Different elements are used to define medical terms. Each of the elements has a significant purpose in identifying the meaning of a particular term. For instance, the word root is the main topic or subject of a medical term. In most cases, roots are referred to as the body part and cannot stand by themselves. Hence, a vowel should be added to the end to generate meaning. For example, ‘therm’, which is a word root is combined with a vowel, ‘o’ to form ‘thermo’ which means ‘heat”. Another word ‘meter’ is joined to the root to create thermometer, an instrument that measures temperature (Moats, 2005).
The element that is placed at the beginning of a medical term is known as the prefix. The latter is used to change the meaning of the medical term and can refer to time, location, status, or number. In this case, the sense of the word root is modified or qualified (Moats, 2005). For example, the prefix, ‘peri’ means ‘around’. The prefix ‘hypo’ means ‘under’.
The word endings used to form adjectives, nouns, or verbs are known as suffixes. A suffix is said to appear in more than one time. It can also be used along with a compound term to generate specialized meaning. For example, the word ‘arthritis’ has the suffix ‘ITIS’ that helps to create the sense of inflammation. Another word ‘hemophiliac’ has the suffix ‘IAC’ that forms the affliction of a disease.
A combining form is added to a combining vowel to form another element. In this case, a root is carried along with another element to generate the meaning of a medical term. In most instances, a suffix is joined to a root through a combining form to indicate quality, state, procedure, condition, or process. Therefore, this form appears between the prefix and the suffix. In other words, the combining form can be a vowel or a root that is inserted to generate a medical term (Moats, 2005). For example, the combining form ‘card’ is used to join the prefix ‘peri’ and the suffix ‘itis’ to make the medical term ‘pericarditis’ (an inflammation of the pericardium).
For one to spell medical phrases or words correctly, the phonetically spelled pronunciation guide would be required. In the guide, letters are combined with phonetics to generate the pronunciation of the medical word. Therefore, it is important to be aware of the phonetics of each vowel. After identifying the root, prefix, suffix, and the combining form, it is important to familiarize with the vowel sounds.
The pronunciation guide mandates one to familiarize with the long vowel sounds, the in-between vowel sounds, short vowel sounds, and combination vowels, as well as the hard and soft vowel sounds. One of the long vowel sounds is ‘a’ whose phonetics is ‘ay’. An example of this is ‘bay’ that is pronounced BAY. A second example is ‘fatal’ that is pronounced ‘FAY tul’. Another long vowel sound is ‘e’ whose phonetics is ‘ee’. An example is ‘bee’ that is pronounced ‘BEE’. ‘I’ is a long vowel sound whose phonetics is ‘eye’. Examples are ‘island’, which is pronounced ‘EYE lund’, and ‘eye’ that is pronounced EYE (Nath, 2006).
The vowel ‘I’ is also used as a long vowel sound. Its phonetics is ‘igh’ and is pronounced as ‘ahr’. ‘O’ is used as a long vowel sound whose phonetics is ‘oh’. An example is ‘low’ which is pronounced as ‘LOH’. The phonetics of ‘u’ is ‘yoo’ ‘ew’, and ‘ue’. Examples are union, mute, and supine. Each of them is pronounced as YOON yun, mewt, and SUE pine. The short vowel sounds are pronounced as they are. For example, the phonetics of ‘a’ is a. The combination vowels are ae, oe, oi, and eu. The phonetics of ae is ee, oe is e, oi is oi, and eu is yoo. The majority of the medical words contain ‘ch’ at the beginning of the term. The phonetics for ‘ch’ is ‘k’. For example, the ‘ch’ in cholesterol is pronounced as ‘KOH’. Other letters such as ‘dys’ have the phonetics of dis and are pronounced as ‘dis’.
Understanding the phonetically spelled pronunciation guide enables one to pronounce medical phrases or words correctly. The knowledge of identifying medical words is important in the analysis of the different terms. Many of the used medical words have the suffix as the generator of specialized meaning. The pronunciation guide depicts that the vowel should be dropped if it appears first in a suffix. For example, in the word gastro, ‘o’ is cut to combine with ‘oma’ after which the medical term ‘gastroma’ is formed (Nath, 2006).
The combining form should be kept if the suffix begins with a consonant. The suffix is, then, added to the combining form. For example, lipo is combined with lysis to become lipolysis. Therefore, the suffix ‘lipo’ is kept. The phonetically spelled pronunciation guide enables one to pronounce medical words through knowledge of the combining vowels and the word roots. The guide depicts that the combining vowel should be kept in the case where the roots are two or more (Nath, 2006). For example, electro +cardio + gram= electrocardiogram, whereby the two combining vowels are maintained.
If pronounced incorrectly, medical words provide different meaning. An example of such a medical word is the ileum. This organ is a part of the small intestine used for digestion. A different meaning will be obtained if the word is pronounced as Ilium, which is a part of the pelvic bone. A second word, which would have a different meaning if pronounced incorrectly, is ‘prostate’ — a gland in males that produces fluid used by sperms in motility. This word can have a different meaning if pronounced as ‘prostrate’, which means to lie on a flat ground or to prohibit. A third medical word is ‘hepatoma’, a mass of liver. The same word would have a different meaning if pronounced as ‘hematoma’, which is a collection or mass of blood. Mispronouncing these three words could have a negative impact on the patient’s health. In other words, the treatment could lead to the patient’s death or medical error.
Among the systems that have been studied throughout the course is the digestive system. The main organs of this system are esophagus, stomach, small intestine, large intestine, liver, gall bladder, and pancreas. From the mouth, food is taken to the stomach by the tube known as the esophagus. The digestion of food takes place in the stomach. From the stomach, food runs to the large intestine through the small intestine. From the digested materials, the large intestine absorbs water. In this case, the feces are solidified. The large intestine also signals problems of the GI tract as well as other symptoms such as bloating, abdominal pain, heartburn, blood in stool, incontinence, etc.
The most commonly known illnesses associated with the digestive system is Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) that affects the esophagus. This condition is expressed through severe heartburn that is as a consequence of the weakness of the valves between the stomach and esophagus. The acid allows the stomach to back up irritating and inflaming the lining of the esophagus. The disease can also result in chest pain (Vakil et al., 2006). Another illness of the digestive system is the Crohn’s disease. It affects the bowels through inflammation. The typical symptoms of the disease include diarrhea, weight loss, and abdominal pain. It can also result in anemia as a result of rectal bleeding.
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