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What are some common medical terms and their meanings?

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Health professionals use a wide range of medical terms and abbreviations, such as "CBC," "BMP," "negative," "prediabetes" and "NSAIDs," according to U.S. News & World Report. These terms and abbreviations can be confusing for those not in the profession.

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Full Answer

A "CBC" is a complete blood count, which involves four different measurements, explains U.S. News & World Report. The two most important measures are the white blood cell count, or WBC, and the hemoglobin level. The white blood cell count is higher with bacterial infections and lower with viral infections. The hemoglobin level is low in instances of cancer, blood loss or kidney problems.

A "BMP," or basic metabolic panel, is a blood test that measures glucose, sodium, potassium, calcium and kidney function, notes U.S. News & World Report. It checks for dehydration and monitors those with heart failure or kidney disease.

"Negative" means normal test results, reports U.S. News & World Report. Conversely, "positive" indicates abnormal results and a need for more evaluation.

"Prediabetes" means a person’s fasting blood sugar level is between 100 and 126, explains U.S. News & World Report. The person is at risk for developing diabetes. A level consistently above 126 indicates diabetes. A level of less than 100 is normal.

"NSAIDs" are nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs used to treat pain and inflammation, according to WebMD. NSAIDs are available over the counter or with a prescription.

Doctors use various terms to denote bodily systems and their constituent parts, notes For Dummies. "Cardiovascular" means the heart, blood vessels and blood. "Lymphatic" indicates lymph nodes, lymph fluid, lymphatic vessels, tonsils and spleen. "Gastrointestinal" denotes the mouth, esophagus, stomach, small and large intestines, and liver.

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