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