Have you started considering a new career path in a health, fitness, or medical field, only to find yourself lost in a maze of unfamiliar terms? These industries definitely have their own language — and tons of acronyms. Plus, health and fitness abbreviations can differ from those used in the medical community, and nutritionists have their own terms as well. By learning some of the basic terms, you can feel more confident as you learn and talk about these subjects. We’ll break it down for you, so you can ace your next job interview or career training course.
Basic Medical Terminology
What are the basic medical terminology abbreviations? Read on for a sneak peek of some terms you’ll learn on your journey to becoming a Certified Clinical Medical Assistant (CCMA) or Certified Coding Associate (CCA).
Current Procedural Terminology (CPT): These are the codes you’ll learn in a medical coding course, which correspond to various diagnoses.
Electronic medical records (EMR): Today, nearly all health records are digitally formatted and can be easily transferred across a network.
Explanation of benefits (EOB): A document from the insurance company explaining what they will and will not cover.
Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA): A law that governs how creditors can collect on accounts.
Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA): A law that governs how health information can be shared.
Health maintenance organization (HMO): A type of policy that requires a patient to have a primary care physician referral for services.
Not elsewhere classifiable (NEC): A service or procedure that does not have a code available.
Not otherwise specified (NOS): A condition without a specified diagnosis.
Primary care physician (PCP): The referring physician in an HMO plan.
Preferred provider organization (PPO): Under a PPO plan, a patient can see any caregiver without a referral.
Protected health information (PHI): Patient information that is protected and must be treated with special care.
Physical Fitness Terminology
If you’re interested in becoming a certified personal trainer or fitness instructor, your learning track will include more physiology, that is, the way the body’s parts work together. Here a few fitness terms, from A-Z, that you’ll want to be familiar with:
Aerobic: Literally means “with oxygen.” Aerobic exercises are low intensity and focus on endurance.
Anaerobic: Literally means “without oxygen.” These exercises are high intensity and focus on building muscle.
Body composition: The amount of fat mass in the body versus fat-free mass like muscle and bone.
Cardiovascular: Related to blood vessels and the heart.
HIIT: High-intensity interval training. A form of training that cycles periods of high-energy exercises followed by rest.
Isometric exercise: An exercise during which the muscle remains stable, as in plank pose.
Isotonic exercise: An exercise that uses a load to cause a muscle to move through a range, as in weight lifting.
Lactic acid: An organic substance that builds up in the muscles during anaerobic exercise.
Oxygen consumption: The rate at which the body can uptake oxygen and deliver it to the tissues.
Plyometrics: A form of training that uses short bursts of energy, such as high jumps or battle ropes.
Nutrition and Healthcare Terminology
Want to help people eat right or optimize their sports performance? A career as a registered dietitian or sports nutrition specialist could be for you. Here are the industry’s most important health acronyms and phrases to get you started:
Adenosine triphosphate (ATP): An organic molecule that provides energy to the body.
Adipose tissue: The cells of the body that primarily store fat.
Calorie: A measurement used to determine the amount of energy in food.
Carbohydrates: A source of energy and one of the three macronutrients. Carbohydrates include complex and simple sugars and starches.
Essential amino acids: A molecule that is needed for the body to function and synthesize proteins. These amino acids must be provided in the diet, because the body cannot synthesize them on its own.
Fatty acids: These are what make up the body’s fat stores; the combination of fatty acids determines whether a fat is saturated, monounsaturated, or polyunsaturated.
Glycogen: Carbohydrates are stored in the body in this form.
Glycemic index (GI): A method of ranking food based on its effect on a person’s blood sugar levels; a high GI means the food will more quickly affect these levels.
Macronutrients: The key nutrients the body needs in large quantities — carbohydrates, protein, and fat.
Protein: Made up of amino acids; serve many important bodily functions, like giving structure to the muscles, transporting nutrients, and providing collagen to the skin.
Resting metabolic rate (RMR): How quickly the body uses energy after a period of rest, such as overnight.
This list of nutrition, fitness, and medical terms and definitions is just the beginning. New discoveries are being made every day, so there is always more to learn in these exciting and fast-paced fields. If you have a passion for health and love helping people, any one of these careers could be for you — get started today!