Can you guess what this term means? I’ll give you a second…
If you guessed fear of your picture being taken, you’re wrong. Photophobia is an intolerance to light. You’ve probably experienced this if you’ve had someone shine a light on your face while you’re sleeping. However, medically it’s used to describe a symptom that people with migraine headaches often have.
While some seem useless, this one is actually kind of cool sounding. Emesis means vomit. So the phrase, “active emesis” means the person is vomiting. For whatever reason I just think that sounds really cool.
This term makes me cringe. Crepitance means a crackling or grating sound- and it is most often used to refer to bones rubbing against one another.
For whatever reason, the thought of that sound makes me really uncomfortable. I’ve never even heard it before!
This is a really cool term. A pneumothorax is when someone has air in their thoracic cavity. Basically, air has leaked outside the lungs into the chest. A chest tube must be inserted in order to suck the air out.
A pneumothorax can happen due to trauma to the chest, or they can happen spontaneously. If a chest tube is not inserted, more and more air will leak into the thoracic cavity and build up pressure, causing the lungs to collapse. Crazy eh?
This is one of those terms that I find silly. I swear medical people just make up funny sounding words for normal things so they can sound smart. Ecchymosis means bruising. Isn’t that lame?
Hypertension is the fancy way of saying high blood pressure. If someone has high blood pressure at that moment, you would say that they are hypertensive. If the high blood pressure is chronic, the person is said to have hypertension.
Cardiomegaly means an enlarged heart. This is something that can be observed on a chest xray.
I’m trying to figure out a way to work this term into a love song. Something like,
“When I see you, my heart swells so fully,
yes baby you give me cardiomegaly.”
That’s it, I’m giving up medical school to become a songwriter.
We get two for one today. Febrile means to have a fever. I think you can figure out what afebrile means. If you can’t, perhaps medical school isn’t your thing.
Now you can impress your friends. When someone says, “I feel like I have a fever.” You can touch their forehead and say, “You don’t feel febrile to me.” Instant respect.
Nystagmus means involuntary rapid eye movements. Basically it’s when your eye twitches and you have no idea why. So what causes this to happen? I actually have no idea- I’ll ask a doctor and get back to you.
Ambulatory means able to walk or move around. For example, if a patient was seen in the Emergency Department after a car accident and the person was able to walk after immediatley after the crash, we might say, “The patient was ambulatory at the scene.”
You could also use this to describe friends that are hungover: “Dave is not very ambulatory this morning.”