Medical Terminology

Study medical language by distance education, to understand how medical words are constructed, and the meaning of medical tems; as a foundation to work as a medical receptionist or health support job.

Course CodeBSC109
Fee CodeS2
Duration (approx)100 hours
QualificationStatement of Attainment

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Learn what Medical Terms Mean. Communicate more effectively with doctors and other professionals in health industries.

  • Learn to decipher a medical term; breaking down it's components, to understand it's meaning.
  • Improve your opportunity to work in a medical support position (e.g. front desk for a health practitioner).
  • Expand your knowledge of human biology and health science.

A special course designed for people working or wishing to work in medical environments, with no medical training, to develop skills to communicate clearly and effectively using medical terminology.

This course is relevant to anyone working or wishing to work in fields of health, alternative medicine or paramedical areas; such as reception for a doctor or natural therapist.

Lesson Structure

There are 10 lessons in this course:

  1. Scope and Nature of Medical Terminology
  2. Anatomical Structure
  3. Medical Equipment and Processes
  4. Pharmacological Terminology
  5. Musculoskeletal System
  6. Cardiovascular, Lymphatic and Immune Systems
  7. Respiratory and Reproductive Systems
  8. Digestive and Excretory Systems
  9. Integumentary System (Skin)
  10. Nervous and Sensory Systems

Each lesson culminates in an assignment which is submitted to the school, marked by the school's tutors and returned to you with any relevant suggestions, comments, and if necessary, extra reading.


  • Communicate clearly and effectively using medical terminology.
  • Explain the scope and nature of terminology used in medicine and allied professions.
  • Identify the meaning of words that describe general anatomical features, including dsorders.
  • To identify the meaning of words which describe medical tools, equipment and procedures.
  • To identify the meaning of words that describe pharmacological terms.
  • To identify the meaning of words that describe physiological and anatomical features in the musculoskeletal system, including disorders.
  • To identify the meaning of words that describe physiological and anatomical features in the respiratory and reproductive systems, including disorders.
  • To identify the meaning of words that describe physiological and anatomical features in the digestive and excretory systems, including disorders.
  • To identify the meaning of words that describe physiological and anatomical features in the nervous and sensory systems, including disorders

What Does it Mean?

Medicine has a language all of its own.

If you want to work with Doctors, Nurses or other Health Practitioners effectively, you need to be able to communicate with them. This course helps you to do just that.

MEDICAL ABBREVIATIONS AND ACRONYMS (extract from part of this course)


AA Alcoholics Anonymous
AAA Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm
ABG Arterial Blood Gases
ABMT Autologous bone marrow transplantation
ABVD Doxorubicin bleomycin vinblastine dacarbazine
a.c. Before food from the Latin, ante cibum
ACE Angiotensin converting enzyme
ACEI Angiotensin converting enzyme inhibitors
ACL Anterior cruciate ligament
ACS American College of Surgeons
ACTH Andrenocorticoid hormone
ADA Andenosine deaminase
ADD Attention Deficit Disorder
ADH Antidiuretic hormone
ADHD Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder
AF Atrial fibrillation
AFO Ankle-foot orthosis
AFP Alpha-fetoprotein
AHF Antihemophilic factor
AHG Antihemophilic globulin
AI Artificial insemination
AICD Automatic implanted cardiac defibrillator
AID Artificial insemination by donor
AIDS Acquired immune deficiency syndrome
AIH Artificial insemination by husband
ALG Antilymphocytic globulin
ALL Acute Lymphocytic leukaemia
ALPS Autoimmune lymphoproliferative syndrome
ALS Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis
ALS Advanced Life Support
ALT Alanine Transfer
AMA Anti-mitochondrial antibodies
AMA Australian Medical Association
AMA American Medical Association
AMC Arthrogryposis multiplex congenita
AML Acute myelocytic leukaemia
AMP Adenosine monophosphate
AMS Atypical measles syndrome
ANA Anti-nuclear bodies
ANCA Anti-neutrophil cytoplasmic antibodies
ANF Atrial natriuretic factor
ANF Anti-natriuretic factor
ANP Anti-natriuretic peptide
ANP Atrial natriuretic peptide
ANUG Acute necrotizing ulcerative gingivitis
AP Alkaline Phosphatase
APECED Autoimmune polyendocrinopathy
APLS Antiphospholipid antibody syndrome
APSAC Anisoylated plasminogen streptokinase activator complex
APS Autoimmune polyglandular syndrome
APTT Activated Partial Thromboplastin Time
ARC Aids related complex
ARDS Adult Respiratory Distress Syndrome
ART Antiretroviral therapy
ARM Artificial rupture of membranes
ASA Acetylsalicylic acid – commonly known as aspirin
AS Aortic stenosis
ASCD Arteriosclerosis coronary artery disease
ASD Atrial septal defect
ASO Antistreptolysine O
AST Asparagine Transferase
ATG Antithymic globulin
AT-III Antithrombin III
ATP Acute thrombocytopenic purpura
ATP Adenosine triphosphate
AVM Arteriovenous malformation
AVR Aortic valve replacement
AZT Azidothymidine

BAL Brochoalveolar lavage
BAL British anti-lewisite
BAO Basic acid output
BCG Bacillus Calmette Guerain ( a tuberculosis vaccine)
b.d. Twice daily from the Latin, bis die
BE Base excess
BK Bacterium Koch
BMC Bone mass content
BMD Bone mass density
BMI Body mass index
BMR Basal metabolic rate
BMT Bone marrow transplantation
BNF British National Formulary
BNP Brain natriuretic peptide
BP Blood Pressure
BP Bipolar disorder
BPD Borderline personality disorder
BPH Benign prostatic hyperplasia
BPM Beats per minute
BSE Bovine spongiform encephalopathy
BSP Bromsulphthalein
BUN Blood urea nitrogen

CABG Coronary arterial bypass graft
cAMP Cyclic adenosine monophosphate
Ca Carcinoma
CAH Chronic active hepatitis
CAH Congenital Adrenal Hyperplasia
CAT Computed axial tomography
CAPD Continuous Ambulatory Peritoneal Dialysis
CDC Centres for Disease Control and Prevention
CEA Carcinoembryonic antigen
CF Cystic fibrosis
cGMP Cyclic guanosine monophosphate
ChE Cholinesterase
CHE Cholinesterase
CHF Congestive heart failure
CI Confidence interval
CJD Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease
CK Creatine kinase
CLL Chronic lymphocytic leukaemia
CML Chronic myelomonocytic leukaemia
CMML Chronic myelomonocytic leukaemia
CMV Cytomegalovirus
COLD Chronic obstructive lung disease
COPD Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease
CO Cardiac output
CO Carbon monoxide
COX-1 Cyclooxygenase 1
COX-2 Cyclooxygenase 2
CPAP Continuous positive airway pressure
CPK Creatine Phosphokinase
CPR Cardiopulmonary resuscitation
CREST Calcinosis Raynaud Oesophagus Sclerosis Teleangiectasiae
CRF Chronic renal failure
CRH Corticotropin Releasing Hormone
CRI Chronic renal insufficiency
CRF Corticotropin releasing factor
CRP C-reactive protein
CR Complete remission
CS Caesarean section
CsA Cyclosporin A
CSF Cerebrospinal fluid
CT Computed axial tomography
CVA Central venous pressure
CVID Common Variable Immunodeficiency

DPB Diastolic blood pressure
DCM Dilated cardiomyopathy
DDD Daily defined doses
DHEA-S Dehydroepiandrosterone sulphate
DHE Dihydoergotamine
DIC Disseminated intravacular coagulation
DPT Diphtheria Pertussis Tetanus
DiPerTe Diphtheria Pertussis Tetanus
DiTe Diphtheria Tetanus
DM Diabetes Mellitus
DNA Desoxyribonucleic acid
DNR Do Not Resuscitate
DO Doctor of Optometry or Doctor of Osteopathy
DOA Dead on Arrival
DTP Diphtheria Tetanus Pertussis
DT Diphtheria Tetanus
DVT Deep Vein Thrombosis
DEXA Dual Energy Xray Absorptiometry


EACA Epsilon- aminocaproic acid
EBM Evidence based medicine
ECG Electrocardiogram
EDRF Endothelium- derived relaxing factor
EEG Electroencephalogram
EKG Electrocardiogram
ECPW Endoskopowa cholangiopankreatografia wsteczna
E Erythrocytes
EF Ejection Fraction
EGP Epidermal Growth Factor
EKG Electrocardiogram
EMLSCS Emergency lower segment Caesarean Section
ELLSCS Elective lower segment Caesarean Section
ELISA Enzyme – linked Immunosorbent Assay
EMC Encephalomyocarditis
EMF Endomyocardial fibrosis
EMG Electromyography
ENT Ear Neck and Throat (Otolaryngology)
EPH Edema Proteinuria Hypertension
EPO Erythropoietin
ERCP Endoscopic Retrograde Cholangiopancreatography
ESR Erythocyte sedimentation rate
ESWL Extracorporal Shockwave Lithotripsy
ET Endothelin
ETOH Ethanol or ethyl alcohol
EUS Endoscopic Ultrasonography


FDA Food and Drug Administration
FDP Fibrinogen Degradation Products
FEV1 Forced Expiratory Volume 1 – second
Fe Iron
FFA Free Fatty acids
FFP Fresh Frozen Plasma
FHR Foetal heart rate
FSE Foetal Scalp Electrode
FSH Follicle stimulating hormone
FTA-ABS Fluorescent Treponemal Antibody
FTA Fluorescent Treponemal Antibody

G6PD Glucose-6-phosphate-dehydrogenase
GABA Gamma-aminobutyric acid
GCS Glasgow Coma Scale
GDLH Glutamate dehydrogenase
GERD Gastro-oesophagus reflux disease
GFR Glomerular filtrate rate
GGTP Gamma glutamyltranspeptisade
GH Growth Hormone
GHRF Growth Hormone releasing factor
GITS Gastrointestinal therapeutic system
GIFT Gamete intrafallopian transfer
GORD Gastro-oesophageal reflux disease
GOT Glutamic-oxalacetic transaminase
GP General Practitioner
GPT Glutamic-pyruvic transaminase
GvH Graft-versus-host
GvHD Graft-versus-host disease

HA Hypertonia arterialis
HAV Hepatitis A Virus
HBG Haemoglobin
HB Haemoglobin
HBV Hepatitis B Virus
HCG Human Chorionic gonadotropin
HCM Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy
HCT Hematocrit
HCT Hydroclorothiazide
HCV Hepatitis C Virus
HDL High density lipoprotein
HDL-C High density lipoprotein Cholesterol
HDV Hepatitis D virus
HEV Hepatitis E Virus
HGB Haemoglobin
Hib Haemophilus influenzae B
HIV Human Immunodeficiency virus
HL Hepatic lipase
HLA Human leukocyte antigens
HOCM Hypertrophic obstructive cardiomyopathy
HR Heart rate
HRT Hormone replacement therapy
HSG Hysterosalpingogram
HSV Herpes simplex virus
HTLV Human T-Lymphotropic virus
HUS Haemolytic uremic syndrome


IABP Intra-aortic balloon pumping
ACD-10 International Classification of Diseases 10th revision
ICD Implantable cardioverter-defibrillator
ICU Intensive Care unit
IDC Idiopathic dilated cardiomyopathy
IDDM Insulin dependant diabetes mellitus
IDL Intermediate density lipoprotein
IFG Impaired fasting Glucose
Ig Immunoglobulin
INF Interferon
INR International normalised ratio
IPPV Intermittent positive pressure ventilation
IQ Intelligence Quotient
ISA Intrinsic Sympathomimetic Activity
ISDN Isosorbide dinitrate
ISH Isolated systolic hypertension
ITP Idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura
IUCD Intrauterine contraceptive device
IUD Intrauterine device
IUD Intrauterine death
IU International Units
IVF In vitro fertilisation
IUI Intra-uterine insemination
IVP Intravenous pyelogram

K Potassium

LAD Left artery descendens
LAS Lymphadenopathy

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ACS is a Member of the Complementary Medicine Association

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ACS Global Partner - Affiliated with colleges in seven countries around the world.

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Miriam ter Borg

Youth Worker, Tutor, Author and Natural Therapist. Miriam was previously an Outdoor Pursuits Instructor, Youth Worker, Surfing College Program Coordinator, Massage Therapist, Business Owner/Manager. Miriam's qualifications include B.Sc.(Psych), DipRem.M
Lyn Quirk

M.Prof.Ed.; Adv.Dip.Compl.Med (Naturopathy); Adv.Dip.Sports Therapy Over 30 years as Health Club Manager, Fitness Professional, Teacher, Coach and Business manager in health, fitness and leisure industries. As business owner and former department head fo
Barbara Seguel

Teacher and Researcher, Marine Scientist, Tourism and Outdoor recreation guide, Health and Safety Coordinator & Production Manager for Fisheries, National Park Staff/Farmer, Laboratory technical aide, Zoo, Wildlife and Marine Park assistant. Barbara has w
Tracey Jones

B.Sc. (Psych), M.Soc.Sc., Dip.Social Work, P.G.Dip Learning Disability, Cert Editing, Cert Creative Writing, PGCE. Member British Psychological Society, Member Assoc. for Coaching, Member British Learning Assoc. 25 years industry experience in writing,
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