Basic Medical Terminology

Basic Medical Terminology: Terminology to assist in the understanding of the impact of GPS-Sports’ F.A.S.T. and other products

HIPAA is the acronym for the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (Privacy Rule/Law) that was passed by Congress in 1996. HIPAA does the following:

  • Provides the ability to transfer and continue health insurance coverage for millions of American workers and their families when they change or lose their jobs;
  • Reduces health care fraud and abuse;
  • Mandates industry-wide standards for health care information on electronic billing and other processes; and
  • Requires the protection and confidential handling of protected health information

**The underlined areas are the two primary areas we are to ensure we adhere to, as it relates directly to the “data” of GPS-Sports products**

Vital Signs (VS) are measures of various physiological statistics, often taken by health professionals, in order to assess the most basic body functions. Vital signs are an essential part of a case presentation.
VS routinely entail recording four (4) basic measurements:

1. Body temperature-can be recorded in order to establish a baseline for the individual’s normal body temperature for measuring conditions. The main reason for checking body temperature is to identify any signs of infection or inflammation in the presence of a fever (temp > 38.5 °C or sustained temp > 38 °C), or elevated significantly above the individual’s normal temperature. Temperature can be measured in Fahrenheit (F) or Celsius (C).

2. Pulse rate (or heart rate) The pulse is the physical expansion of the artery. Its rate is usually measured either at the wrist or the ankle and is recorded as beats per minute (BPM); the pulse can also be measured in other areas of the body, as well as by listening to the heart with a stethoscope.

3. Blood pressure-is recorded as two readings; a high systolic pressure (the top number of the fraction), which is the maximal contraction of the heart, and the lower diastolic or resting pressure (the bottom number of the fraction). A normal blood pressure would be 120 being the systolic over 80, the diastolic.

4. Respiratory rate-varies with age, but the normal reference range for an adult is 12–20 breaths/minute. Respiratory rate is a clear indicator of acidotic states (respiratory distress and/or dysfunction), as the main function of respiration is removal of CO2 leaving bicarbonate base in circulation.

** VS may also include other measurements; and VS often vary by age and sex**

EKG/ECG - An electrocardiogram (EKG or ECG) is a test that checks for problems with the electrical activity of your heart. An EKG translates the heart’s electrical activity into line tracings on paper.

EEG - An electroencephalogram (EEG) is a test that measures and records the electrical activity of your brain. Special sensors are attached to your head and hooked by wires to a computer. The computer records your brain’s electrical activity on the screen or on paper as wavy lines.

Perspiration/Sweat - sweating is primarily a means of thermoregulation, the manner in which our body keeps our core body temperature within certain boundaries.

Dehydration – means your body does not have as much water and fluids as it should. Dehydration can be mild, moderate, or severe, based on how much of the body’s fluid is lost or not replenished or replaced.

Heat Exhaustion – a heat-related illness that can occur after being exposed to high temperatures for a significant length of time and becoming dehydrated. If proper intervention isn’t provided, can progress to Heat Stroke. Two types of heat exhaustion: 1) water depletion and 2) salt depletion.

Heat Stroke – the progression of two worsening heat-related conditions. When your body overheats, you first may develop heat cramps. If you don’t cool down, you may progress to symptoms of heat exhaustion, such as heavy sweating, nausea, lightheadedness and feeling faint. Heat Stroke can damage the brain, other vital organs, and even cause death

Provided by: Traci L. Kimes, BSN, RN
Risk Management/Medical Consultant, GPS-Solutions, Inc.