Vocabulary For Health Science

Vocabulary Word Definition
A  
abdominal pertaining to the cavity or area in the front of the body and containing the stomach, the small intestine, part of the large intestine, the liver, the gallbladder, the pancreas, and the spleen
abduction movement away from the midline
abrasion injury caused by rubbing or scraping the skin
absorption act or process of sucking up or in; taking in of nutrients
abuse any care that results in physical harm or pain, or mental anguish
accelerator a chemical substance that increases the rate of a chemical reaction; a catalyst 
acceptance the process of receiving or taking; approval; belief 
accreditation  process where an educational program is recognized and/or approved for meeting and maintaining standards that qualify its graduates for professional practice
acculturation process of learning the beliefs and behaviors of a dominant culture and assuming some of the characteristics
acidosis  a pathological condition resulting from a disturbance in the acid-base balance in the blood and body tissues
activities of daily living (ADL)  daily activities necessary to meet basic human needs, for example, feeding, dressing, and elimination
acupuncture  puncturing the skin at specific points with thin needles to relieve pain and/or treat disease 
acute  lasting a short period of time but relatively severe (for example, an acute illness) 
addiction  state of being controlled by a habit, as can happen with alcohol and drugs 
adduction  movement toward the midline 
adenitis  inflammation of a gland or lymph node 
adipose fatty tissue; fat 
adolescence period of development from 12 to 18 years of age; teenage years 
adrenal  one of two endocrine glands located on above each kidney 
advance directive  a legal document designed to indicate a person's wishes regarding care in case of a terminal illness or during the dying process 
aerobic  requiring oxygen to live and grow 
afebrile  without a fever
affection  a warm or tender feeling toward another; fondness 
agar plate  special laboratory dish containing agar, a gelatinous colloidal extract of a red alga, which is used to provide nourishment for growth of organisms 
agent  someone who has the power or authority to act as the representative of another 
agglutination  clumping together, as in the clumping together of red blood cells 
air compressor  machine that provides air under pressure; used in dental areas to provide air pressure to operate handpieces and air syringe 
albino  absence of all color pigments 
alginate  irreversible, hydrocolloid, dental impression material 
alignment  positioning and supporting the body so that all body parts are in correct anatomical position 
alimentary canal  the digestive tract from the esophagus to the rectum 
alopecia  baldness 
alternative therapy  method of treatment used in place of biomedical therapies 
alveolar process  bone tissue of the maxilla and mandible that contains alveoli (sockets) for the roots of the teeth 
alveoli  microscopic air sacs in the lungs
Alzheimer's disease  progressive, irreversible disease involving memory loss, disorientation, deterioration of intellectual function, and speech and gait disturbances
amalgam  alloy (mixture) of various metals and mercury; restorative or filling material used primarily on posterior teeth 
ambulate  to walk 
amino acid  the basic component of proteins 
amputation  the cutting off or separation of a body part from the body 
anaerobic  not requiring oxygen to live and grow; able to thrive in the absence of oxygen 
analgesia  the state of inability to feel pain yet still being conscious 
anaphylactic shock an extreme, sometimes fatal, allergic reaction or sensitivity to a specific antigen, such as a medication, insect sting, or specific food 
anatomy  the study of the structure of an organism 
anemia  disease caused by lack of blood or an insufficient number of red blood cells 
anesthesia  the state of inability to feel sensation, especially the sensation of pain 
anorexia  loss of appetite 
anorexia nervosa  psychological disorder involving loss of appetite and excessive weight loss not caused by a physical disease 
anoxia  without oxygen; synonymous with suffocation 
antecubital  the space located on the inner part of the arm and near the elbow 
anterior  before or in front of 
anterior teeth  teeth located toward the front of the mouth; includes incisor and cuspids 
antibody  substance, usually a protein, formed by the body to produce an immunity to an antigen or pathogen 
antibody screen  test that checks for antibodies in the blood prior to a transfusion 
anticoagulant  substance that prevents clotting of the blood 
antigen  substance that causes the body to produce antibodies; may be introduced into the body or formed within the body 
antioxidants  enzymes or organic molecules; help protect the body from harmful chemicals called free radicals 
antisepsis  aseptic control that inhibits, retards growth of, or kills pathogenic organisms; not effective against spores and viruses 
anuria  without urine; producing no urine 
aorta  largest artery in the body; carries blood away from the heart 
aortic valve  flap or cusp located between the left ventricle of the heart and the aorta 
apathy  indifference; lack of emotion 
apex  the pointed extremity of a conelike structure; the rounded, lower end of the heart, below the ventricles; the bottom tip of a tooth 
aphasia  language impairment; loss of ability to comprehend or speak normally 
apical foramen  the opening in the apex of a tooth; allows nerves and blood vessels to enter tooth 
apical pulse  pulse taken with a stethoscope and near the apex of the heart 
apnea  absence of respirations; temporary cessation of respirations 
apoplexy  a stroke; see cerebrovascular accident
appendicular skeleton  the bones that form the limbs or extremities of the body 
aquathermia pad temperature-controlled unit that circulates warm liquid through a pad to provide dry heat 
aqueous humor  watery liquid that circulates in the anterior chamber of the eye 
aromatherapy  use of natural scents and smells to promote health and well-being 
arrhythmia  irregular or abnormal rhythm, usually referring to the heart rhythm 
arterial  pertaining to an artery 
arteriole  smallest branch of an artery; vessel that connects arteries to capillaries 
arteriosclerosis  hardening and/or narrowing of the walls of arteries 
artery  blood vessel that carries blood away from the heart 
arthritis  inflammation of a joint 
asepsis  being free from infection 
aspirate  to remove by suction 
aspirating syringe  special dental anesthetic syringe designed to hold carpules or cartridges of medication 
aspiration  process of inhaling food, fluid, or a foreign substance into the respiratory tract 
assault  physical or verbal attack on another person; treatment or care given to a person without obtaining proper consent 
assistant  level of occupational proficiency where an individual can work in an occupation after a period of education or on-the-job training
associate degree  degree awarded by a vocational-technical school or community college after successful completion of a two-year course of study or its equivalent 
astigmatism  defect or blurring of vision caused by irregularity of the cornea of the eye 
atherosclerosis  form of arteriosclerosis characterized by accumulation of fats or mineral deposits on the inner walls of the arteries 
atrium  also called an auricle; an upper chamber of the heart 
atrophy  wasting away of tissue; decrease in size 
audiologist  individual specializing in diagnosis and treatment of hearing disorders 
audiometer  instrument used to test hearing and determine hearing defects 
auditory acuity  ability to perceive and comprehend sound waves; hearing 
aural temperature  measurement of body temperature at the tympanic membrane in the ear 
auricle  also called the pinna; external part of the ear 
auscultation  process of listening for sounds in the body 
autoclave  piece of equipment used to sterilize articles by way of steam under pressure and/or dry heat 
automated external defibrillator (AED)  machine used to assess the heart rhythm and provide an electronic shock to restore normal heart rhythm 
autonomic nervous system that division of the nervous system concerned with reflex, or involuntary, activities of the body 
autopsy  examination of the body after death to determine the cause of death 
avulsion  a wound that occurs when tissue is separated from the body 
axial skeleton  the bones of the skull, rib cage, and spinal column; the bones that form the trunk of the body 
axilla  armpit; that area of the body under the arm 
Ayer blade  wooden or plastic blade used to scrape cells from the cervix of the uterus; used for Pap tests 
 
B  
bachelor's degree degree awarded by a college or university after a person has completed a four-year course of study or its equivalent 
bacteria  one-celled microorganisms, some of which are beneficial and some of which cause disease 
bandage  material used to hold dressings in place, secure splints, and support and protect body parts 
bandage scissors  special scissors with a blunt lower end used to remove dressings and bandages 
Bartholin's glands  two small mucous glands near the vaginal opening 
basal metabolism  the amount of energy needed to maintain life when the subject is at complete rest 
base  protective (dental) material place over the pulpal area of a tooth to reduce irritation and thermal shock 
base of support  standing with fee 8-10 inches apart to provide better balance 
battery  unlawfully touching another person without that person's consent 
bed cradle  a device placed on a bed to keep the top bed linens from contacting the legs and feet 
benign  not malignant or cancerous 
bias  a preference that inhibits impartial judgment 
bicuspids  also called premolars; the teeth that pulverize or grind food and are located between cuspids and molars 
bifurcated  having two roots (as in teeth) 
bile  liver secretion that is concentrated and stored in the gallbladder; aids in the emulsification of fats during digestion 
binders  devices applied to hold dressings in place, provide support, apply pressure, or limit motion 
bioethics  branch of medicine concerned with moral issues resulting from technologic advances and medical research 
biohazardous  contaminated with blood or body fluid and having the potential to transmit disease 
biopsy  excision of a small piece of tissue for microscopic examination 
bite-wing also called a cavity-detecting X-ray; a dental radiograph that shows only the crowns of the teeth
bladder  membranous sac or storage area for a secretion (gallbladder); also, the vesicle that acts as the reservoir for urine 
bland diet  diet containing only mild-flavored foods with soft textures 
blood  fluid that circulates through the vessels in the body to carry substances to all body parts 
blood pressure  measurement of the force exerted by the heart against the arterial walls when the heart contracts (beats) and relaxes 
blood smear  a drop of blood spread thinly on a slide for microscopic examination 
bloodborne  an infectious disease or pathogenic organism that is transmitted through blood 
body mechanics  the way in which the body moves and maintains balance; proper body mechanics involves the most efficient use of all body parts 
bolus  food that has been chewed and mixed with saliva 
bowel  the intestines 
Bowman's capsule  part of the renal corpuscle in the kidney; picks up substances filtered from the blood by the glomerulus 
brachial  pertaining to the brachial artery in the arm, which is used to measure blood pressure 
bradycardia  slow heart rate, usually below 60 beats per minute 
brain  soft mass of nerve tissue inside the cranium 
bronchi two main branches of the trachea; air tubes to and from the lungs 
bronchioles  small branches of the bronchi; carry air in the lungs 
buccal surface  outside surface of the posterior teeth; surface facing the cheek; facial surface of bicuspids and molars 
buffer period  period of time kept open on an appointment schedule to allow for emergencies, telephone calls, and other unplanned situations 
bulimarexia  psychological condition in which a person eats excessively and then uses laxatives or vomits to get rid of the food 
bulimia  psychological condition in which a person alternately eats excessively and then fasts or refuses to eat 
burn  injury to body tissue caused by heat, caustics, radiation, and/or electricity 
burs  small, rotating instruments of various types; used in dental handpieces to prepare cavities for filling with restorative materials 
   
C   
calcaneus  large tarsal bone that forms the heel 
calculus  also called tartar; hard, calcium-like deposit that forms on the teeth; a stone that forms in various parts of the body from a variety of different substances 
calorie  unit of measurement of the fuel value of food 
cancer  a group of diseases caused by abnormal cell division and/or growth 
cane  a rod used as an aid in walking 
capillary  tiny blood vessel that connect arterioles and venules and allows for exchange of nutrients and gases between the blood and the body cells 
carbohydrate-controlled diet  diet in which the number and types of carbohydrates are restricted or limited 
carbohydrates  group of chemical substances including sugars, cellulose, and starches; nutrients that provide the greatest amount of energy in the average diet 
carcinogen  any cancer-causing substance 
carcinoma  malignant (cancerous) tumor of connective tissue 
cardiac  pertaining to the heart 
cardiac arrest  sudden and unexpected stoppage of heart action 
cardiopulmonary  pertaining to the heart and lungs 
cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR)  procedure of providing oxygen and chest compressions to a victim whose heart has stopped beating 
cardiovascular  pertaining to the heart and blood vessels 
caries  tooth decay, an infectious disease that destroys tooth tissue 
carious lesion  an occurrence of tooth decay 
carpal  bone of the wrist 
carpule  a glass cartridge that contains a premeasured amount of anesthetic solution; used for dental anesthesia 
catalyst  a chemical substance that increases the rate of a chemical reaction; an accelerator 
cataract  condition of the eye where the lens becomes cloudy or opaque, leading to blindness 
catheter  a rubber, metal, or other type of tube that is passed into a body cavity and used for injecting or removing fluids 
caudal  pertaining to any tail or tail-like structure 
cavitation  the cleaning process employed in an ultrasonic unit; bubbles explode to drive cleaning solution onto article being cleaned 
cavity  a hollow space, such as a body cavity (which contains oxygen) or a hole in a tooth 
cell  mass of protoplasm; the basic unit of structure of all animals and plants 
cell membrane  outer, protective, semipermeable covering of a cell 
cellulose  fibrous form of carbohydrate 
cement  dental material used to seal inlays, crowns, bridges, and orthodontic appliances in place 
cementum  hard, bonelike tissue that covers the outside of the root of a tooth 
central nervous system  the division of the nervous system consisting of the brain and spinal cord 
centrifuge  a machine that uses centrifugal (driving away from the center) force to separate heavier materials from lighter ones 
centrosome  that area of cell cytoplasm that contains two centrioles; important in reproduction of the cell 
cerebellum  the section of the brain that is dorsal to the pons and medulla oblongata; maintains balance and equilibrium 
cerebrospinal fluid  watery, clear fluid that surrounds the brain and spinal cord 
cerebrovascular accident  also called a stroke or apoplexy; an interrupted supply of blood to the brain, caused by formation of a clot, blockage of an artery, or rupture of a blood vessel 
cerebrum  largest section of brain; involved in sensory interpretation and voluntary muscle activity 
certification  the issuing of a statement or certificate by a professional organization to a person who has met the requirements of education and/or experience and who meets the standards set by the organization 
cervical  pertaining to the neck portion of the spinal column or to the lower part of the uterus 
cervix  anatomical part of a tooth where the crown joins with the root; entrance to or lower part of the uterus 
chain of infection  factors that lead to the transmission or spread of disease 
character  the quality of respirations (for example, deep, shallow, or labored) 
charge slip  a record on which charges or costs for services are listed 
chemical  the method of aseptic control in which substances or solutions are used to disinfect articles; does not always kill spores and viruses 
chemical abuse  use of chemical substances without regard for accepted practice; dependence on alcohol or drugs 
chemotherapy  treatment of a disease by way of chemical agents 
Cheyne-Stokes respirations  periods of difficult breathing (dyspnea) followed by periods of no respirations (apnea) 
chiropractic  system of treatment based on manipulation of the spinal column and other body structures 
cholelithiasis  condition of stones in the gallbladder 
cholesterol  fatlike substance synthesized in the liver and found in body cells and animal fats 
choroid  middle or vascular layer of the eye, between the sclera and retina 
chromatin network  that structure in the nucleus of a cell that contains chromosomes with genes, which carry inherited characteristics 
chronic  lasting a long period of time; reoccurring 
cilia  hairlike projections 
circumduction  moving in a circle at a joint, or moving one end of a body part in a circle while the other end remains stationary 
clavicle  collarbone 
clean  free from organisms causing disease 
clear-liquid diet  diet containing only water-based liquids; nutritionally inadequate 
client  person receiving service or care; a patient in health care 
clinic  institution that provides care for outpatients; a group of specialists working in cooperation 
closed bed  bed that is made following the discharge of a patient 
coccyx  the tailbone; lowest bones of the vertebral column 
cochlea  snail-shaped section of the inner ear; contains the organ of Corti for hearing 
colon  the large intestine 
colostomy  an artificial opening into the colon; allows for the evacuation of feces 
communicable disease  disease that is transmitted from one individual to another 
compensation  something given or received as an equivalent for a loss, service, or debt; defense mechanism involving substitution of one goal for another goal to achieve success 
competent  able, capable 
complementary therapy  method of treatment used in conjunction with biomedical therapies 
complete bed bath  a bath in which all parts of a patient's body are bathed while the patient is confined to bed 
composite the dental restorative or filling material used most frequently on anterior teeth
compress  a folded wet or dry cloth applied firmly to a body part 
computer-assisted instruction (CAI)  teaching method in which a computer and computer programs are used to control the learning process and deliver the instructional material to the learner 
computerized tomography (CT)  a scanning and detection system that uses a minicomputer and display screen to visualize an internal portion of the human body; formerly known as CAT (computerized axial tomography)
concave  curved inward; depressed 
confidential  not to be shared or told; to be held in confidence, or kept to oneself 
congenital  present at birth (as in a congenital defect) 
conjunctiva  mucous membrane that lines the eyelids and covers the anterior part of the sclera of the eye 
connective tissue  body of tissue that connects, supports, or binds body organs 
constipation  difficulty in emptying the bowel; infrequent bowel movements 
constrict  to contract or narrow; to make smaller 
consultation  process of seeking information or advice from another person 
contagious  easily spread; communicable 
contamination  containing infection or infectious organisms or germs 
contra angle  attachment used on dental handpieces to cut and polish 
contract  to shorten, decrease in size, or draw together; an agreement between two or more persons 
contracture  tightening or shortening of a muscle 
contusion  an injury that results in a hemorrhage (bleeding) beneath intact skin; a bruise 
conventional-speed handpiece  low-speed handpiece in dental units; used to remove caries and for fine-finishing work 
convex  curved outward; projected 
convulsion  also called a seizure; a violent, involuntary contraction of muscles 
cornea  the transparent section of the sclera; allows light rays to enter the eye 
cortex  the outer layer of an organ or structure 
cost containment  procedures used to control costs or expenses 
Cowper's glands  the pair of small mucous glands near the male urethra 
cranial  pertaining to the skull or cranium 
cranium  part of the skull; the eight bones of the head that enclose the brain 
cross index/reference  a paper or card used in filing systems to prevent misplacement or loss of records 
cross-match  a blood test that checks the compatibility of the donor's blood and the recipient's blood before a transfusion 
crown  the anatomical portion of a tooth that is exposed in the oral cavity, above the gingiva, or gums 
crust  a scab; outer covering or coat 
crutches  artificial supports that assist a patient in walking 
cryotherapy  use of cold applications for treatment 
culture  values, beliefs, ideas, customs, and characteristics passed from one generation to the next 
culture specimen  a sample of microorganisms or tissue cells taken from an area of the body for examination 
cuspid  also called a canine or eyetooth; the type of tooth located at angle of lips and used to tear food 
custom tray  dental impression tray specially made to fit a particular patient's mouth 
cyanosis  bluish color of the skin, nail beds, and/or lips due to an insufficient amount of oxygen in the blood 
cystitis  inflammation of the urinary bladder 
cystoscope  instrument for examining the inside of te urinary bladder 
cytoplasm  the fluid inside a cell; contains water, proteins, lipids, carbohydrates, minerals, and salts 
   
D   
dangling  positioning the patient in a sitting position with his or her feet and legs over the side of the bed prior to ambulation
day sheet  a daily record listing all financial transactions and/or patients seen 
deciduous teeth  also called primary teeth; the first set of 20 teeth 
decubitus ulcer  see pressure (decubitus) ulcer 
deduction  something subtracted or taken out (for example, monies taken out of a paycheck for various purposes) 
defamation  slander or libel; a false statement that causes ridicule or damage to a reputation 
defecation  evacuation of fecal material from the bowel; a bowel movement 
defense mechanism  physical or psychological reaction of an organism used in self-defense or to protect self-image 
defibrillate  use of an electronic shock to restore normal heart rhythm 
dehydration  insufficient amounts of fluid in the tissues 
delirium  acute, reversible mental confusion caused by illness, medical problems, and/or medications 
delusion  a false belief 
dementia  loss of mental ability characterized by decrease in intellectual ability, loss of memory, impaired judgment, an disorientation 
denial  declaring untrue; refusing to believe 
dental chair  special chair designed to position a patient comfortably while providing easy access to the patient's oral cavity 
dental hygienist  a licensed individual who works with a dentist to provide care and treatment for the teeth and gums 
dental light  light used in dental units to illuminate the oral cavity 
dentin  tissue that makes up the main bulk of a tooth 
dentist  a doctor who specializes in diagnosis, prevention, and treatment of diseases of the teeth and gums 
dentition  the number, type, and arrangement of teeth in the mouth 
denture  an entire set of teeth; usually refers to artificial teeth designed to replace natural teeth 
depression  psychological condition of sadness, melancholy, gloom, or despair 
dermis  the skin 
development  changes in the intellectual, mental, emotional, social, and functional skills that occur over time 
diabetes mellitus  metabolic disease caused by an insufficient secretion or utilization of insulin and leading to an increased amount of glucose (sugar) in the blood and urine 
diabetic coma  an unconscious condition caused by an increased level of glucose (sugar) and ketones in the bloodstream of a person with diabetes mellitus 
diagnosis  determination of the nature of a person's disease 
dialysis  removal of urine substances from the blood by way of passing solutes through a membrane 
diaphoresis  profuse or excessive perspiration, or sweating
diaphysis  the shaft, or middle section, of a long bone 
diarrhea  frequent bowel movements with watery stool 
diastole  period of relaxation of the heart 
diastolic pressure  measurement of blood pressure taken when the heart is at rest; measurement of the constant pressure in arteries 
diathermy  treatment with heat 
diencephalon  the section of the brain between the cerebrum and midbrain; contains the thalamus and hypothalamus 
dietitian  an individual who specializes in the science of diet and nutrition 
differential count  blood test that determines the percentage of each kind of leukocyte (white blood cell) 
digestion  physical and chemical breakdown of food by the body in preparation for absorption 
digital  pertaining to fingers or toes; examination with the fingers 
dilate  enlarge or expand; to make bigger 
direct smear  a culture specimen placed on a slide for microscopic examination 
disability  a physical or mental handicap that interferes with normal function; incapacitated, incapable 
discretion  ability to use good judgment and self-restraint in speech or behavior 
disease  any condition that interferes with the normal function of the body 
disinfection  aseptic-control method that destroys pathogens but does not usually kill spores and viruses 
dislocation  displacement of a bone at a joint 
disorientation  confusion with regard to the identity of time, place, or person 
displacement  defense mechanism in which feelings about one person are transferred to someone else 
distal  most distant or farthest from the trunk; center or midline 
distal surface  side surface of teeth that is toward the back of the mouth, or away from the midline of the mouth 
diuretics  drugs that increase urinary output; "water pills" 
doctorate  degree awarded by a college or university after completion of a prescribed course of study beyond a bachelor's or master's degree 
dorsal  pertaining to the back; in back of 
dorsal recumbent position  the patient lies on the back with the knees flexed and separated; used for vaginal and pelvic examinations 
dressing  covering placed over a wound or injured part 
dry cold  application that provides cold temperature but is dry against the skin 
dry heat  application that provides warm temperature but is dry against the skin 
duodenum  first part of the small intestine; connects the pylorus of the stomach and the jejunum 
dyspepsia  difficulty in digesting food; indigestion 
dysphagia  difficulty in swallowing 
dyspnea  difficult or labored breathing 
dysrhythmia  an abnormal rhythm in the electrical activity of the brain or heart 
dystrophy  progressive weakening (atrhophy) of a body part, such as a muscle 
dysuria  difficult or painful urination 
   
E   
early adulthood  period of development from 19 to 40 years of age 
early childhood  period of development from 1 to 6 years of age 
echocardiography  a diagnostic test that uses ultra-high-frequency sound waves to evaluate the structure and function of the heart 
edema  swelling; excess amount of fluid in the tissues 
electrocardiogram (ECG)  graphic tracing of the electrical activity of the heart 
electroencephalogram (EEG)  graphic recording of the brain waves or electrical activity in the brain 
emblem  a symbol; identifying badge, design, or device 
embolus  a blood clot or mass of material circulating in the blood vessels 
embryo  unborn infant during the first 3 months of development 
emesis  vomiting; expulsion of the contents of the stomach and/or intestine through the mouth and/or nose 
emotional  pertaining to feelings or psychological states 
empathy  identifying with another's feelings but being unable to change or solve the situation 
enamel  hardest tissue in the body; covers the outside of the crown of a tooth 
endocardium  serous membrane lining of the heart 
endocrine  ductless gland that produces an internal secretion discharged into the blood or lymph 
endodontics  branch of dentistry involving treatment of the pulp chamber and root canals of the teeth; root canal treatment 
endogenous  infection or disease originating within the body 
endometrium  mucous membrane lining of the inner surface of the uterus 
endoplasmic reticulum  fine network of tubular structures in the cytoplasm of a cell; allows for the transport of materials in and out of the nucleus and aids in the synthesis and storage of protein 
endorsement  a written signature on the back of a check; required in order to receive payment 
endoscope  a lighted instrument used to examine the inside of the body 
endosteum  membrane lining the medullary canal of a bone 
enema  an injection of fluid into the large intestine through the rectum 
enunciate  to speak clearly, using correct pronunciation 
enuresis  bedwetting; loss of bladder control while sleeping 
enzyme  a chemical substance that causes or increases the rate of a chemical reaction 
epidemic  an infectious disease that affects a large number of people within a population, community, or region at the same time 
epidemiology  the study of the history, cause, and spread of an infectious disease 
epidermis  the outer layer of the skin 
epididymis  tightly coiled tube in the scrotal sac; connects the testes with the vas or ductus deferens 
epigastric pertaining to the area of the abdomen above the stomach 
epiglottis  leaf-shaped structure that closes over the larynx during swallowing 
epilepsy  a chronic disease of the nervous system characterized by motor and sensory dysfunction, sometimes accompanied by convulsions and unconsciousness 
epiphysis  the end or head at the extremity of a long bone 
epistaxis  nosebleed 
epithelial tissue  tissue that forms the skin and parts of the secreting glands, and that lines the body cavities 
ergonomics  an applied science used to promote the safety and well-being of a person by adapting the environment and using techniques to prevent injuries 
erythema  redness of the skin 
erythrocyte  red blood cell (RBC) 
erythrocyte count  blood test that counts the number of red blood cells (normally 4-6 million per cubic millimeter of blood) 
erythorcyte sedimentation rate (ESR)  blood test that determines the rate at which red blood cells settle out of the blood 
esophagus  tube that extends from the pharynx to the stomach 
essential nutrients  those elements in food required by the body for proper function 
ethics principles of right or good conduct 
ethnicity  classification of people based on national origin and/or culture
ethnocentric  belief in the superiority of one's own ethnic group 
etiology  the study of the cause of a disease 
eupnea  normal breathing pattern 
eustachian tube  tube that connects the middle ear and the pharynx, or throat 
eversion  turning a body part outward 
exacerbation  period of time during which the signs and symptoms of a chronic disease become more severe 
excretion  process of eliminating waste products from the body 
exocrine  gland with a duct that produces a secretion 
exogenous  infection or disease originating outside of or external to the body 
expectorate  to split; to expel mucus, phlegm, or sputum from the throat or respiratory passages 
expiration  the expulsion of air from the lungs; breathing out air 
extension  increasing the angle between two parts; straightening a limb 
external auditory canal  passageway or tube extending from the auricle of the ear to the tympanic membrane 
   
F   
facial surface  the tooth surface nearest the lips or cheek; includes the labial and buccal surfaces 
facsimile  machine tht utilizes telephone lines to send messages and/or documents from one location to another location; a fax 
fainting  partial or complete loss of consciousness caused by a temporary reduction in the supply of blood to the brain 
Fallopian tubes  oviducts; in the female, passageway for the ova (egg) from the ovary to uterus 
fanfold  folding in accordion pleats; done with bed linens 
fascia  fibrous membrane covering, supporting, and separating muscles 
fasting blood sugar (FBS)  blood test that measures blood serum levels of glucose (sugar) after a person has had nothing by mouth for a period of time 
fat  also called a lipid; nutrient that provides the most concentrated form of energy; highest-calorie energy nutrient; overweight 
fat-restricted diet  diet with limited amounts of fats, or lipids 
fax  see facsimile 
febrile  pertaining to a fever, or elevated body temperature 
feces  also called stool; waste material discharged from the bowel 
Federation Dentaire International (FDI) System abbreviated means of identifying the teeth that uses a two-digit code to identify the quadrant and tooth 
femur  thigh bone of the leg; the longest and strongest bone in the body 
fertilization  conception; impregnation of the ovum by the sperm 
fetus  unborn infant from the end of the third month of pregnancy until birth 
fever  elevated body temperature, usually above 101oF, or 38.3oC, rectally
fibula  outer and smaller bone of the lower leg 
field  a specific data category within a computer database, for example, the entry of an address in a patient information database 
filing  arranging in order 
firewall  a software program or hardware device designed to prevent unauthorized access to a computer system 
first aid  immediate care given to a victim of an injury or illness to minimize the effects of the injury or illness 
flatus air or gas in the intestines 
flexion  decreasing the angle between two parts; bending a limb 
fomite  any substance or object that adheres to and transmits infectious material 
fontanel  area between the cranial bones where the bones have not fused together; "soft spots" in the skull of an infant 
foramina  a passage or opening; a hole in a bone through which blood vessels or nerves pass 
Fowler's position  the patient lies on the back with the head elevated at one of several different angles 
fracture  a break (usually, a break in a bone or tooth) 
frontal (coronal) plane  imaginary line that separates the body into a front section and a back section 
frostbite  actual freezing of tissue fluid resulting in damage to the skin and underlying tissue 
full liquid diet  diet consisting of liquids and foods that are liquid at body temperature 
fungi  group of simple, plantlike animals that live on dead organic matter (for example, yeast and molds) 
   
G   
gait  method or manner of walking 
gait belt  a belt placed around a patient's waist to assist with transfer and/or ambulation 
gallbladder  small sac near the liver; concentrates and stores bile 
gastric  pertaining to the stomach 
gastrostomy  surgical opening through the abdominal wall into the stomach; used for inserting a feeding tube 
generic name  chemical name of a drug; name not protected by a trademark 
genes  the structures on chromosomes that carry inherited characteristics 
genital  pertaining to the organs of reproduction 
genome  the total mass of genetic instruction humans inherit from their parents 
geriatrics, gerontology  the study of the aged or old age and treatment of related diseases and conditions 
glaucoma  eye disease characterized by increased intraocular pressure 
glomerulus  microscopic cluster of capillaries in Bowman's capsule of the nephron in the kidney 
glucose meter  instrument used to measure blood-glucose (blood-sugar) level 
glycosuria  presence of sugar in the urine 
Golgi apparatus  That structure in the cytoplasm of a cell that produces, stores, and packages secretions for discharge from the cell 
goniometer  an instrument that measures the angle of a joint's range of motion (ROM) 
Gram's stain  technique of staining organisms to identify specific types of bacteria present 
graphic chart  record used to record vital signs (for example, temperature, pulse, and respirations) and other information 
groin  area between the abdomen and upper inner thigh 
growth  measurable physical changes that occur throughout a person's life 
gynecology  the study of diseases of women, especially those affecting the reproductive organs
   
H   
halitosis  bad breath 
hantavirus  a virus spread by contact with rodents (rats and mice) or their excretions 
hard copy  computer term for a printed copy of information 
hard plate  bony structure that forms the roof of the mouth 
hardware  machine or physical components of a computer system (usually, the parts of the computer and the peripherals) 
Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA)  set of federal regulations adopted to protect the confidentiality of patient information and the ability to retain health insurance coverage 
heart attack  see myocardial infarction 
heat cramp  muscle pain and spasm resulting from exposure to heat and inadequate fluid and salt intake 
heat exhaustion  condition resulting from exposure to heat and excessive loss of fluid through sweating 
heat stroke  medical emergency caused by prolonged exposure to heat, resulting in high body temperature and failure of sweat glands 
helminths  a parasitic worm (for example, a tapeworm or leech) 
hematemesis  vomiting of blood 
hematocrit  blood test that measures the percentage of red blood cells per a given unit of blood 
hematology  the study of blood and blood diseases 
hematoma  a localized mass of blood 
hematopoiesis  formation of blood cells 
hematuria  blood in the urine 
hemiplegia  paralysis on one side of the body 
hemodialysis  mechanical method of circulating blood through semipermeable membranes to remove body wastes; procedure used for kidney failure 
hemoglobin  the iron-containing protein of the red blood cells; serves to carry oxygen from the lungs to the tissues 
hemolysis  disintegration of red blood cells, causing cells to dissolve or go into solution 
hemoptysis  spitting up blood; blood-stained sputum 
hemorrhage  excessive loss of blood; bleeding 
hemorrhoids  varicose veins of the anal canal or anus 
hemostat  instrument used to compress (clamp) blood vessels to stop bleeding 
heparin  a substance formed in the liver to prevent the clotting of blood; an anticoagulant 
hepatitis  inflammation of the liver 
high-fiber diet  diet containing large amounts of fiber, or indigestible food 
high-protein diet  diet containing large amounts of protein-rich foods 
high-velocity oral evacuator  dental handpiece used to remove particles and large amounts of liquid from the oral cavity 
HIPAA  see Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act 
histology  study of tissue 
holistic health care  care that promotes physical, emotional, social, intellectual, and spiritual well-being
home health care  any type of health care provided in a patient's home environment 
homeostasis  a constant state of natural balance within the body 
horizontal recumbent position  see supine position 
hormone  chemical substance secreted by an organ or gland 
HOSA  Health Occupations Students of America, a national organization for students enrolled in health occupations programs 
hospice  program designed to provide care for the terminally ill while allowing them to die with dignity 
hospital  institution that provides medical or surgical care and treatment for the sick or injured 
humerus  long bone of the upper arm 
hydrocollator packs  gel-filled packs that are warmed in a water bath to provide a moist heat application 
hygiene  principles for health preservation and disease prevention 
hyperglycemia  presence of sugar in the blood; high blood sugar 
hyperopia  farsightedness; defect in near vision 
hyperpnea  an increased respiratory rate 
hypertension  high blood pressure 
hyperthermia  condition that occurs when body temperature exceeds 104oF, or 40oC, rectally
hypoglycemia  low blood sugar 
hypotension  low blood pressure 
hypothalamus  that structure in the diencephalon of the brain that regulates and controls many body functions 
hypothermia  condition in which body temperature is below normal, usually below 95oF (35oC) and often in the range of 78-95oF (26-35oC)
hypothermia blanket  special blanket containing coils filled with a cooling solution; used to reduce high body temperature 
hypoxia  without oxygen; a deficiency of oxygen 
   
I   
ice bag/collar  plastic or rubber device filled with ice to provide dry-cold application 
idiopathic  without recognizable cause; condition that is self-originating 
ileostomy  a surgical opening connecting the ileum (small intestine) and the abdominal wall 
ileum  final section of small intestine; connects the jejunum and large intestine 
immunity  condition of being protected against a particular disease 
impaction  a large, hard mass of fecal material lodged in the intestine or rectum; a tooth that does not erupt into the mouth 
impression  negative reproduction of a tooth or dental arch 
incisal surface  the cutting or biting surface of anterior teeth 
incision  cut or wound of body tissue caused by a sharp object; a surgical cut 
incisors  teeth located in the front and center of the mouth; used to cut food 
incontinent  unable to voluntarily control urination or defecation 
index  to put names in proper order for filing purposes 
infancy  period of development from birth to 1 year of age 
infarction  area of tissue that is necrotic (dead) after the cessation of a blood supply; death of tissue 
infection  invasion by organisms; contamination by disease-producing organisms, or pathogens 
inferior  below; under 
inflammation  tissue reaction to injury characterized by heat, redness, swelling, and pain 
informed consent  permission granted voluntarily by a person who is of sound mind and aware of all factors involved 
ingestion  taking food, fluids, or medications into the body through the mouth 
inguinal  pertaining to the region of the body where the thighs join the trunk; the groin 
inhalation  breathing in 
input  computer term for information that is entered into a computer 
inquiry  search for information 
insertion  end of area of a muscle that moved when the muscle contracts 
inspiration  breathing in; taking air into the lungs 
insulin  a hormone secreted by the islets of Langerhans in the pancreas; essential for the metabolism of glucose 
insulin shock  condition that occurs in individuals with diabetes when there is an excess amount of insulin and a low level of glucose (sugar) in the blood
insurance form  a form used to apply for payment by an insurance company 
intake and output (I&O)  a record that notes all fluids taken in or eliminated by a person in a given period of time 
integrative health care  a form of health care that uses both mainstream medical treatments and complementary and alternative therapies to treat a patient 
integumentary  pertaining to the skin or a covering 
interactive video  the color, sound, and motion of video technology integrated with computer-assisted instruction to create a new technology 
intercostal  pertaining to the space between the ribs (costae) 
interproximal space  the area between two adjoining teeth 
intestine  that portion of the alimentary canal from the stomach to the rectum and anus 
intradermal  inserted or put into the skin 
intramuscular  injected or put into a muscle 
intravenous  injected or put into a vein 
intubate  to insert a tube 
invasion of privacy  revealing personal information about an individual without his or her consent 
invasive  pertains to a test or procedure that involves penetrating or entering the body 
inversion  turning a body part inward 
involuntary  independent action not controlled by choice or desire 
iris  colored portion of the eye; composed of muscular, or contractile, tissue that regulates the size fo the pupil 
ischemia  inadequate blood flow to the body tissues caused by an obstruction in circulation 
isolation  method or technique of caring for persons who have communicable diseases 
   
J   
jackknife (proctologic) position  the patient lies on the abdomen with both the head and legs inclined downward and the rectal area elevated 
jaundice  yellow discoloration of the skin and eyes, frequently caused by liver or gallbladder disease 
jejunum  the middle section of the small intestine; connects the duodenum and ileum 
joint  an articulation, or area where two bones meet or join 
   
K   
kcal-controlled diet  diet containing low-calorie foods; frequently prescribed for weight loss 
ketone  chemical compound produced during an increased metabolism of fat 
ketonuria  presence of ketones in the urine 
kidney  bean-shaped organ that excretes urine; located high and in back of the abdominal cavity 
kilocalorie  unit used to measure the energy value of food 
kilojoule  metric unit used to measure the energy value of food 
knee-chest position  the patient rests his or her body weight on the knees and chest; used for sigmoidoscopic and rectal examinations 
   
L   
labia majora  two large folds of adipose tissue lying on each side of the vulva in the female; hairy outer lips 
labia minora  two folds of membranes lying inside the labia majora; hairless inner lips 
labia surface  crown surface of the anterior teeth that lies next to the lips; facial surface of the anterior teeth 
laboratory  a room or building where scientific tests, research, experiments, or learning takes place 
laceration  wound or injury with jagged, irregular edges 
lacrimal  pertaining to tears; glands that secrete and expel tears 
lactation  process of secreting milk 
lacteal  specialized lymphatic capillary that picks up digested fats or lipids in the small intestine and transports them to the thoracic duct 
lancet  sharp, pointed instrument used to pierce the skin to obtain blood 
laryngeal mirror  instrument with a mirror, used to examine larynx 
larynx  voice box, located between the pharynx and trachea 
late adulthood  period of development beginning at 65 years of age and ending at death 
late childhood  period of development from 6 to 12 years of age 
lateral  pertaining to the side 
lead  an angle or view of the heart that is recorded in an electrocardiogram 
ledger card  a card or record that shows a financial account of money charged, received, or paid out 
left lateral position  see Sims' position 
legal  authorized or based on law 
legal disability  a condition in which a person does not have legal capacity and is therefore unable to enter into a legal agreement (for example, as is the case with a minor) 
lens  crystalline structure suspended behind the pupil of the eye; refracts or bends light rays onto the retina; also, the magnifying glass in a microscope 
lethargy  abnormal drowsiness or sluggishness; state of indifference or stupor 
leukocyte  white blood cell (WBC) 
leukocyte count  blood test that counts the total number of white blood cells (normally 5,000-9,000 cells per cubic millimeter of blood) 
liability  a legal or financial responsibility 
libel  false written statement that causes a person ridicule or contempt or causes damage to the person's reputation 
licensure  process by which a government agency authorizes individuals to work in a given occupation 
life stages  stages of growth and development experienced by an individual from birth to death 
ligament  fibrous tissue that connects bone to bone 
light diet  also called a convalescent diet; diet that contains easy-to-digest foods 
line angle  area on crown surfaces of a tooth formed by a line drawn between two surfaces 
liner  dental material that covers or lines exposed tooth tissue, usually in the form of a varnish 
lingual surface  the crown surface of teeth that is next to the tongue 
lithotomy position  the patient lies on the back with the feet in stirrups and knees flexed and separated 
liver  largest gland in the body; located in the upper right quadrant of the abdomen; tow of its main functions are excreting bile and storing glycogen 
living will  a legal document stating a person's desires on what measures should or should not be taken to prolong life when his or her condition is terminal 
low-cholesterol diet  diet that restricts foods high in saturated fat 
low-protein diet  diet that limits foods high in protein 
low-residue diet  diet that limits foods containing large amounts of residue, or indigestibles 
low-speed handpiece  slower handpiece in dental units; used to remove caries and for find finishing work 
lung  organ of respiration located in the thoracic cavity 
lymph  fluid formed in body tissues and circulated in the lymphatic vessels 
lymph node  a round body of lymph tissue that filters lymph 
lymphatic duct  short tube that drains purified lymph from the right sides of the head and neck and the right arm 
lymphatic vessels  thin-walled vessels that carry lymph from tissues 
lysosomes  those structures in the cytoplasm of a cell that contain digestive enzymes to digest and destroy old cells, bacteria, and foreign matter 
   
M   
macule  a discolored but neither raised nor depressed spot or area on the skin 
magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)  process that uses a computer and magnetic forces, instead of X-rays, to visualize internal organs 
malignant  harmful or dangerous; likely to spread and cause destruction and death (for example, cancer) 
malnutrition  poor nutrition; without adequate food and nutrients 
malpractice  providing improper or unprofessional treatment or care that results in injury to another person 
mammogram  X-ray examination of the breasts 
managed care a health care delivery system designed to reduce the cost of health care while providing access to care through designated providers 
mandible  horseshoe-shaped bone that forms the lower jaw; only movable bone of the skull 
master's degree  degree awarded by a college or university after completion of one or more years of prescribed study beyond a bachelor's degree 
mastication  the process of chewing with the teeth 
Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDSs)  information sheets that must be provided by the manufacturer for all hazardous products 
matriarchal  social organization in which the mother or oldest woman is the authority figure 
maxilla  upper jawbone; two bones fused or joined together 
meatus  external opening of a tube (for example, the urinary meatus) 
mechanical lift  special device used to move or transfer a patient 
medial  pertaining to the middle or midline 
Medicaid  government program that provides medical care for people whose incomes are below a certain level 
medical history  a record that shows all diseases, illness, and surgeries that a patient has had 
medical record  also called a patient chart; written record of a patient's diagnosis, care, treatment, test results, and prognosis 
Medicare  government program that provides medical care for elderly and/or disabled individuals 
medication  drug used to treat a disease or condition 
Medigap policy  an insurance plan that serves as supplemental insurance to Medicare; usually pays deductible for Medicare and co-payments of care 
medulla  inner, or central portion of an organ 
medulla oblongata  the lower part of the brainstem; controls vital processes such as respiration and heartbeat 
medullary canal  inner, or central, portion of a long bone 
meiosis  the process of cell division that occurs in gametes, or sex cells (ovum and spermatozoa) 
melanin  brownish black pigment found in the skin, hair, and eyes 
memorandum  a short, written statement or message 
meninges  membranes that cover the brain and spinal cord 
menopause  permanent cessation of menstruation 
mental  pertaining to the mind 
mesial surface  the side surface of teeth that is toward the midline of the mouth 
metabolism  the use of food nutrients by the body to produce energy 
metacarpal  bone of the hand between the wrist and each finger 
metastasis  the spread of tumor or cancer cells from the site of origin 
metatarsal  bone of the foot between the instep and each toe 
microbiology  branch of biology dealing with the study of microscopic organisms 
microorganism  small, living plant or animal not visible to the naked eye; a microbe 
microscope  instrument used to magnify or enlarge objects for viewing 
micturate  another word for urinate; to expel urine 
midbrain  that portion of the brain that connects the pons and cerebellum; relay center for impulses 
middle adulthood  period of development form 40-65 years of age 
midsagittal  an imaginary line drawn down the midline of the body to divide the body into a right side and a left side 
midstream (clean-catch) specimen  urine specimen in which urination is begun before catching the specimen in the specimen cup 
minerals  inorganic substances essential to life 
mitered corner  special folding technique used to secure linen on a bed 
mitochondria  those structures in a cell that provide energy and are involved in the metabolism of the cell 
mitosis  process of asexual reproduction by which cells divide into two identical cells 
mitral valve  flap or cusp between the left atrium and left ventricle in the heart 
model  also called a cast; a positive reproduction of the dental arches or teeth in plaster or similar materials 
moist cold  an application that provides cold temperature and is wet against the skin
moist heat  an application this provides warm temperature and is wet against the skin 
molars  teeth in the back of the mouth; largest and strongest teeth; used to grind food 
mouth  oral cavity; opening to the digestive tract, or alimentary canal 
mucus  thick, sticky fluid secreted by mucous membranes 
muscle tissue  body tissue composed of fibers that produce movement 
muscle tone  state of partial muscle contraction providing a state of readiness to act 
myocardial infarction  heart attack; a reduction in the supply of blood to the heart resulting in damage to the muscle of the heart 
myocardium  muscle layer of the heart 
myopia  nearsightedness; defect in distant vision 
   
N   
nasal cavity space between the cranium and the roof of the mouth 
nasal septum  bony and cartilaginous partition that separates the nasal cavity into two sections 
nasogastric tube  a tube that is inserted through the nose and goes down the esophagus and into the stomach 
nausea  a feeling of discomfort in the region of the stomach accompanied by the tendency to vomit 
necrosis  death of tissue 
need  lack of something required or desired; urgent want or desire 
needle holder  instrument used to hold or support a needle while sutures (stitches) are being inserted 
negligence  failure to give care that is normally expected, resulting in injury to another person 
neonate  newborn infant 
neoplasm  new growth or tumor 
nephritis  inflammation of the kidney 
nephron  structural and functional unit of the kidney 
nerve  group of nerve tissues that conducts impulses 
nerve tissue  body tissue that conducts or transmits impulses throughout the body 
network  connection of two or more computers to share data and hardware 
neurology  the study of the nervous system 
neuron  nerve cell 
nocturia  excessive urination at night 
noninvasive  pertaining to a test or procedure that does not require penetration or entrance into the body 
nonpathogen  a microorganism that is not capable of causing a disease 
nonverbal  without words or speech 
nose  the projection in the center of the face; the organ for smelling and breathing 
nosocomial  pertaining to or originating in a health care facility such as a hospital 
nucleolus  the spherical body in the nucleus of a cell that is important in reproduction of the cell 
nucleus  the structure in a cell that controls cell activities such as growth, metabolism, and reproduction 
nutrition  all body processes related to food; the body's use of food for growth, development, and health 
nutritional status  the state of one's nutrition 
   
O   
obese overweight 
objective observation  an observation about a patient that is visible, palpable, or measurable; commonly called a sign 
observation  to look at, watch, perceive, or notice 
obstetrics  the branch of medicine dealing with pregnancy and childbirth 
occlusal surface  the chewing or biting surface of posterior teeth 
occult  hidden, concealed, not visible (for example, an internal [occult] hemorrhage) 
occult blood  blood that is hidden; also, a test done on stool to check for the presence of blood 
occupational therapy  treatment directed at preparing a person requiring rehabilitation for a trade or for return to the activities of daily living 
occupied bed  a bed that is made while the patient is in bed 
odontology  study of the anatomy, growth, and diseases of the teeth 
olfactory  pertaining to the sense of smell 
oliguria  decreased or less-than-normal amounts of urine secretion 
ombudsman  specially trained individual who acts as an advocate for others to improve care of conditions 
Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (OBRA)  Federal law that regulates the education and testing of nursing assistants 
oncology  the branch of medicine dealing with tumors or abnormal growths (for example, cancer) 
open bed  a bed with the top sheets fanfolded to the bottom 
ophthalmologist  a medical doctor who specializes in diseases of the eye 
ophthalmology  the study of the eye and diseases and disorders affecting the eye 
ophthalmoscope  an instrument used to examine the eye 
opportunistic infection  an infection that occurs when the body's immune system cannot defend itself from pathogens normally found in the environment 
optician  an individual who makes or sells lenses, eye-glasses, and other optical supplies
optometrist  a licensed, nonmedical practitioner who specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of vision defects 
oral  pertaining to the mouth 
oral cavity  the mouth 
oral hygiene  care of the mouth and teeth 
oral-evacuation system  special machine that uses water to form a suction or vacuum system to remove liquids and particles from the oral cavity 
organ  body part made of tissue that have joined together to perform a special function 
organ of Corti  structure in the cochlea of the ear; organ of hearing 
organelles  structures in the cytoplasm of a cell, including the nucleus, mitochondria, ribosomes, lysosomes, and Golgi apparatus 
origin  end or area of a muscle that remains stationary when the muscle contracts 
orthodontics  the branch of dentistry dealing with prevention and correction of irregularities of the alignment of teeth 
orthopedics  the branch of medicine/surgery dealing with the treatment of diseases and deformities of the bones, muscles, and joints 
orthopnea  severe dyspnea in which breathing is very difficult in any position other than sitting erect or standing 
orthotist  an individual skilled in straightening or correcting deformities by the use of orthopedic appliances (for example, braces or special splints) 
os coxae  the hipbone; formed by the union of the ilium, ischium, and pubis 
ossicles small bones, especially the three bones of the middle ear that amplify and transmit sound waves 
osteopathy  a field of medicine and treatment based on manipulation, especially of the bones, to treat disease 
osteoporosis  condition in which bones become porous and brittle because of lack or loss of calcium, phosphorus, and other minerals 
ostomy  a surgically created opening into a body part 
otoscope  an instrument used to examine the ear 
output  computer term for processed information, or the final product obtained from the computer; also, total amount of liquid expelled from the body 
ovary  endocrine gland or gonad that produces hormones and the female sex cell, or ovum 
   
P   
palate  structure that separates the oral and nasal cavities; root of the mouth 
palliative  measures taken to treat symptoms and/or pain even though it will not cure a disease; comfort measures 
pallor  paleness; lack of color 
palpation  the act of using the hands to feel body parts during an examination 
pancreas  gland that is dorsal to the stomach; secretes insulin and digestive juices 
pandemic  an infectious disease that affects many people over a wide geographic area; a worldwide epidemic 
panoramic  dental radiograph that shows the entire dental arch, or all of the teeth and related structures, on one film 
Papanicolaou test  also called a Pap test; a test to classify abnormal cells obtained from the vagina or cervix 
papule  solid, elevated spot or area on the skin 
paraffin wax treatment  heated mixture of paraffin and mineral oil; used to provide a moist heat application 
paralysis  loss or impairment of the ability to feel or move parts of the body 
paraplegia  paralysis of the lower half of the body 
parasite  organism that lives on or within another living organism 
parasympathetic  a division of the autonomic nervous system 
parathyroid  one of four small glands located on the thyroid gland; regulates calcium and phosphorus metabolism 
parenteral  other than by mouth 
paresis  weakness and/or paralysis of an extremity 
partial bath  bath in which only certain body parts are bathed or in which the health care provider bathes those parts of the body that the patient is unable to bathe 
patella  the kneecap 
pathogen  disease-producing organisms 
pathology  the study of the cause or nature of a disease 
pathophysiology  study of how disease occurs and the responses of living organisms to disease processes 
patience  ability to wait, persevere; capacity for calm endurance 
patients' rights  factors of care that all patients can expect to receive 
patriarchal  social organization in which the father or oldest male is the authority figure 
pediatrics  the branch of medicine dealing with care and treatment of diseases and disorders of children 
pedodontics  the branch of dentistry dealing with treatment of teeth and oral conditions of children 
pegboard system  method of maintaining financial accounts and records in an office 
pelvic  pertaining to the pelvis area below the abdominal region and near the sacrum and hip bones 
percussion  process of tapping various body parts during an examination 
percussion (reflux) hammer  instrument used to check reflexes 
periapical  around the apex of a root of a tooth; dental X-ray that shows the entire tooth and surrounding area 
pericardium  membrane sac that covers the outside of the heart 
perineum  region between the vagina and anus in the female and between the scrotum and anus in the male 
periodontal ligament  dense fibers of connective tissue that attach to the cementum of a tooth and the alveolus to support or suspend the tooth in its socket 
periodontics  the branch of dentistry dealing with the treatment of the gingiva (gum) and periodontium (supporting tissues) surrounding the teeth 
periodontium  structures that surround and support the teeth 
periosteum  fibrous membrane that covers the bones except at joint areas 
peripheral  that part of the nervous system apart from the brain and spinal cord; also, a device connected to a computer 
peristalsis  rhythmic, wavelike motion of involuntary muscles 
peritoneal  pertaining to the body cavity containing the liver, stomach, intestines, urinary bladder, and internal reproductive organs 
permanent (succedaneous) teeth  the 32 teeth that make up the second, or permanent, set of teeth
personal hygiene  care of the body including bathing hair and nail care, shaving, and oral hygiene 
personal protective equipment (PPE)  protective barriers such as a mask, gown, gloves, and protective eyewear that help protect a person from contact with infectious material 
perspiration  the secretion of sweat 
pH  a scale of 0-14 used to measure the degree of acidity or alkalinity of a substance, with 7 being neutral 
phalanges  bones of the fingers and toes 
pharmacology  the study of drugs 
pharynx  the throat 
phlebitis  inflammation of a vein 
phlebotomist  also called a venipuncture technician; individual who collects blood and prepare it for tests 
physiatrist  medical doctor specializing in rehabilitation 
physical  of or pertaining to the body 
physical therapy  treatment by physical means, such as heat, cold, water, massage, or electricity 
Physicians' Desk Reference (PDR)  reference book that contains essential information on medications 
physiological needs  basic physical or biological needs required by every human being to sustain life 
physiology  the study of the processes or functions of living organisms 
pineal  glandlike structure in the brain 
pinna  also called the auricle; external portion of the ear 
pituitary  small, rounded endocrine gland at the base of the brain; regulates function of other endocrine glands and body processes 
placenta  temporary endocrine gland created during pregnancy to provide nourishment for the fetus; the afterbirth 
plane  flat or relatively smooth surface; an imaginary line drawn through the body at various parts to separate the body into sections 
plaque  thin, tenacious, filmlike deposit that adheres (sticks) to the teeth and can lead to decay; made of protein and microorganisms 
plasma  liquid portion of the blood 
platelet  see thrombocyte 
pleura  a serous membrane that covers the lungs and lines the thoracic cavity 
podiatrist  an individual who specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of diseases and disorders of the feet 
point angle  area on the crown surface of a tooth that is formed when three surfaces meet 
poisoning  condition that occurs when contact is made with any chemical substance that causes injury, illness, or death 
polycythemia  excess number of red blood cells 
polydipsia  excessive thirst 
polyphagia  excessive ingestion of food 
polyuria  increased production and discharge of urine; excessive urination 
pons  that portion of the brainstem that connects the medulla oblongata and cerebellum to the upper portions of the brain 
positron emission tomography (PET)  computerized body scanning technique in which the computer detects a radioactive substance injected into a patient 
posterior  toward the back; behind 
posterior teeth  teeth toward the back of the oral cavity, including the bicuspids and molars 
postmortem care  care given to the body immediately after death 
postoperative  after surgery 
postpartum  following delivery of a baby 
Power of Attorney (POA)  a legal document authorizing a person to act as another person's legal representative or agent 
prefix  an affix attached to the beginning of a word 
prejudice  strong feeling or belief about a person or subject that is formed without reviewing facts or information 
prenatal  before birth 
preoperative  before surgery 
pressure (decubitus) ulcer  a pressure sore; a bedsore 
primary (deciduous) teeth  also called deciduous teeth; the first set of 20 teeth 
privileged communications  all personal information given to health personnel by a patient; must be kept confidential 
proctoscope  instrument used to examine the rectum 
prognosis  prediction regarding the probably outcome of a disease 
projection  defense mechanism in which an individual places the blame for his or her actions on someone else or circumstance 
pronation  turning a body part downward; turning "palm down" 
prone position  the patient lies on the abdomen, with legs together and the face turned to the side 
prophylactic  preventive; agent that prevents disease 
prophylaxis angle  dental handpiece attachment that holds polishing cups, disks, and brushes used to clean the teeth or polish restorations
prostate gland  in the male, gland near the urethra; contracts during ejaculation to prevent urine from leaving the bladder 
prosthesis  an artificial part that replaces a natural part (for example, dentures or a limb) 
prosthodontics  the branch of dentistry dealing with the construction of artificial appliances for the mouth 
protective isolation  see reverse isolation 
protein  one of six essential nutrients needed for growth and repair of tissues 
protoplasm  thick, viscous substance that is the physical basis of all living things 
protozoa  microscopic, one-celled animals often found in decayed materials and contaminated water 
proximal  closest to the point of attachment or area of reference 
pruritus  itching 
psychiatry  the branch of medicine dealing with the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of mental illness 
psychology  the study of mental processes and their effects on behavior 
psychosomatic  pertaining to the relationship between the mind or emotions and the body 
puberty  period of growth and development during which secondary sexual characteristics begin to develop 
pulmonary  pertaining to the lungs 
pulmonary valve  flap or cusp between the right ventricle of the heart and the pulmonary artery 
pulp  soft tissue in the innermost area of a tooth and made of nerves and blood vessels held in place by connective tissue 
pulse  pressure of the blood felt against the wall of an artery as the heart contracts or beats 
pulse deficit  the difference between the rate of an apical pulse and the rate of a radial pulse 
pulse oximeter  a device that measures the oxygen level in arterial blood 
pulse pressure  the difference between systolic and diastolic blood pressure 
puncture wound  injury caused by a pointed object such as a needle or nail 
pupil  opening or hole in the center of the iris of the eye; allows light to enter the eye 
pustule  small, elevated, pus- or lymph-filled area of the skin 
pyrexia  fever 
pyuria  pus in the urine 
   
R   
race classification of people based on physical or biological characteristics 
radial deviation  moving toward the thumb side of the hand 
radiograph  X-ray an image produced by radiation 
radiology  the branch of medicine dealing with X-rays and radioactive substances 
radiolucent  transparent to X-rays; permitting the passage of X-rays or other forms of radiation 
radiopaque  not transparent to X-rays; not permitting the passage of X-rays or other forms of radiation 
radius  long bone of the forearm, between the wrist and elbow 
rale  bubbling or noisy sound caused by fluid or mucus in the air passages 
random access memory (RAM)  form of computer memory known as read/write memory because data can be stored or retrieved from it 
range of motion (ROM)  the full range of movement of a muscle or joint; exercises designed to move each joint and muscle through its full range of movement 
rate  number per minute, as with pulse and respiration counts 
rationalization  defense mechanism involving the use of a reasonable or acceptable excuse as explanation for behavior 
read only memory (ROM)  nonerasable, permanent form of computer memory built into a computer to control many of the computer's internal operations 
reagent strip  special test strip containing chemical substances that react to the presence of certain substances in the urine or blood 
reality orientation  activities to help promote awareness of time, place, and person 
recall  to call back; letter or notice that reminds a patient to return for periodic treatment or examination 
receipt  written record that money or goods has been received 
rectal, rectum  pertaining to the lower part of the large intestine, the temporary storage area for indigestibles 
rectal tube  tube inserted into the rectum to aid in the expulsion of flatus (gas) 
red blood cell  see erythrocyte 
red marrow  soft tissue in the epiplyses of long bones 
reference initials  initials placed at the bottom of a letter to indicate the writer and/or preparer 
refractometer  an instrument used to measure the specific gravity of urine 
registration  process whereby a regulatory body in a given health care area administers examinations and/or maintains a list of qualified personnel 
rehabilitation  the restoration to useful life through therapy an education 
remission  period of time during which the signs and symptoms of a chronic disease are less severe or not present 
repression  defense mechanism involving the transfer of painful or unacceptable ideas, feelings, or thoughts into the subconscious 
resident  an individual who lives in a long-term care facility 
resistant  able to oppose; organisms that remain unaffected by harmful substances in the environment 
respiration  the process of taking in oxygen (inspiration) and expelling carbon dioxide (expiration) by way of the lungs and air passages 
restoration  process of replacing a diseased portion of a tooth or a lost tooth by artificial means, including filling materials, crowns, bridges, or dentures 
restraints  protective devices that limit or restrict movement 
retina  the sensory membrane that lines the eye and is the immediate instrument of vision 
retractor  instrument used to hold or draw back the lips or sides of a wound or incision 
reverse isolation  technique used to provide care to patients requiring protection from organisms in the environment 
rheostat  foot control in dental units; used to operated handpieces 
rhythm  referring to regularity; regular or irregular 
ribs  also called costae; 12 pairs or narrow, curved bones that surround the thoracic cavity 
rickettsiae  parasitic microorganisms that live on other living organisms 
root  the anatomic portion of a tooth that is below the gingiva (gums); helps hold the tooth in the mouth 
rotation  movement around a central axis; a turning 
rubber base  dental impression material that is elastic and rubbery in nature 
   
S   
safety standards  set of rules designed to protect both the patient and health care worker 
saliva ejector  handpiece in dental units that provides a constant, low-volume suction to remove saliva and fluids from the mouth 
salivary glands  glands of the mouth that produce saliva, a digestive secretion 
sarcoma  tumor of connective tissue; frequently malignant 
satisfaction  fulfillment or gratification of a desire or need 
scalpel  instrument with a knife blade used to incise (cut) skin and tissue 
scapula  shoulder blade or bone 
sclera  white outer coat of the eye 
screen  to evaluate; to determine the purpose of telephone calls so they can be referred to the correct person 
scrotum  double pouch containing the testes and epididymis in the male individual 
sebaceous gland  oil-secreting gland of the skin 
secretion  substance produced and expelled by a gland or other body part 
seizure  a convulsion; involuntary contraction of muscles 
self-actualization  achieving one's full potential 
self-esteem  satisfaction with oneself 
self-motivation  ability to begin or to follow through with a task without the assistance of others 
semicircular canals  structures of the inner ear that are involved in maintaining balance and equilibrium 
seminal vesicle  one of two saclike structures behind the bladder and connected to the vas deferens in the male individual; secretes thick, viscous fluid for semen 
senile lentigines  dark-yellow or brown spots that develop on the skin as aging occurs 
senility  feebleness of body or mind caused by aging 
sensitive  susceptible to a substance; organisms that are affected by an antibiotic in a culture and sensitivity study 
sensitivity  ability to recognize and appreciate the personal characteristics of others 
sepsis  presence of pus-forming pathogens and their toxins in the blood 
septum  membranous wall that divides two cavities 
serrated  notched; toothed 
sharps container  a puncture-resistant container for disposal of needles, syringes, and other sharp objects contaminated by blood or body fluids 
shock  clinical condition characterized by various symptoms and resulting in an inadequate supply of blood and oxygen to body organs, especially the brain and heart 
sigmoidoscope  instrument used to examine the sigmoid, or S-shaped, section of the large intestine 
sign  objective evidence of disease; something that is seen 
signature  a person's name written by that person 
Sims' position  the patient lies on his or her left side with the right leg bent up near the abdomen 
sinus  cavity or air space in a bone 
sitz bath  special bath given to apply moist heat to the genital or rectal area 
skeleton  the bony structure of the body 
skill  expertness, dexterity; an art, trade, or technique 
skin puncture  a small needle hole made in the skin to obtain capillary blood 
slander  spoken comment that causes a person ridicule or contempt or damages the person's reputation 
small intestine  that section of the intestine that is between the stomach and large intestine; site of most absorption of nutrients 
smear  material spread thinly on a slide for microscopic examination 
Snellen charts  special charts that use letters or symbols in calibrated heights to check visual acuity 
social  pertaining to relationships with others 
sodium hypochlorite  household bleach 
sodium-restricted diet  special diet containing low or limited amounts of sodium (salt) 
soft diet  special diet containing only foods that are soft in texture 
soft palate  tissue at the back of the roof of the mouth; separates the mouth from the nasopharynx 
software  programs or instructions that allow computer hardware to function intelligently 
specific gravity  weight or mass of a substance compared with an equal amount of another substance that is used as a standard 
speculum  instrument used to dilate, or enlarge, an opening or passage in the body for examination purposes 
sphygmomanometer  instrument calibrated for measuring blood pressure in millimeters of mercury (mm Hg) 
spinal  pertaining to the vertebral column or spinal cord 
spinal cord  a column of nervous tissue extending from the medulla oblongata of the brain to the second lumbar vertebra in the vertebral column 
spleen  ductless gland below the diaphragm and in the upper-left quadrant of the abdomen; serves to form, store, and filter blood 
splinter forceps  instruments with sharp points used to remove splinters and foreign objects from the skin and/or tissues 
sprain  injury to a joint accompanied by stretching or tearing of the ligaments 
sputum  substance coughed up from the bronchi; contains saliva and mucus 
standard precautions  recommendations that must be followed to prevent transmission of pathogenic organisms by way of blood and body fluids
statement-receipt financial form that shows charges, amounts paid, and balance due
statistical data  record containing basic facts about a patient, such as address, place of employment, insurance, and similar items 
stereotyping  process of assuming that everyone in a particular group is the same 
sterile  free of all organisms, including spores and viruses 
sterile field  an area that is set up for certain procedures and is free from all organisms 
sterilization  process that results in total destruction of all microorganisms; also, surgical procedure that prevents conception of a child 
sternum  breastbone 
stethoscope  instrument used for listening to internal body sounds 
stoma  the opening of an ostomy on the abdominal wall 
stomach  enlarged section of the alimentary canal, between the esophagus and the small intestine; serves as an organ of digestion 
stool  material evacuated from the bowels; feces 
strain  injury caused by excessive stretching, overuse, or misuse of a muscle 
stress  body's reaction to any stimulus that requires a person to adjust to a changing environment 
stroke  see cerebrovascular accident 
subcutaneous  beneath the skin 
subcutaneous fascia (hypodermis)  layer of tissue that is under the skin and connects the skin to muscles and underlying tissues 
subjective observation  an observation about a patient that is felt by the patient but cannot be seen, palpated, or measured; commonly called a symptom 
sublingual  under the tongue 
succedaneous teeth  the 32 teeth that make up the second set of teeth; also called permanent or secondary teeth 
sudoriferous gland  sweat-secreting gland of the skin 
suffix  an affix attached to the end of a word that changes its meaning
suicide  killing oneself 
superior  above, on top of, or higher than 
supination  turning a body part upward; turning "palm up" 
supine position  the patient lies flat on the back, face upward 
suppository  solid medication that has a base of cocoa butter or glycerine and is designed to melt after insertion into a body cavity (for example, the rectum or vagina) 
suppression  defense mechanism used by an individual who is aware of unacceptable feelings or thoughts but refuses to deal with them 
surgery  the branch of medicine dealing with operative procedures to correct deformities, repair injuries, or treat disease 
surgical hose  elastic or support hose used to support leg veins and increase circulation 
surgical scissors  special scissors used to cut tissue 
surgical shave  removal of hair and cleansing of skin prior to an operation 
suture  surgical stitch used to join the edges of an incision or wound; also, an area where bones join or fuse together 
suture-removal set  set of instruments, including suture scissors and thumb forceps, used to remove stitches (sutures) 
sympathetic  that division of the autonomic nervous system that allows the body to respond to emergencies and stress; also, to understand and attempt to solve the problems of another 
symptom  a subjective indication of disease that is felt by the patient 
syncope  fainting; temporary period of unconsciousness 
system  a group of organs and other parts that work together to perform a certain function 
systemic  pertaining to the whole body 
systole  period of work, or contraction, of the heart 
systolic pressure  measurement of blood pressure taken when the heart is contracting and forcing blood into the arteries
   
T   
tachycardia fast, or rapid, heartbeat (usually more than 100 beats per minute in an adult)
tachypnea respiratory rate above 25 respirations per minute
tactful  able to do or say the correct thing; considerate of others' feelings
tarsal  one of seven bones that forms the instep of the foot 
tartar  see calculus 
teamwork  cooperative effort by the members of a group to achieve a common goal 
technician  a level of proficiency usually requiring a 2-year associate's degree or 3 to 4 years of on-the-job training 
technologist  a class of expertise in a health career field, usually requiring at least 3 to 4 years of college plus work experience 
teeth  structures in the mouth that physically break down food by chewing and grinding 
temperature  the measurement of the balance between heat lost and heat produced by the body 
temporal temperature  measurement of body temperature at the temporal artery on the forehead 
temporary  dental material used for restorative purposes for a short period of time until permanent restoration can be done 
tendon  fibrous connective tissue that connects muscles to bones 
tension  uncomfortable inner sensation, discomfort, strain, or stress that affects the mind 
terminal illness  an illness that will result in death 
testes  gonads or endocrine glands that are located in the scrotum of the male and that produce sperm and male hormones 
thalamus  that structure in the diencephalon of the brain that acts as a relay center to direct sensory impulses to the cerebrum 
therapeutic diet  diet used in the treatment of disease 
therapy  remedial treatment of a disease or disorder
thermometer  instrument used to measure temperature 
thermotherapy  use of heat applications for treatment 
thoracic  pertaining to the chest or thorax 
thoracic duct  main lymph duct of the body; drains lymph from the lymphatic vessels into the left subclavian vein 
thrombus  a blood clot 
thymus  organ in the upper part of the chest; lymphatic tissue and endocrine gland that atrophies at puberty 
thyroid  endocrine gland that is located in the neck and regulates body metabolism 
tibia  inner and larger bone of the lower leg, between the knee and ankle 
time management  system of practical skills that allows an individual to use time in the most effective and productive way 
tissue  a group of similar cells that join together to perform a particular function 
tissue forceps  an instrument with one or more fine points (teeth) at the tips of blades; used to grasp tissue 
tongue  muscular organ of the mouth; aids in speech, swallowing, and taste 
tonometer  an instrument used to measure intraocular (within the eye) pressure 
tonsil  mass of lymphatic tissue found in the pharynx (throat) and mouth 
tort  a wrongful or illegal act of civil law not involving a contract 
tourniquet  device used to compress the blood vessels 
towel clamps  instruments with pointed ends that lock together; used to attach surgical drapes to each other and/or clamp dissected tissue 
trachea  windpipe; air tube from the larynx to the bronchi 
tracheostomy  creation of an opening into the trachea to facilitate breathing 
transdermal  through the skin 
transfer (gait) belt  band of fabric or leather that is placed around a patient's waist; grasped by the health care worker during transfer or ambulation to provide additional support for the patient 
transfusion  transfer of blood from one person to another person; injection of blood or plasma 
transverse plane  imaginary line drawn through the body to separate the body into a top half and a bottom half 
Trendelenburg position  the patient lies on the back with the head lower than the feet, or with both the head and feet inclined downward 
triage  a method of prioritizing treatment 
tricuspid valve  flap or cusp between the right atrium and right ventricle in the heart 
tri-flow (air-water) syringe  handpiece in dental units that provides air, water, or a combination of air and water for various dental procedures 
trifurcated  having three roots (as do some teeth) 
tuning fork  an instrument that has two prongs and is used to test hearing activity 
24-hour urine specimen  special urine test in which all urine produced in a 24-period is collected in a special container
tympanic membrane  the eardrum 
typing and crossmatch  a determination of blood types and antigens prior to a blood transfusion 
   
U   
ulcer  an open lesion on the skin or mucous membrane 
ulna  long bone in the forearm, between the wrist and elbow 
ulnar deviation  moving toward the little finger side of the hand 
ultrasonic unit  piece of equipment that cleans with sound waves 
ultrasonography  noninvasive, computerized scanning technique that uses high-frequency sound waves to create pictures of body parts 
ultra-speed handpiece  high-speed handpiece used in dental units to cut and prepare a tooth during a dental procedure 
umbilicus  navel; in slang, "belly button" 
Universal/National Numbering System  abbreviated means of identifying the teeth 
uremia  excessive amounts of urea (a waste product) in the blood 
ureter  tube that carries urine from the kidney to the urinary bladder 
ureterostomy  formation of an opening on the abdominal wall for drainage of urine from a ureter 
urethra  tube that carries urine from the urinary bladder to outside the body 
urinalysis  examination of urine by way of physical, chemical, or microscopic testing 
urinary-drainage unit  special device used to collect urine and consisting of tubing and a collection container usually connected to a urinary catheter 
urinary meatus  external opening of the urethra 
urinary sediments  solid materials suspended in urine 
urinate  to expel urine from the bladder 
urine  the fluid excreted by the kidney 
urinometer  calibrated device used to measure the specific gravity of urine 
urology  the branch of medicine dealing with urine and diseases of the urinary tract 
urticaria  hives 
uterus  muscular, hollow organ that serves as the organ of menstruation and the area for development of the fetus in the female body 
   
V   
vaccine  substance given to an individual to produce immunity to a disease 
varicose pertaining to distended, swollen veins
vas deferens  also called the deferens; the tube that carries sperm and semen from the epididymis to the ejaculatory duct in the male body 
vascular  pertaining to blood vessels 
vasodilation  constriction (decrease in diameter) of the blood vessels 
vector  a carrier of disease; an insect, rodent, or small animal that transmits disease 
vein  blood vessel that carries blood back to the heart 
venipuncture  surgical puncture of a vein; inserting a needle into a vein 
venous  pertaining to the veins 
ventilation  process of breathing 
ventral  pertaining to the front, or anterior, part of the body; in front of 
ventricle  one of two lower chambers of the heart; also, a cavity in the brain 
venule  the smallest type of vein; connects capillaries and veins 
vertebrae  bones of the spinal column 
vertigo  sensation of dizziness 
vesicle  blister; a sac full of water or tissue fluid 
vestibule  small space or cavity at the beginning of a canal 
veterinary  pertaining to the medical treatment of animals 
villi  tiny projections from a surface; in the small intestine, projections that aid in the absorption of nutrients 
virus  one of a large group of very small microorganisms, many of which cause disease 
visceral  pertaining to organs 
visual acuity  ability to perceive and comprehend light rays; seeing 
vital signs  determinations that provide information about body conditions; include temperature, pulse, respirations, and blood pressure 
vitamins  organic substances necessary for body processes and life 
vitreous humor  jelly-like mass that fills the cavity of the eyeball, behind the lens 
void  to empty the bladder; urinate 
volume  the degree of strength of a pulse (for example, strong or weak) 
voluntary  under one's control; done by one's choice or desire 
vomit  to expel material from the stomach and/or intestine through the mouth and/or nose 
   
W   
walker a device that has a metal framework and aids in walking 
warm-water bag  rubber or plastic device designed to hold warm water for dry-heat application 
wellness  state of being in good health; well 
wheezing  difficult breathing with a high-pitched whistling or sighing sound during expiration 
white blood cell  see leukocyte 
withdrawal  defense mechanism in which an individual either ceases to communicate or physically removes self from a situation 
Workers' Compensation  payment and care provided to an individual who is injured on the job 
wound  an injury to tissues 
   
X   
xiphoid process the small, bony projection at the lower end of the sternum (breastbone) 
   
Y  
yellow marrow  soft tissue in the diaphyses of long bones 
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