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

M (macrophage - mutation)

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macrophagedisease-fighting cell
maculara discolored spot on your skin
magnitudeextent, size, how serious
maintaintake care of, keep
mammogramtest to check the health of the breast
malignantcancer
managecontrol, direct, be in charge of, take care of, watch
manifestclear, plain, evident
maximumthe largest possible, the most
medicationdrug, pill, medicine
medicinedrug
memory cella cell that helps your body quickly fight diseases that you’ve gotten before
menopausewomen’s “change of life”, the change, time in a woman's life when her periods stops
mentalityframe of mind, mind, outlook, feeling
metabolismprocess of getting energy from food, converting food into energy
mgmilligram
microbesvery tiny fungi, sometimes viruses, that are too small too see; bacteria, protozoa
migratemove, travel
migrationmoving from one place to another
mildgentle, not severe, slight, small
mildewfungus that grow in damp warm areas
minimalleast, small, smallest
minimizemake smaller
minisculevery small, tiny
mitesvery tiny, spider-like, animals that cause allergies and skin rashes
mitigatemake less harmful, soften, lessen, reduce
mobilityability to move
moderatemedium, mild, controllable
modifychange
molarsback teeth, back “grinding” teeth
moldgrowth on food and damp surfaces
monitorwatch, check on, watch for changes, device that measures changes
morbiditydiseased, sick, ill
mortality ratenumber of deaths
mortalitydeath
motor vehicle accidentcar crash
MRSAbacteria that is resistant to antibiotics
mucosal (mucus) membranessoft, moist areas just inside the openings to your body
mucusfluid that coats and protects the inside of the nose, mouth, bronchial tubes and other parts of the body
multiple sclerosiscentral nervous system disease
muscle contractionmuscle twitch, movement
mutagencause
mutationchange over time
mutationchange; difference; different

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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