Cracking the Code: 5 Common Healthcare Acronyms

Just a few more questions...Ever been at a doctor’s appointment and thought “this doctor might as well be speaking Greek”? It may seem like your doctor is talking in code when using health acronyms.

We’ll help you decode some of this medical shorthand so you can get the most out of your next visit!

1) BMI

BMI stands for body mass index.

Your doctor determines whether or not you’ve got a healthy BMI level by comparing the amount of body fat you have to your height and weight.

The goal is to achieve a low BMI, as a high BMI can result in a myriad of health issues.

2) LDL & HDL

Both of these acronyms refer to cholesterol levels.

LDL stands for low-density lipoprotein. If your doctor says you have low levels of LDL, that’s good — you don’t want this number to be high! High levels of LDL can lead to heart disease and stroke.

HDL stands for high-density lipoprotein. Unlike LDL, you do want to have high levels of this, as HDL absorbs cholesterol and carries it to the liver in order to flush it out. Having high levels of HDL significantly reduces your chance of heart disease or stroke.

3) A1C

If your doctor says he wants to run an A1C test, this means he wants to test you for type 1 and type 2 diabetes.

The test, also known as glycated hemoglobin (among other names), shows your average blood sugar level over the course of two to three months.

The higher your A1C level is, the greater chance you have of developing diabetes.


COPD stands for Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease.

If you are diagnosed with COPD, that means that air is not properly circulating through the airways in your lungs. Patients with COPD typically experience two main health problems: chronic bronchitis and emphysema.

5) TSH

TSH stands for thyroid-stimulating hormone.

A TSH blood test is used to check for an underactive or overactive thyroid, both of which can cause major health issues. An underactive thyroid may cause weight gain, fatigue, frequent menstrual periods, and more, while an overactive thyroid may cause weight loss, irritableness, rapid heart rate, and other problems.

Request an Appointment Today

Now that you are a little more familiar with some common healthcare acronyms, why not make an appointment with one of our experienced providers today? We’d love to meet with you and discuss your medical history and personal health goals.

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