Advanced Search Home

Glossary & Acronyms

Throughout this Web site, there may be terms and words that are unfamiliar to you. We've tried to collect them in this section to give users a quick reference tool.

If you discover something on the site that you would like to see added to this section, please Contact DHCC so we can consider your recommendation. We want to make this site as user-friendly as possible!

Searching Tip: To search for text on this page, hold the Control (Ctrl) key while pressing the "F" key (Command-F for Macintosh) and enter your search term.

Additional military terms and acronyms can be found on the DOD Dictionary of Military and Associated Terms on Defense Technical Information Center (DTIC) Web Site, which includes the Joint Acronyms and Abbreviations master data base.

 
  A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | X | Y | Z

 
-A-
acaricide(s) An agent that destroys mites.
 
acute Having a short and relatively severe course.
 
amastigotes The adult form of Leishmania. Amastigotes are single cell organisms which live within certain cells of the skin, mucous membranes and internal organs.
 
anaphylaxis An immediate allergic reaction characterized by contraction of smooth muscle and dilation of capillaries. Anaphylaxis can be triggered by a number of substances, including medications and food.
 
anemia Too few red blood cells in the blood stream, resulting in insufficient oxygen to tissues and organs.
 
anorexia The uncontrolled lack or loss of appetite for food.
 
antigen A substance that induces the formation of antibodies because it is recognized by the immune system as a threat. It may be a foreign (nonnative) substance from the environment (such as chemicals) or formed within the body (such as bacterial or viral toxins ).
 
arthralgia(s) Pain in a joint.
 
ascites An accumulation of serous fluid in the abdominal cavity.
 
aspirate(s) The material that is withdrawn with a negative pressure apparatus (syringe).
 
asymptomatic Showing or causing no symptoms.
 
Back to topBack to Top

 
-B-
bilateral Having two sides or pertaining to both sides.
 
biliary obstruction Biliary obstruction occurs with physical blockage of the bile duct. Stones or tumors can cause blackage preventing drainage of bile from the liver into the small intestine. It is associated with abdominal pain and jaundice.
 
brain stem The lowest part of the brain, which merges with the spinal cord.
 
Budd-Chiari syndrome Budd-Chiari syndrome occurs with obstruction of blood flow from the liver to the heart. Fluid in the abdominal cavity as well as enlargement of the spleen and liver can occur.
 
Back to topBack to Top

 
-C-
carbonaceous Rich in carbon; relating to, containing, or composed of carbon.
 
carcinogenic Any cancer producing agent.
 
case-control study A case-control study is a method of studying the relative risks of having or developing a disease or condition. In this study methodology, the exposure experience of cases (persons with the condition) is compared to that for controls (persons without the condition). Case-control studies are efficient designs for estimating the relative risks of developing disease (including controlling for other factors, such as age or sex), but they generally are not used for measuring the prevalence or incidence of conditions.
 
CCEP Comprehensive Clinical Evaluation Program. An in-depth, medical evaluation for DoD beneficiaries (Persian Gulf War veterans now on active duty or retired; members of the full-time National Guard who are Persian Gulf veterans; Persian Gulf veterans who are members of the Ready Reserve/Individual Ready Reserve/Standby Reserve/Reserve who are placed on orders by their units; and eligible family members of such personnel) who are experiencing illnesses that may be related to their service in the Persian Gulf.
 
CDC Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The lead federal agency for protecting the health and safety of people--at home and abroad, providing credible information to enhance health decisions, and promoting health through strong partnerships. CDC serves as the national focus for developing and applying disease prevention and control, environmental health, and health promotion and education activities designed to improve the health of the people of the United States. CDC, located in Atlanta, Georgia, USA, is an agency of the Department of Health and Human Services.
 
cercaria(e) The parasitic larva of a trematode worm (parasitic flatworm), having a tail that disappears in the adult stage.
 
chemoprophylaxis Drug treatment designed to prevent future occurrences of disease.
 
cholangitis Inflammation of a bile duct.
 
chronic Persistent over a long period of time.
 
circulatory collapse When blood vessels increase their capacity to hold blood with a relative increase in the amount of blood to maintain blood pressure, circulatory collapse occurs. The result is shock and potentially death.
 
CNS Central Nervous System: The brain and the nerves within the spinal cord, but not the nerves in the body.
 
conjunctiva The delicate membrane that lines the eyelids and covers the external surface of the sclera.
 
conjunctival suffusion Swelling of the conjunctival tissue that surrounds the eye and eyelid.
 
conjunctivitis Inflammation of the conjunctiva.
 
controls In epidemiologic research, the term control is used two different ways. In a cohort or longitudinal study a control is a subject that does not have the exposure of interest, while in a case-control study it is a subject that does not have the exposure of interest.
 
cranial nerve palsies Refers to dysfunction of one or more cranial nerves which control eye, tongue, or facial movements.
 
CSF (cerebrospinal fluid) A clear, colorless fluid that contains small quantities of glucose and protein. Cerebrospinal fluid acts as a water cushion protecting the brain and spinal cord from shock.
 
cubic meter (m3) A measurement of volume equal to 35 cubic feet.
 
cutaneous Of or pertaining to the skin.
 
cysticerosis Infestation with tapeworms.
 
Back to topBack to Top

 
-D-
DEET The active ingredient used in many insect repellents which repels various insects such as mosquitoes and/or flies.
 
delirium An acute, reversible organic mental disorder characterized by reduced ability to maintain attention to external stimuli and disorganized thinking as manifested by rambling, irrelevant or incoherent speech.
 
disseminate intravascular coagulation Undercontrolled clotting in blood vessels that leads to the consumption of clotting factors. Upon depletion of clotting factors, uncontrolled bleeding can occur.
 
dose-response relationship A dose-response relationship is said to exist when an increase in exposure is associated with an increase of outcome. For example, if an increase in oil fire smoke exposure is associated with an increased risk of asthma, a dose-response exists. Studies in which a dose-response is observed generally have more credibility than studies where no such association is observed.
 
dysenteric (dysentery, bacillary) An infectious disease caused by bacteria. This condition is characterized by intestinal pain and diarrhea.
 
dysphagia Difficulty in swallowing.
 
dysuria Painful or difficult urination.
 
Back to topBack to Top

 
-E-
ecchymoses A small hemorrhagic spot , larger than a petechiae, in the skin or mucous membrane.
 
elemental carbon Carbon that exists naturally in the earth in its simplest form; i.e. not as a compound. Examples of elemental carbon include diamonds and graphite.
 
ELISA Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay. An analytical method which utilizes antibody-antigen reactions to detect molecules or antibodies.
 
emaciation Excessive leanness; a wasting away of the body.
 
encephalitis Inflammation of the brain.
 
endemic Prevalent in or restricted to a particular region, community, or group of people. Used of a disease.
 
eosinophilia An eosinophilic leukocyte is a type of white blood cell. Eosiophilia describes a condition where there are an abnormally large number of eosinophilic leukocytes circulating in the blood. Eosinophilia is observed in acute infections.
 
epidemiology (epidemiologic) Epidemiology is the scientific study of the distribution and determinants of health and disease in human populations. Often thought of as the study of epidemics, it is a much broader discipline that integrates aspects of clinical medicine, laboratory science, environmental health, social sciences, statistics, and more.
 
epistaxis Nosebleed.
 
etiologic agent(s) Any power, principle or substance capable of producing an effect on the cause of a disease.
 
Back to topBack to Top

 
-F-
facial palsy Nerve dysfunction in the face, which leads to facial muscle paralysis and to pain. One-sided paralysis of the face that occurs quickly is called Bell's palsy, and it is associated with ear pain.
 
Feverish; having a fever.
 
fluke Any trematode worm (parasitic flatworm).
 
A physical object that serves to transmit an infectious agent from person to person.
 
Back to topBack to Top

 
-G-
genus In biology, a division used to classify organisms, falling between the species classification and the family classification.
 
Goldenhar syndrome A rare disorder that is apparent at birth (congenital). Babies with Goldenhar frequently have combinations of facial, ear, oral, and vertebral malformations to varying degrees. The cause of Goldenhar is not known.
 
Back to topBack to Top

 
-H-
haemolytic anemia A form of anemia in which there is a premature destruction of the red blood cells.
 
hematemesis Vomiting of blood.
 
hematuria Blood in the urine.
 
hemiplegia Paralysis (inability to move) on only one side of the body.
 
hemolytic-uremic syndrome (HUS) Kidney failure caused by platelet and fibrin clots that occur in the small kidney vessels. Destruction of red blood cells, or hemolysis also occurs. Infection, cancer or certain drugs can cause HUS.
 
hemoptysis The expectoration of blood or blood-stained sputum.
 
hemorrhage The escape of blood from the vessels; bleeding.
 
hepatitis Inflammation of the liver.
 
hepato-renal failure The kidney malfunction that occurs in the presence of liver disease, despite the absence of any disease in the kidney itself.
 
hepatosplenomegaly Enlargement of both the liver and spleen.
 
histocompatability antigens These are signaling molecules that lie on the surface of immune cells. Their function is to present foreign antigen components to the immune system. They serve to stimulate a specific immune response to targeted foreign proteins or antigens. Virus antigens are presented by class I HLA antigens which are distributed on most cell types in any organ. They present antigens to cytotoxic T cells that go on and destroy virus-infected cells. Extracellular antigens are presented by class II HLA molecules to helper T cells that aid in amplifying the immune response. Type II HLA molecules are usually restricted to B cells, T cells and monocytes. However, they can be induced on other cell types such as skin, thyroid, endothelial and kidney cells.
 
hydatid A cyst formed in tissues, especially the liver, resulting from the development of the larval stage of the dog tapeworm, echinococcus granulosus. Hydatids may grow for years, sometimes attaining an enormous size.
 
hyperthermic brain damage Swelling of the brain may occur causing deleterious changes in consciousness and brain function when the core body temperature rises. This may occur in heat stroke or other syndromes when the body's metabolic state is increased without adequate cooling. Hyperthermic brain damage may or may not be reversible.
 
hypotension Abnormally low blood pressure; seen in shock but not necessarily indicative of it.
 
Back to topBack to Top

 
-I-
immune globulin An FDA approved preventative treatment for hepatitis A. It is usually given in the buttock muscle.
 
inoculation Introduction of material (usually a vaccine) into the tissues. Mode of entry of bacteria into the body.
 
intestinal perforation A hole in the intestines, caused by a sharp object or an infection, for example.
 
iridocyclitis Inflammation of the iris and ciliary body of the eye.
 
iritis Swelling, redness, and/or pain of the iris (the colored portion of the eye).
 
isotope(s) Forms or species of an element that have the same number of protons (hence the same atomic number) but a different number of neutrons (thus different atomic masses-- i.e. the number of protons and neutrons). If all the forms of an element have the same number of neutrons, then it has no isotopes. For example, oxygen (atomic number 8) may have an atomic mass number of 16, 17, or 18, depending on whether it has 8, 9, or 10 neutrons. It therefore has three isotopes.
 
Back to topBack to Top

 
-J-
jaundice A condition featuring yellowing of the skin and whites of the eyes, with darkened urine, caused by excess bilirubin in the blood.
 
Back to topBack to Top

 
-K-
   
 
Back to topBack to Top

 
-L-
lesion Any pathological or traumatic discontinuity of tissue or loss of function of a part.
 
lethargy A state of sluggishness, inactivity, and apathy; a state of unconsciousness resembling deep sleep.
 
lymphadenopathy Swelling of the lymph nodes.
 
Back to topBack to Top

 
-M-
macular rash A rash characterized by the presence of macules (discolored spot on the skin that is not elevated above the surface).Swelling, redness, and/or pain of the iris (the colored portion of the eye).
 
maculopapular rash An eruption consisting of both macules and papules.
 
malaise A vague feeling of bodily discomfort.
 
meningitis Inflammation of the meninges or the membranes covering the brain and spinal cord.
 
metacercariae The encysted resting or maturing stage of the trematode (parasitic flatworm) in the tissues of an intermediate host (mollusks, aquatic arthropods, fishes, or amphibia) or on vegetation. The metacercaria may be the infective or transfer stage to man and other animals.
 
meter A linear measurement equaling 39.37 inches.
 
micrograms (g) A measurement of weight; one millionth of a gram or one thousandth of a milligram.
 
micrometer (m) Same as one micron; one millionth of a meter or one thousandth of one millimeter.
 
micron A measurement of length; one millionth of a meter or one thousandth of one millimeter.
 
milligrams (mg) One thousandth of one gram.
 
miracidium (miracidia) The first stage larva of a trematode (parasitic flatworm) which undergoes further development in the body of a snail.
 
model Model is a generic term used when mathematics and statistics are used to simulate physical events. Epidemiologists and biostatisticians develop statistical models to predict or measure disease, and meteorologists develop models to predict the distribution, concentration, and dynamics over time and space of oil fire smoke plumes.
 
mucous membrane(s) The lubricated inner lining of the mouth, nasal passages, vagina and urethra. Any membrane or lining which contains mucous secreting glands.
 
murine Of, relating to, or transmitted by a member of the rodent family Muridae, including rats and mice.
 
myalgia Muscle pain; pain in muscle.
 
Back to topBack to Top

 
-N-
nasopharyngeal Affecting the nose and pharynx.
 
non-carcinogenic Any agent that does not produce cancer.
 
nuchal rigidity Neck stiffness that can be associated with inflammation of tissues surrounding the spinal cord in the neck.
 
Back to topBack to Top

 
-O-
ocular Of or pertaining to the eye.
 
odds ratio The ratio of two risks of something. For example, if the ordinary risk of getting a disease is 2 in a 1000 but for smokers it's 5 per 1000, then a smoker's odds ratio is 2.5. They are two and half times more likely to get the disease than a non-smoker.
 
oliguric renal failure Kidney malfunction caused by either the inability of the kidney to secrete urine because of a kidney disease or because not enough blood flow arrives to the kidney.
 
orchiepididymitis Inflammation of a testicle and epididymis.
 
organic compound(s) Any of a large class of chemical compounds in which one or more atoms of carbon are bonded to atoms of other elements, most commonly hydrogen, oxygen, or nitrogen.
 
ova The plural of ovum, which is the female reproductive cell which, after fertilization, develops into a new member of the same species. An egg.
 
oxidant pollutants Air pollutants (such as ozone) that carry reactive oxygen molecules which may combine with tissues and cause harm.
 
Back to topBack to Top

 
-P-
pancreatitis Acute or chronic inflammation of the pancreas.
 
parenteral inoculation Vaccination against a disease through injection.
 
paresthesia Abnormal sensations which include: numbness, tingling, burning, prickling and increased sensitivity.
 
paroxysm(s) A sudden attack or recurrence of symptoms.
 
pasteurizing (pasteurization) A method of preserving food by heating it to a certain point which will kill off disease-causing organisms but will not harm the flavor or quality of the food. This technique is mostly used with beer, milk, fruit juices.
 
percutaneous Effected through the skin. Examples: medications absorbed through the skin, injections through the skin.
 
perinatal Pertaining to or occurring in the period shortly before and after birth, variously defined as beginning with completion of the twentieth to twenty eighth week of gestation and ending 7 to 28 days after birth.
 
petechiae Small, red spots on the skin that usually indicate a low platelet count.
 
petechial Related to a tiny red spot caused by blood seeping through the skin.
 
pharyngitis Inflammation of the pharynx (a passageway for air from the nasal cavity to the voice box and food from the mouth the esophagus).
 
photophobia An abnormal visual intolerance of light.
 
placenta(s) An organ characteristic of true mammals during pregnancy, joining mother and offspring.
 
portal hypertension Hypertension is persistent high blood pressure. Portal hypertension is the build-up of pressure in the portal vein (the vein connecting the intestines and the liver). Normally, the pressure is low compared with the arterial pressure, but slightly above the pressure in the other veins in our body system. The most common cause of portal hypertension and its clinical consequences is liver disease.
 
primary diagnosis The most important medically determined condition a patient has.
 
prodromal Of or pertaining to prodromes.
 
prodrome A symptom indicative of an approaching disease.
 
proglottid(s) A segment of the tapeworm holding male and female reproductive organs.
 
prophylaxis The prevention of disease.
 
prostration Total exhaustion or weakness; collapse.
 
pulmonary Pertaining to the lungs.
 
pulmonary edema Swelling of lung tissue caused by fluid crossing from blood vessels into the lung itself. Heart failure, infection, or cancer can cause it.
 
pulmonary rales The lung sound heard by stethoscope that may indicate infection or edema.
 
Back to topBack to Top

 
-Q-
   
 
Back to topBack to Top

 
-R-
Reiter's syndrome Inflammation of the joints, the urethra, and the conjunctive of the eye, but there can be an incomplete presentation as well.
 
reservoir An alternate or passive host or carrier that harbors disease-causing organisms, without injury to itself, and serves as a source from which other individuals can be infected.
 
retroorbital Related to or situated behind the eye.
 
RFLP Restriction Fragment Length Polymorphism. An analytical method which determines the difference between genetic sequences through their ability to be cleaved by restriction enzymes and their migration on a gel.
 
rickettsia (rickettsial) A member of a group of microorganisms that (like viruses) require other living cells for growth but (like bacteria) use oxygen, have metabolic enzymes and cell walls, and are susceptible to antibiotics. Rickettsiae cause a series of diseases...
 
ronchi The lung sound heard by stethoscope that suggests upper airway congestion.
 
Back to topBack to Top

 
-S-
serotype(s) Serotyping is a way of identifying closely related bacteria or viruses causing infection. A serotype (also known as a serovar) is a classification based on serologic typing or testing for recognizable antigens on the surface of the microorganism.
 
serum 1. The clear portion of any body fluid. 2. Blood serum, the clear liquid that separates from blood on clotting.
 
shock Failure of the circulatory system to maintain adequate perfusion of vital organs.
 
spatial (spatially) The positional relationship of things in three dimensional space; e.g., behind, next to, in front of.
 
splenic rupture Forcible tearing of the spleen.
 
spontaneous abortion When an embryo or fetus is naturally expelled prior to being viable. Spontaneous abortion occurs fairly frequently, perhaps among 15% of all human pregnancies. Spontaneous abortion often occurs when the embryo or fetus has a serious defect.
 
sycope A faint or swoon.
 
sylvatic Affecting wild animals found or living in a forest or the woods.
 
Back to topBack to Top

 
-T-
tachycardia Excessive rapidity in the action of the heart; a heart rate above 100.
 
tachypnea Any abnormally rapid (usually shallow) respiratory rate. The normal resting adult rate is 12-20 breaths/minute.
 
temporal (temporally) The relationship in time between things; e.g., before, after, simultaneous.
 
tenesmus Straining, especially ineffectual and painful straining at stool or in urination.
 
thrombocytopenia A decrease in the number of platelets in the blood, resulting in the potential for increased bleeding.
 
toxemia The condition resulting from the spread of bacterial products by the bloodstream.
 
transaminases A subclass of enzymes that catalyzes the transfer of an amino group from a donor to a receptor.
 
trichiasis A condition in which the hairs around a natural orifice, or the eyelashes, turn in and cause irritation.
 
TSP Total Suspended Particles. A measure of the total number of solid or liquid particles found in air; i.e., a measure of air pollution caused by dust, soot, etc., rather than gasses.
 
Back to topBack to Top

 
-U-
undulant Rising and falling like waves. Examples: fevers which rise and fall, blood pressure and respiration rates which rise and fall.
 
unilateral Affecting only one side.
 
Back to topBack to Top

 
-V-
vector An animal, usually an insect or tick, which transmits the causative organisms of disease from infected to noninfected individuals.
 
viremic The presence of viral particles in the blood.
 
visceral Affecting the vital organs (heart, lungs, liver, etc.).
 
Back to topBack to Top

 
-W-
   
 
Back to topBack to Top

 
-X-
   
 
Back to topBack to Top

 
-Y-
   
 
Back to topBack to Top

 
-Z-
zoonosis () The transmission of a disease from an animal or nonhuman species to humans under natural conditions.
 
Back to topBack to Top

 
 
 
 
 
 Browser Information Security & Privacy Notice 


www.PDHealth.mil is the Official Web site of the DoD Deployment Health Clinical Center
Located at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, Bethesda, MD (MRMC)