Health Literacy Thesaurus: Medical terms, phrases, references,
and their Plain English equivalents or definitions

D (dander - dyspepsia)

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danderflakes of skin
deceaseddead
decomposedecay, rot, break down
decontaminateclean, kill germs, disinfect, purify, sterilize
decreasetake less, cut back, drop, lower, fall
deficiencylack, not enough
deficientlacking, not enough, poor
deformitya change from the normal shape, not normal, not a normal shape, oddly shaped
degenerativeweaken, worsen, decline, decay, droop
dehydrateneed water, water loss, remove water
deltoidarm muscle
dementiamemory loss that gets worse over time, Alzheimer’s
demonstrateprove, show
demyelinating disordernerve disease
deoxygenatedno oxygen
depleteempty, take all of, reduce, sap
dermalrelated to the skin
dermatologistskin doctor
dermatologyskin doctor’s office
designatecall, label, name
detectfind
deteriorateget worse, fall apart, become unusable
determinefigure out, decide, find out, test
detrimentalbad, harmful, dangerous
developcreate, change, grow
deviatestray, change, take a different path
diabeteselevated sugar in the blood
diagnosetest, find out, figure out, learn cause
diagnosisfinding out the cause of an illness, condition, disease, medical answer
diarrhea diseasesdiarrhea
difficultiesproblems, trouble
dilatebecome wider, become larger, become bigger
dilatorsomething used to make something become larger, wider, or bigger
diluteweaken, make weaker, add liquid
dimensionsize
diminishmake smaller, become less, take less
diminutivesmall, tiny, very little
discloseshow, tell
discoidshaped like a disk, round and flat
discolorationchange in color, not the color it normally is, odd color
discontinuestop, end, quit
discusstalk about, talk with
diseaseillness, sickness
disguisehide
displayshow
dissemination (disseminate)spread, distribute, send out, make available
distinguishtell apart, set apart
distributehand out, give, spread
domicilehome, house
donateto give
donationgift, present
doseamount of medicine, chemical, or radiation; amount, size
drowsysleepy
dustfine, dry earth, powdery dirt
dwellinghome, house
dyspepsiaindigestion, heartburn

Source: CDC Plain Language Thesaurus for Health Communications. Other related materials: Vaccines & Immunizations Glossary; Harvard School of Public Health "Plain Language Glossaries" for asthma, arthritis, and lupus; Medical Library Association "Deciphering Medspeak" for diabetes, stroke, and HIV-AIDS


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