Think before using acronyms in a post!

As a new subscriber to this forum, I am constantly frustrated by the widespread use of acronyms by writers assuming that readers will know what they mean. Many people coming to HealthUnlocked to seek information and advice will be unfamiliar with some of these terms and prevent easy communication.

So, please think before dipping into alphabet soup...

31 Replies

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  • I have constantly come across this and it is so frustrating. So glad you brought this up.

  • Hi.

    If you look in publications by the liver trust (hard copies or down loads) most of them are in there. I rang them for one. I have a note note pad which I keep a note of ones I come across. My own little glossary!

    It can be confusing , just like the illness!

  • Sorry xxx think quite a few of us 'oldies' forget 😘😘😘 we don't mean to but when talking about the different illnesses associated with the liver - a lot of the words are long and often abbreviated or acronyms xxx for example πŸ˜‚ HE is 'hepatic encephalopathy' which is quite a tricky one πŸ˜…πŸ˜… - some of the liver illnesses are often written as 'PBC' and 'HCV' (primary biliary cirrhosis and hepatitis c virus) - if you would like me to (and it would give me something to doπŸ˜…πŸ˜…) if you name your specific area of interest I could give you some of the terms ??? 😘😘 I was a Nurse once 😒😒 in a real hospital (not at home looking after hubby) so would be nice to do something nursey xxxxx

  • If you would like to collate a glossary, my specific area of interest is cryptogenic liver disease.

    Thank you!

  • πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚ oh thanks 😘😘😘 make it easy for me ❀️ I shall try my best xxxx how are you feeling ??? X

  • Absolutely agree! ;))

  • While I understand your frustration, it is part of the process of coming to terms with a new community - whatever that is - and it soon becomes natural. For example, I had genetic haemochromatosis but it is a pain to write it out in full all the time, so quite naturally, it gets abbreviated as GH. The same with all of the other conditions that people write about on here.

    The more you engage, however, the quicker you will recognise and appreciate the conditions people are writing about.

  • Thank you for responding to my post – I understand that certain terms can be unwieldy and lend themselves to abbreviation, but you managed it in your reply! Perhaps a compromise is to follow the convention of using the term in full the first time it is mentioned in a post with subsequent references using the acronymic form.

    In a world of contextual acronyms – the medical community is especially free in its use of them. It would seem courteous to make contributions as accessible and non-exclusive as possible. Just because many contributors use abbreviated shorthand doesn't make it right (or natural) – the same could be said of speed limits!

  • Although that sounds like the sensible thing to do how is this to be enforced? Simply asking what an abbreviation means is always welcome on these forums.

  • Hiya Mike8702, I have HH ( Hereditary Haemochromatosis ) & it is aka GH. I totally agree that it takes a while to get the hang of the slang terms. It also is difficult keeping up to date with all the info!

  • Hiya. I also have Haemochromatosis but refer to it as HH (hereditary haemochromatosis) . I'm always learning new terminology, particularly regarding liver disease. I'm befuddled a lot of the time!

  • good point...similarly though-we have a loads of posts along the lines of...have I got liver disease? or similar...

    We Dont know! Post your blood tests/symptoms/history/age/sex etc and we might be able to assist...I say we ( I mean the more knowledgable conributors on this forum)

  • That is an excellent suggestion.

  • I can't resist:

    :) Sorry!

  • don't apologies-nice one!

  • I also agree about the use of acronyms - some I am familiar with and others I am not.

  • That is a good point I found myself constantly googling it at first, it can be a bit frustrating but you do get used to them. Something for us all to keep in mind though.

  • I do see what you mean at times. But I would say the onus is on you to learn aswel, your post is slightly rude to be honest.

  • Ralph,

    I apologise for any perceived rudeness but it's often difficult to make a point (that you yourself acknowledge can be a problem) on a social medium forum without upsetting somebody. The onus to learn is important, but without understanding learning is difficult.

  • As an Allied Health Professional (AHP) My professional standards of practice state that I should always state the full name of a medical term on a page of my notes before going on to use acronyms. This I always do and it is a good guideline to follow. I realise that this is not enforceable as a guideline in this type of on line blog as people are just volunteering their own helpful experiences. I think that it is good to have the debate and thanks to Howard for raising it. I did not think Howard posts were rude in the slightest.

  • I think it is good that we can talk about how we "talk" to each other in this forum. My personal PoV (point of view) is that we have a responsibility to put some time and effort into understanding what is going on, the explore those things we want to look at more closely, and to accept that there will be some things we don't need to pay too much attention to. What is great is the opportunity to share ideas, experiences, concerns etc and get a range of support that we might not always feel able to get from the professionals. Long live BLT Health Unlocked!

  • I totally agree with all posts πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚ and respect everyone's point of view - I just think that as a patient - it is your responsibility to find out as much as you can about 'your' illness - that includes using acronyms/abbreviations - as said previously by 'allied health professional' (have no idea what that is but so out of touch - sorry) in the medical world these are mostly used due to time/ ease of use - I remember starting on my first ward (cardiac) and being given a list - MI (myocardial infarction) and STEMI (ST elevated myocardial infarction) or by personal favourite CABG (cabbage - Coronary artery bypass graft) - if you can imagine when you have 28 patients on a ward and you have to listen to handover for them all - it becomes second nature to use the terms abbreviated or acronyms !!! Imagine talking about a patient who has a history of 'MI - CABG with NAFLD and AAA' (myocardial infarction - Coranary artery bypass graft - non alcoholic fatty liver disease and abdominal aortic aneyurism πŸ€“πŸ€“πŸ€“) and you have about 10 minutes to do this in 😩😩😩

    I also use another site 'hep c forum' - now that would look like absolute gobbledygook to someone without Hepatis C but to the users - we all know what it means as we know the disease 😘😘😘😘

    I have attempted - very poorly - to find out more for 'cryptogenic cirrhosis' but as you have probably found already there isn't much about - even on my old nursey pages through 'Athens' - only thing that was of interest was a Power Point from Kings college hospital that said '70% of patients diagnosed with 'cryptogenic Cirrhosis' have 'NAFLD' (if I read it right 😁) oops - Non Alcoholic fatty Liver Disease (sorry πŸ˜‚) or might be other way round 😫😫😫 Brain is defo not working well today - my apologies - I will see if I can find it again 😧 - but I can do a post with the most used terms I have come across ?? If that would be any help 😘😘😘😘 I will try to write out in full - but can't promise anything as I have a lot going on in my silly head and when I start writing then I am usually 'off on one' and my fingers won't go as quick as my brain so the 'acronyms/abbreviations' will step in - but never ever be afraid to ask what they mean - always good to learn a new thing everyday πŸ˜‚β€οΈβ€οΈβ€οΈβ€οΈβ€οΈβ€οΈβ€οΈ

  • Dear Robswife,

    Thank you for all your efforts to find out more about cryptogenic liver disease – as you have found, there is very little information available about this rather undefined term. 'Cryptogenic' appears to be used to classify those whose disease is not attributable to identifiable causes such as alcohol use and Hepatitis C. This is why I made my original post 'Calling all cryptogenics'.

    I am well aware of why both professional medics and experienced lay people use acronyms: my point is that for people seeking information and advice, they can be a barrier to effective communication and that any contributor should not assume knowledge of what various specialist acronyms mean.

    PS can you supply a glossary of emoticons!

  • Dear Howard_Sherwood

    Robswifes posts are always full of emoticons! :) :) It's along with her style of writing and her posts are always very unique and it's like her signature way of writing and as identifiable as handwriting! Can always tell it's her through unique distinctive way she sprinkles her posts with emoticons :) You talked about alphabet soup and thats her salt and pepper!

    Yes it is confusing - I for one didnt understand what a TX was for ages but eventually worked it though! - its a bit like learning a new exclusive club language!

    All the Best,

  • So, what is a TX?

  • It's a Transplant - ( I think!)

  • Yep, TX is transplant. Our Transplant Coordinator signs our travel forms with TX Coordinator as her workplace designation.

  • Ah ha. On the Hep c forum TX is treatment. We live and learn.

    Actually, ahem, we are all right. It can be both

  • TX is treatment I think. No idea why! OMG 😜. TP is transplant. Probably. My iPad (sorry, don't know if that's an abbreviation or not) has auto correct on permanently and if I'm not watching it tries to be clever and type what it guesses I am about to type, often getting it wrong. Also the younger of us use "text speak", that's things like LOL which kind of lose their effect in full "laugh out loud".

    despite my being old and old fashioned I don't have a problem with liver abbreviations on a liver forum, like others I find it difficult with brain fog (another jargon term) to spell hepatic encepalotopotopopathy and use HE instead 😏😜😳

  • encepalotopotopopathy !!! thats a good one! but now I am confused to TX and TP? Perhaps Howard_Sherwood has a valid point after all - but still difficult to spell "encepalotopotopopathy" !! Nice one! x

  • Totally agree... I have no idea what some of the abbreviations are... This isn't a consultant's forum... Some of us have just been diagnosed.. It's unhelpful. Keep it straightforward please guys xxx

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