06.10 Metabolic & Endocrine Terminology

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Included In This Lesson



  1. Endocrine System
  1. Glands 
  2. Related Terms
  3. Endocrine System Prefixes & Suffixes

Nursing Points


  1. Glands
    1. Gland – aden/o
    2. Adrenal gland – adren/o
    3. Sex glands – gonad/o
    4. Pancreas – pancreat/o
    5. Parathyroid gland – parathyroid/o
    6. Pituitary gland – pituitar/o
    7. Thyroid – thyr/o or thyroid/o
  2. Related Terms
    1. Male – andr/o
    2. Calcium – calc/o or calci/o
    3. Outer region or Cortex – cortic/o
    4. Female – estr/o
    5. Sugar – gluc/o or glyc/o
    6. Hormone – hormon/o
    7. Potassium – kal/o
    8. Sodium – natr/o
    9. Body – somat/o
  3. Endocrine System Prefixes & Suffixes
    1. Prefixes
      1. Normal – eu-
      2. Excessive – hyper-
      3. Deficient or low – hypo-
      4. All – pan-
      5. Four – tetra-
      6. Three – tri-
    2. Suffixes
      1. Assemble or bring together – -agon
      2. Blood condition – -emia
      3. Substance – -in or -ine
      4. Stimulates the function of – -tropin
      5. Urine condition – -uria


In this lesson, we’re going to talk about medical terminology for the metabolic and endocrine systems.

When we’re were talking about the endocrine system, we really focus on different types of glands and hormones. First off, anytime we’re talking about a gland specifically, you will use the term aden/o. For the most part, all of the specific types of glands have their name in the medical term. For example, the adrenal gland uses the word adreno, the pancreas uses pancreato, and the parathyroid gland uses parathyroido. Similarly, the pituitary gland uses pituitaro, and the thyroid gland can use either thyro or thyroido. The only one that’s really tricky is the different types of sex glands because most of these are referred to as gonado for both male and female.

Another really important part about the endocrine system are all of the related terms that are used to describe specific types of hormones. Anytime we’re talking about the male we we use the word andro, and female we use the combining form estro. The endocrine system also plays on some really important electrolytes, so we look at things like calcium, potassium, and sodium. When we talk about calcium we use the term calco or calcio,  and when we talk about potassium we use the term kalo, and natro for sodium. The other term that I’m sure you’ll run across is the term for sugar which is gluco or glyco.

Something that’s a little bit different from other medical terms is it the endocrine system really focuses a lot more on the prefixes and suffixes to the medical terms. Because hormone levels can be really high, really low, or they can be normal, it’s imperative that you have the right prefixes. Anytime you have a normal hormone level you’re going to use the prefix eu,  and if it’s high you will use the term hyper, or if it’s low or deficient you’ll use the term hypo. A couple of other terms that you may see are tri and tetra, which mean three and four. For instance, The name for T3 is actually triiodothyronine and T4 is tetraiodothyronine.

The suffixes are also really important, especially with the endocrine system. For example, you may see the term emia, which is a blood condition, so you would see it in the term hypoglycemia, which means a low level of glucose in the blood. Another suffix that you may see is tropin Which means that it stimulates the function of another thing. So for instance thyrotropin-releasing hormone, Stimulates the release of thyroid stimulating hormone in the pituitary gland. So you can see that it actually  stimulates the function of another hormone. And one final one that you may see is the term uria, which is a urine condition. So for example, hematuria is a presence of blood in urine.

Okay, so let’s recap. Medical terms used in the endocrine system focuses on the glands, and it also focuses on the hormones. The hormone names will change depending on their function or how they affect the body. And finally, prefixes and suffixes play a major role in the endocrine system and how we describe it and it helps to describe a function or a condition of a disease.

And that’s it for a lesson on medical terms for the metabolic and endocrine system. Make sure you check out all the resources attached to this lesson. Now, go out and be your best self today, and as always, happy nursing.