Common medical terms for first aiders and first responders

First aiders and first responders need to have a basic understanding of medical terminology. Here’s our list of common medical terms and what they mean. Please leave a comment on this post if you would like to add a term to this list! 

Apnoea – Suspension of breathing

Allergenic – Can provoke an allergic reaction

Bradycardia – A slow heart rate, usually defined as <60 beats per minute

Cardio – Medical term to reference the heart

Dyspnea – Shortness of breath

Epistaxis – Nose bleed

Haemoptysis – Coughing up blood

Hematemesis – Vomiting blood        

Hematuria – Blood in the urine

Hypertensive – High blood pressure

Hypotensive – Low blood pressure

Ischemia – Inadequate blood supply (circulation) to a local area due to blockage of the blood vessel to the area

Jaundice – Yellow discolouration of the skin, disease causing the discolouration

Lucid interval – A temporary improvement in a patient ‘s condition after a traumatic brain injury, after which the condition deteriorates

Melena – Blood in the stool

Peritonitis – Inflammation of the lining of the abdominal cavity

Phlebitis – Inflammation of the vein, which can lead to the formation of a blood clot

Pleurisy – Inflammation of the pleural membrane

Pyrexia – Higher than normal body temperature

Postictal – Period of confusion and disorientation following an epileptic seizure

Renal – Relating to the kidney

Signs – Things that can be observed        

Spondylitis – Inflammation of the spine

Spondylosis – A degenerative condition related to spinal vertebra      

Syncope – Fainting, a sudden, usually temporary, loss of consciousness generally caused by insufficient oxygen in the brain

Symptoms – Sensations that can be felt by the casualty

Tachycardia – Rapid heart rate defined as >100 beats per minute

Thrombosis – The forming of a blood clot inside a blood vessel        

Toxemia – Poisoning of the blood by the absorption of toxins

Tuberculosis – Infectious disease produced by the tubercle bacillus


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