Physical Assessment Glossary

  1. abduction
    movement away from the midline
  2. acrocyanosis
    cyanosis of the extremities (vs. central cyanosis which involves mucous membranes)
  3. acromegaly
    disease characterized by enlarged features, especially the face and hands, caused by hypersecretion of the pituitary growth hormone after puberty, when normal bone growth has stopped; most often caused by a pituitary tumor
  4. acute
    sharp; having severe symptoms and a short course
  5. adduction
    movement towards the midline
  6. affect
    emotional feeling or mood
  7. akathasia
    side effect of antipsychotic medication; sensation of needing to move about, restlessness
  8. alopecia
    hair loss
  9. anesthetic
    a drug that temporarily blocks transmission of nerve conduction to produce a loss of sensations
  10. anhedonia
    loss of ability to experience pleasure
  11. anorchism
    absence of one or both testes
  12. anorexia
    loss of appetite
  13. anterior
    front of the body
  14. antibiotic
    a drug that kills or inhibits the growth of microorganisms
  15. aphagia
    inability to swallow
  16. aphthous ulcers
    canker sores
  17. arrhythmia
    any of several kinds of irregularity or loss of rhythm of the heartbeat
  18. arthralgia
    joint pain
  19. articulation
    a joint; the point where two bones come together
  20. ascites
    an accumulation of fluid in the peritoneal cavity
  21. asterixis
    flapping tremor characteristic of metabolic encephalopathy
  22. asthenopia
  23. ataxia
    defective muscular coordination
  24. atelectasis
    collapse of lung tissue
  25. atrophy
    shrinking of muscle size
  26. auscultation
    a physical examination method of listening to sounds within the body with a stethoscope
  27. benign
    mild or noncancerous
  28. biopsy
    removal of a small piece of tissue for microscopic pathologic examination
  29. blocking
    interruption of train of thought before finishing a statement
  30. bronchiectasis
    abnormal dilation of the bronchi with accumulation of mucus
  31. bruit
    adventitious sound of arterial origin heard on auscultation
  32. buccal
    in the cheek
  33. cachectic
    malnourished; wasted
  34. carie
    dental cavity
  35. cathartic
    drug that causes movement of the bowels
  36. chemotherapy
    treatment of malignancies, infections, and other diseases with chemical agents that destroy selected cells or impair the ability to reproduce
  37. chief complaint
    a statement in the patient's words as to the purpose of the encounter
  38. chronic
    a condition developing slowly and persisting over a period of time
  39. circumstantiality
    speech which contains excessive digression between subjects
  40. clanging
    speech based on sound relationships rather than logical connections (punning, rhyming)
  41. claudication
    leg cramping/pain during walking due to arterial insufficiency
  42. coma
    a deep sleep; a general term referring to levels of decreased consciousness with varying responsiveness; a common method of assessment is the Glasgow coma scale
  43. compulsions
    ritualistic or stereotyped action
  44. confabulation
    facts or events that are not remembered are made up
  45. cord
    palpable thrombosis of vein
  46. coryza
    head cold; inflammation of the nasal mucous membranes
  47. crepitus
    grating noise or sensation related to joint motion
  48. cyanosis
    bluish coloration due to accumulation of deoxygenated hemoglobin
  49. debridement
    removal of dead tissue from a wound or burn site to promote healing and to prevent infection
  50. decubitus
    lying down, especially in a bed
  51. defense mechanisms
    mechanisms which provide relief from unwanted feelings and conflicts
  52. delusion
    false, unshakable belief firmly held in the face of contradictory evidence
  53. denial
    failure to acknowledge reality
  54. derailment
    speech that stops and then resumes on an entirely different topic
  55. diaphoretic
  56. diastole
    to expand; period in the cardiac cycle when blood enters the relaxed ventricles from the atria
  57. diplopia
    double vision
  58. distal
    away from the beginning of the structure
  59. dysarthria
    difficult and defective speech due to impairment of the tongue or other muscles
  60. dysmenorrhea
    painful menses
  61. dyspareunia
    painful intercourse
  62. dysphagia
    difficulty in swallowing
  63. dysphonia
  64. dysphoria
  65. dyspnea
    shortness of breath
  66. dysuria
    painful or difficult urination
  67. edema
  68. ego
    freudian term used to describe the part of the mind that deals with reality
  69. emesis
  70. enuresis
    involuntary loss of urine, usually referring to during sleep
  71. epistaxis
  72. eructation
  73. erythema
    redness of skin
  74. etiology
    study of the cause of a disease
  75. exacerbation
    increase in severity of disease with aggravation of symptoms
  76. exophthalmos
    abnormal protrusion of eyeball
  77. expectoration
    coughing up and spitting out of material from lungs
  78. extension
    straightening at the joint so that the angle between the bones is increased
  79. family history
    an account of the health status of the patient's immediate and extended family
  80. flatus
    gas in the intestinal tract or its expulsion
  81. flexion
    bending at the joint so the angle between the bones is decreased
  82. flight of ideas
    speech and thought that jumps from one idea to another rapidly
  83. formication
    feeling that insects are crawling on the skin
  84. full term
    delivered after completion of 37th week
  85. glucosuria
    glucose in the urine
  86. goiter
    enlargement of the thyroid gland
  87. gravid
  88. gravida
    number of pregnancies
  89. gynecomastia
    development of mammary glands in the male, caused by altered hormone levels
  90. halitosis
    bad breath
  91. hallucinations
    false sensory perceptions; perception in the absence of external stimulus
  92. hematemesis
    vomiting of blood
  93. hematochezia
    visible blood in the stool
  94. hematopoietic
    referring to the blood or blood-forming organisms
  95. hematuria
    blood in the urine
  96. hemoptysis
    coughing up blood
  97. hesitancy
    abnormal delay in onset of urinary stream
  98. hirsutism
    shaggy; an excessive growth of hair, especially in unusual places
  99. history
    story that a clinician composes to help himself and others understand the patient's illness
  100. history of present illness
    story of the chief complaint from start to present (each current but unrelated problem gets its own HxPI
  101. hyperesthesia
    increased sensitivity to stimulation such as touch or pain
  102. hyperpnea
    deep breathing
  103. hypopnea
    shallow breathing
  104. id:
    freudian term used to describe the part of the mind that contains sexuality and aggression
  105. identifying data
    demographic and situational data regarding the patient, e.g. age, gender, etc
  106. idiopathic
    a condition occurring without a clearly identified cause
  107. illusions
    misinterpretation of real perceptions
  108. impotence
    failure to initiate or maintain an erection until ejaculation because of physical or psychological dysfunction
  109. incontinence
    involuntary loss of urine or feces
  110. inferior
    away from the head
  111. interview
    interpersonal process during which the raw material of the medical history is evoked
  112. jaundice
    yellow discoloration due to accumulation of billirubin
  113. lacrimation
    secretion of tears
  114. lateral
    toward the side
  115. libido
    sex drive
  116. loosening of associations
    illogical shifting of topics
  117. lymphadenopathy
    abnormality, usually implying enlargement, or lymph nodes
  118. malaise
    feeling of unwellness
  119. malignant
    harmful or cancerous
  120. marked
  121. medial
    toward the middle
  122. melena
    black, tarry stool due to blood in stool from upper gastrointestinal tract that has been denatured in transit
  123. menarche
    first menses
  124. menometrorrhagia
    irregular and excessive menstrual bleeding
  125. menorrhagia
    excessive or prolonged menstrual bleeding
  126. metrorrhagia
    irregular, acyclic bleeding
  127. miosis
    abnormal contraction of the pupils
  128. molimina
    time just prior to menstrual flow
  129. morbidity
    sick; a diseased state
  130. mortality
    the state of being subject to death
  131. mutism
    complete lack of speech
  132. myalgia
    muscle pain
  133. neologism
    use of words invented by the patient
  134. neuralgia
    pain along the course of a nerve
  135. nocturia
    having to get up at night to urinate
  136. non-focal
    neurological exam grossly normal
  137. nystagmus
    oscillatory movement of the eyes
  138. obsessions
    ideas, images, impulses that are undesired and intrusive
  139. odynophagia
    pain upon swallowing
  140. oligomenorrhea
    reduction of frequency of menses
  141. oliguria
    scanty production of urine
  142. orthopnea
    shortness of breath related to the recumbant position
  143. otalgia
  144. otorrhea
    purulent drainage from the ear
  145. para
    to bear; a woman who has produced one or more viable offspring
  146. paracusis
    impaired hearing
  147. paresthesia
    abnormal sensation of numbness and tingling without objective cause; pins and needles sensation
  148. paroxysmal nocturnal dyspnea
    shortness of breath related to the recumbant position that awakens the patient
  149. past medical history
    account of the patient's lifelong medical problems and interventions for them
  150. pectus carinatum
    pigeon chest
  151. pectus excavatum
    funnel chest
  152. perseveration
    repetition of identical words and phrases
  153. photophobia
    ocular pain related to exposure to light
  154. pleurisy
    inflammation of the pleura
  155. pneumaturia
    air in the urine
  156. polydipsia
    excessive thirst
  157. polyphagia
    excessive hunger
  158. polyuria
    excessive urination (in quantity)
  159. posterior
    back of the body
  160. poverty of content of speech
    speech that is adequate in amount and conveys little information
  161. pressured speech
    speech that is rapid, difficult to interrupt and increased in amount
  162. preterm
    infant delivered before completion of 37th week of gestation
  163. primigravida
    first pregnancy
  164. pronation
    turning downward or backward of the palmar surface
  165. prone
    lying face down and flat
  166. prophylaxis
    a process or measure that prevents disease
  167. proptosis
    forward displacement of eyeball
  168. proximal
    toward the beginning or origin of the structure
  169. pruritus
    severe itching
  170. pyrosis
  171. recumbent
    lying down
  172. remission
    a period in which symptoms and signs stop or abate
  173. review of systems
    exhaustive list of symptoms grouped according to which bodily system they refer to
  174. rhinorrhea
    nasal discharge
  175. rub
    pleural or pericardial friction rub
  176. scotoma
    islandlike blind gap in the visual field
  177. sign
    a mark; objective evidence of disease that can be seen or verified by an examiner
  178. social history
    a detailing of the patient's lifestyle and personal habits
  179. sputum
    substance expelled by cough or clearing of the throat
  180. strangury
    painful and interrupted urination in drop produced by spasmodic muscular contraction of urethra and bladder
  181. superior
    toward the head
  182. supination
    turning upward or forward or the palmar surface
  183. supine
    horizontal recumbent; lying flat on the back
  184. suppuration
    production of purulent matter (pus)
  185. symptom
    an experience obtained from the medical history that suggests disease or physical dysfunction described in the history by the patient
  186. syncope
    transient loss of consciousness
  187. systemic
    relating to the whole body rather than only one part
  188. systole
    to contract; period in the cardiac cycle when the heart is in contraction and blood is ejected through the aorta and pulmonary artery
  189. tangentiality
    thought which shifts to associated topics and never returns to the original subject
  190. tinnitus
    a subjective ringing sensation in the ear
  191. toxic
    appearing gravely ill
  192. urgency
    abnormally strong desire to void
  193. urticaria
  194. vertigo
    sensation of moving around in space (subjective vertigo) or the environment moving about the person (objective vertigo)
  195. word salad
    incoherent speech, with words and phrases having little or no association to each other
  196. xeroderma
    dry skin
Card Set
Physical Assessment Glossary
Physical Assessment Glossary (Terms and Meanings)