Health dictionary - R

Health dictionary


Sometimes, doctors use special machines to take pictures of the inside your body. The pictures that they take look very strange, and radiologists help to look at them, so that the doctors can find out what's going on.


Making pictures using radioactive materials, like x-rays.


The study of making pictures using radioactive materials, like x-rays.


Using radioactive materials to treat diseases.


One the bones in your arm, on the side of your thumb.


A mark on the skin that is usually red and sore. It may also be itchy. Rashes happen if you’re allergic to something and goes away quite quickly. A rash can sometimes be a sign of disease too, such as measles.

Recovery room

Most people are usually 'asleep' under a general anaesthetic during an operation (surgery). It takes a while for you to wake up afterwards. Usually you'll wake up in the Recovery Room, a special room where the nurses will give you extra special care. When you're feeling a bit more awake, you'll go back to the ward.


The rectum is your bottom hole or your anus as it is sometimes called. It is the lower part of the bowel where store poo until you’re ready to use the toilet.

Red blood cells

Red blood cells carry oxygen from your lungs to cells around your body.


An automatic response to something. For instance, a doctor checks your reflex by hitting a special part of your knee that makes your leg move upwards.


The word used to describe the process of returning somebody to full health or fitness.


If you’ve had a disease that has gone away for a while, and then it comes back, the doctors will say you’ve had a relapse.


If you’ve got a disease and it goes away, doctors will say that you’re in remission. It doesn’t mean that you’ve been cured, as the disease could come back (relapse).


An operation where a section, or all, of a diseased part of your body is removed.

Respiratory system

This consists of your trachea (windpipe), bronchi and lungs. Its job is to take the oxygen out of the air you breathe so it can be absorbed by the body.


This describes a person who has been successfully revived after they had previously stopped breathing of their heart had failed. This is generally done using cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR, see entry).


The layer on the back of your eyeball where pictures are converted into nerve signals which your brain understands.


The study of joints and diseases that affect them. A rheumatologist is a specialist doctor who looks after people who have problems with their joints and limbs.


Another name for German measles, an infectious disease that mainly affects children. Most children are immunised against rubella now, by the MMR jab, but children who have not been immunised are at risk. If a pregnant woman develops rubella, the baby can be born deaf and blind.