Find definitions for thousands of medical terms, treatments, and tests -- even health-related abbreviations, prefixes, and suffixes.
Obstetricians (also called OBs) are medical doctors who specialize
in the care of pregnant women, from the time of conception through delivery and
the period following delivery (postpartum). Most obstetricians are also
gynecologists who diagnose and treat diseases of the female reproductive system
and provide care for women when they are not pregnant.
An obstetrician can further specialize in perinatology
(maternal-fetal medicine), which focuses on high-risk pregnancies, testing, and
fetal development. Or an obstetrician may specialize in reproductive
endocrinology and infertility (care of women who have hormonal or fertility
Obstetricians can be board-certified through the Board of
Obstetrics and Gynecology, which is recognized by the American Board of Medical
August 17, 2012
Anne C. Poinier, MD - Internal Medicine & E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine
Ophthalmologists are medical doctors who specialize in the
diagnosis and treatment of eye problems, diseases, and injuries.
Ophthalmologists can diagnose and treat eye diseases, such as
diabetic retinopathy and glaucoma; prescribe eyeglasses and contact lenses;
treat eye injuries; and perform eye surgeries, such as cataract removal,
glaucoma correction, or LASIK surgery. Ophthalmologists may further specialize
in care of the retina (retina specialist) or in the care of children with eye
problems (pediatric ophthalmologist).
Ophthalmologists can be board-certified by the Board of
Ophthalmology, which is recognized by the American Board of Medical
Optometrists are health professionals who diagnose and treat vision
problems and diseases of the eye. An optometrist is not a medical doctor, but
rather a doctor of optometry (OD).
Optometrists can perform routine vision testing, prescribe
eyeglasses and contact lenses, diagnose vision problems and eye disease,
prescribe medicines to treat some diseases of the eye, and provide care
before and after eye surgery.
After undergraduate study, optometrists must complete optometry school. They must take a national licensing
examination and are licensed by the state in which they practice.
Orthopedic surgeons are medical doctors who specialize in bone,
muscle, and joint surgery. This includes corrective procedures, such as
removing torn cartilage or replacing a joint.
Some orthopedic surgeons specialize in specific areas such as
shoulder surgery, hand surgery, or joint replacement.
Orthopedic surgeons can be board-certified through the Board of
Orthopaedic Surgery, which is recognized by the American Board of Medical
Medicines you can buy without a prescription are called
nonprescription or over-the-counter (OTC) medicines. They may be taken to treat
minor health problems at home.
Examples of over-the-counter
medicines are acetaminophen, aspirin, antacids, decongestants, antihistamines,
It’s important to talk to your doctor about what
medicines may not be safe to give children.
March 9, 2012
E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine & Theresa O'Young, PharmD - Clinical Pharmacy
Oral cancer is the growth of abnormal cells in any part of the
mouth or lips. Most oral cancers start in the lining of the lips or mouth in the thin, flat cells called squamous cells.
Symptoms for oral cancer include sores or lumps that appear on the lips or in the mouth. Sometimes white patches that cannot be rubbed off may form in the lining of the mouth.
Treatment for oral cancer may include surgery and radiation.
December 21, 2012
Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine & Arden Christen, DDS, MSD, MA, FACD - Dentistry
Obesity means having so much body fat that your health is in danger. It's usually measured by body mass index (BMI), which is based on your weight compared to your height. In adults, obesity is a BMI of 30 or above.
Being obese can lead to type 2 diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, arthritis, sleep apnea, and stroke.
October 9, 2012
E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine & Rhonda O'Brien, MS, RD, CDE - Certified Diabetes Educator
Oximetry is a medical test that uses a device called an oximeter to
measure the amount of oxygen in the blood (oxygen saturation). A special sensor
in a cuff or clip is placed on the end of a person's finger or toe or on the
person's earlobe, and it measures the amount of oxygen in the blood flowing in
the tiny blood vessels.
March 17, 2011
E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine & R. Steven Tharratt, MD, MPVM, FACP, FCCP - Pulmonology, Critical Care Medicine, Medical Toxicology
Osteoporosis is a disease that makes your bones thin, brittle, and easy to break. It's related to the loss of bone mass that happens as a natural part of aging. It's most common in women who have gone through menopause, but it can also occur in men.
As osteoporosis gets worse, it can lead to broken bones in the hip, spine, and wrist. Treatment can slow bone loss and increase bone thickness.
November 6, 2012
Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine & Carla J. Herman, MD, MPH - Geriatric Medicine
Osteomyelitis is an infection of the bone, often developing after
an open fracture in which the bone pokes through the skin. It may also develop
after an illness or injury that damaged the skin near or over a bone.
Symptoms may include:
Antibiotic treatment is necessary to prevent destruction of bone
tissue. If the osteomyelitis is severe, surgery may be required.
August 5, 2011
William H. Blahd, Jr., MD, FACEP - Emergency Medicine & David Messenger, MD
Osteoarthritis is the type of arthritis that many people get as they age. It happens when the cartilage that cushions your joints—like your knees and hips—gradually breaks down. Then the bones rub against each other. This causes damage and pain. There are many treatments that can help with the pain and make it easier to move.
Anne C. Poinier, MD - Internal Medicine & Stanford M. Shoor, MD - Rheumatology
The optic nerve is the nerve at the back of the eye that carries
visual information from the eye to the brain.
July 22, 2011
Adam Husney, MD, MD - Family Medicine & Christopher J. Rudnisky, MD, MPH, FRCSC - Ophthalmology
Oxygen therapy means using an oxygen tank or a machine to
breathe in air that contains more oxygen than normal.
therapy increases the amount of oxygen in the lungs and the bloodstream. A
person with a health problem such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease
(COPD) may need oxygen therapy if there are signs that the cells of the
body are not getting enough oxygen.
Oxygen therapy may be given by
different methods, including a:
November 29, 2011
E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine & Ken Y. Yoneda, MD - Pulmonology
Occupational therapists are health and rehabilitation professionals
who help people regain, develop, and build skills that are important for
independent functioning, health, well-being, security, and happiness.
Occupational therapists work with people of all ages who, because
of illness, injury, developmental delays, or psychological problems, need
assistance in learning skills to help them lead independent, productive, and
An occupational therapists (OT) can be licensed at the professional
level after completing a degree in his or her field. OTs
must also complete a supervised fieldwork program and pass a national
Occupational therapy assistants (OTAs) typically have
completed an associate degree program.
Outpatient services are medical procedures, surgeries, therapies, classes, or tests
that are done in a qualified medical center without the need for an overnight
In general, outpatient centers focus on services for wellness and
prevention, diagnosis, treatment, and rehabilitation. In these centers, a
person may obtain childbirth education, diabetes education, counseling, imaging
tests, lab tests, minor surgery, physical or occupational therapy, and
drug rehabilitation. Government and health agencies rate and report on
outpatient facilities and can help a person find a local, high-quality
outpatient service center.
October 27, 2011
Anne C. Poinier, MD - Internal Medicine & Michel M. Murr, MD - General Surgery, Bariatric Surgery
Osteogenesis imperfecta is a group of rare disorders in which the
bones are extremely fragile and break or fracture easily, often without
apparent cause. The effects of the condition vary from case to case.
Treatment for osteogenesis imperfecta focuses on prevention of
breaks and development of bone mass and strong muscles. Care may include
assistive devices such as braces and wheelchairs.