that denote an important tidbit of information. Be on the lookout for these, as they provide even more tools for your terminology toolbox:
Points out concrete tips and tricks that you can put to use as you are studying medical terminology.
Highlights passages that are good to keep in mind when mastering medical terminology.
Alerts you to common mistakes that can trip you up in your medical terminol- ogy studies.
This icon indicates you are about to read an interesting tidbit about the Greek heritage behind the terms you are learning.
This icon points you back to the Latin roots that helped make these terms possible.
This icon indicates something cool and perhaps a little offbeat from the dis- cussion at hand.
Beyond the Book
In addition to the material in the print or e-book you’re reading right now, this product also comes with some access-anywhere goodies on the web. No matter how hard you study for your medical terminology exams, you’ll likely come across a few questions where you don’t have a clue. Check out the free Cheat Sheet at www.dummies.com/cheatsheet/medicalterminology for more helpful medical terminology roots, prefixes, suffixes, and tongue- twisting terms.
This book also includes a handful of free online articles. Check them out at
Where to Go from Here
By all means, if you’re feeling spunky you can jump right into this book at any point and start working on your terminology savvy. Mastering the how and why of medical terms is sometimes as important as learning the terms them- selves, which is why we put those chapters first. But by all means, feel free to hunt and peck the sections that are most useful to you.
Be bold. Be brave. And, most importantly, proceed through this book with confidence. Once you get the hang of how these words are made, you’ll have no problem committing them to memory and to your daily life.
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