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The origin of Medical Terminology

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Medical Terminology is mostly originated from the Latin and Greek languages. When the Romans conquered Greece, around 400, the knowledge and language of both cultures merged, resulting in new medical concepts regarding disease treatment and containment. Medical records were written by hand. Much of the medical terminology we use today came from Hippocrates, who is the “father of medicine,” and Claudius Galen, one of the most legendary doctors from the Roman Empire.

Medical Terminology was created to identify the various anatomical structures, diagnoses, instruments, procedures, protocols and medications. Medical Terms and their roots go together with Greek and Latin entomology. Medical terminology is structured into three primary parts: the root word, the prefix and the suffix. The root word is generally located in the middle of the word and signifies the basic meaning. The prefix comes before the root word and identifies the word’s meaning by revealing further information about location and area of the body. The suffix, at the end of a word, works as an inflectional ending that conveys definite features, including the circumstances, development and protocol regarding the condition.

Medical terminology, also uses Greek and Latin adjectives and compounds to connect nouns, verbs or combining forms. Recognizing the Greek and Latin word origins is key to understanding medical terminology. Claudius Galen was a Greek physician who went to Rome and revived the ideas of Hippocrates and other Greek doctors. The Romans had shown little interest in the work of Hippocrates and it took Galen to get them to go with Hippocrates had done.

Galen revived the methods favored by Hippocrates and other Greek doctors who lived at the time of Hippocrates. He put great emphasis on clinical observation; examining a patient very thoroughly and noting their symptoms. Galen also accepted the view that disease was the result of an imbalance between blood, phlegm, yellow bile and blood bile. Galen also believed in the healing power of nature and he developed treatments to restore the balance of the four humors. Galen believed in the use of opposites, if a man appeared to have a fever, he treated it with something cold; if a man appeared to have a cold, he would be treated with heat. People who were weak were given hard physical exercises to do to build up their muscles.

As most things change over time the meanings of these words in the medical field have not changed. Although our medical language is growing we wouldn’t be where we are today in the field of medicine without the “Father of Medicine,” Hippocrates or Claudius Galen. Medical terminology wouldn’t be as advanced nor would as many people have survived during all of those tough times in history.

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