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Health Slang

The healthcare industry is full of slang terms. Some acronyms and abbreviations are specialized medical terms, while others are used in everyday discussions about nutrition and fitness. Even if you're not a doctor or a nurse, many of the terms below are good to know.

Slang Term Meaning Popularity
CPRCardiopulmonary resuscitation
EREmergency room
HIVHuman immunodeficiency virus
AIDSAcquired immune deficiency syndrome
CDCCenters for Disease Control and Prevention
STDSexually transmitted disease
WHOWorld Health Organization
SIDSSudden infant death syndrome
MDMedical doctor
OBGYNObstetrics and gynecology
RxPrescription
HMOHealth maintenance organization
RNRegistered nurse
ivIntravenous
ADHDAttention deficit hyperactivity disorder
CTEChronic traumatic encephalopathy
ADDAttention deficit disorder
PTSDPost-traumatic stress disorder
BMBowel movement
TCUTransitional care unit
IVFIn Vitro Fertilization
tbTuberculosis
ARFAcute renal failure
FPLFederal poverty level
OBGObstetrics and gynecology
POBy mouth
PCLPosterior cruciate ligament
LCLLateral collateral ligament
COPDChronic obstructive pulmonary disease
FDAFood and Drug Administration
DNRDo not resuscitate
EMTEmergency medical technician
PTPhysical therapy
STSpeech therapy
CHFCongestive heart failure
ENTEar, nose, and throat specialist
DODoctor of Osteopathy
DMDoctor of Medicine
EMSEmergency medical services
LDLLow-density lipoprotein
medsMedications
ICUIntensive care unit
PCPPrimary care physician
PPOPreferred provider organization
MCLMedial collateral ligament
ACLAnterior cruciate ligament
PEDPerformance enhancing drug
HGHHuman growth hormone
OTCOver the counter
DOCDrug of choice
CCUCritical care unit
HDLHigh-density lipoprotein
ICNIntensive Care Nursery
VDVenereal disease
STISexually transmitted infection
NICUNeonatal Intensive Care Unit
BIDTwice a day
SSISurgical site infection
STELShort term exposure limit
TBITraumatic brain injury
CICUCardiac intensive care unit
OOPOut of pocket
ARIAcute respiratory infection
APSAdult protective services
HCAIHealth care associated infection
ACOAccountable care organization
HSAt bedtime
hHour
QEvery
AAAApply to affected area
EOCEvidence of coverage
EOBExplanation of benefits
ppdPostpartum depression
POSPoint of service
COICertificate of insurance
EHRElectronic health record
CADCoronary artery disease
CVACerebrovascular accident
DNIDo not intubate
ANDAllow natural death
AEDAutomated external defibrillator
SOBShortness of breath
AEAccident and emergency
ACLSAdvanced cardiac life support
ALSAdvanced life support
BLSBasic life support
ITUIntensive treatment unit
EDEmergency department
BPBlood pressure
USFDAUnited States Food and Drug Administration
AMAAmerican Medical Association
CRNACertified registered nurse anesthetist
OIOpportunistic infection
EPOErythropoietin
CDTContinuing day treatment
AMIAcute myocardial infarction
ALPAssisted living program
ALOSAverage length of stay
HHAHome health aide
CNACertified nursing assistant