How to Talk about Health Problems in English
Learning how to talk about health problems is very important when you have to go to the doctor or call for help.
To be able to talk about health problems, you need to be familiar with key vocabulary and structures such as:
- Key vocabulary about diseases,disorders and injuries.
- Common questions to ask for someone’s health
- Structures to give recommendations about Health Problems
Vocabulary: Diseases, Disorders and Injuries
This is key vocabulary about diseases, disorders and injuries and other health related problems.
- Skin: skin irritation, skin inflammation, redness, tenderness, swelling, rash, itching, acne, pimple, blister, burn, scar, scratch
- Eye: nearsightedness, farsightedness,conjunctivitis, , cataract.
- Ear: wax blockage, hearing loss, earache, ruptured eardrum.
- Nose, throat, lungs: nosebleed, runny nose, stuffy nose, rhinitis, hay fever, sinusitis, a cold, laryngitis, bronchitis, pneumonia, asthma.
- Heart and circulation: high blood pressure, heart disease, heart failure, heart attack, cardiac arrest.
- Blood: anemia, bleeding, internal bleeding, hemorrhage, leukemia.
- Brain and nervous system: headache, migraine, dizziness , meningitis, epilepsy, convulsions, seizure, stroke, paralysis, cerebral palsy, dementia.
- Nutrition: vitamin deficiency , obesity, to be overweight, weight loss, anorexia, bulimia.
- Stomach, intestines: indigestion, upset stomach, diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, gastritis, colitis, appendicitis, cholera.
- Liver: hepatitis, , cirrhosis.
- Kidneys: kidney stones.
- Bones, joints: backache / back pain,osteoporosis, arthritis.
- Muscles: muscle spasm, muscle cramp, muscular dystrophy, hernia.
- Injuries: injury, wound, trauma, hand injury, knee injury, foot injury, head injury, concussion, contusion, fracture, fractured bone, sprained ankle, bruise to have a broken arm.
- General infections: the flu / influenza, tuberculosis, tetanus, rabies, yellow fever,, smallpox, anthrax.
- Infectious diseases: measles, polio, chicken pox, scarlet fever.
- Hormonal disorders: diabetes.
- Oncology: benign tumor, malignant tumor, cancer, lung cancer, breast cancer, stomach cancer, skin cancer.
- Mental disorders: depression, phobia, schizophrenia.
- Addictions: alcohol abuse, drug abuse.
Questions to Ask about Someone’s Health
These are the four most common question to ask about someone’s health.
- What’s the matter?
- What’s wrong?
- How do you feel today?
- How are you feeling?
Phrases to Talk about Health Problems – Going to the Doctor
Grammar to Describe your symptons
These are some of the most common ways to talk about the health problems you might have.
Pronoun + Have /has + an /an + health problem
|I have a stiff neck||I don’t have a stiff neck|
|I have a twisted ankle||I don’t have a twisted ankle|
|I have an ear infection||I don’t have an ear infection|
|She has a runny nose||She doesn’t have a runny nose|
|He has a deep cut||He doesn’t have a deep cut|
|He has a sore throat||He doesn’t have a sore throat|
|You have a chest pain||You don’t have a chest pain|
|They have a broken leg||They don’t have a broken leg|
Grammar to Describe an Accident You Had
When you talk about an accident you had, you have to make those sentences using the simple past.
In the following chart, it is shown how to make affirmative and negative sentences using the simple past.
Pronoun + broke + my/ her/ his + health problem
|I broke my leg||I didn’t break my leg|
|I broke my arm||I didn’t break my arm|
|She broke her right left||She didn’t break her right left|
|He broke her right arm||He didn’t break her right arm|
|He broken his leg||He didn’t break his leg|
Other Phrases to Describe your Symptoms when Going to the Doctor
|I can’t sleep because my head aches too bad|
|I feel very sick, I don’t think I can work today.|
|He is covered in Bruises|
|She had such a high temperature|
|Our daughter has been diagnosed with cancer|
|She can’t come to school, she’s in bed with a cold|
|I think I caught a cold on the ice rink yesterday.|
|She says her stomach is still sore after the operation.|
|He injured his finger when he was cutting the meat.|
|I had such a horrible headache last night that I took two pain killers.|
|I’m afraid I’m pregnant; I vomit after getting up every morning.|
How to Give Recommendations about Health Problems
This is the way to give recommendations to others when they talk about the health problems they have.
Pronoun + should +verb + article+ recommendation
- You should drink plenty of water
- You should take some medications
- She should take antibiotics for eight days before the tooth extraction
- You should drink a hot soup
- He should wear a knee-pad no matter what physical activity he does
- You should take vitamin C
- You should rest
- You should take some rest
- You should take a painkiller
- You should apply a Ice Pack in the back of your neck
These are some other ways to give recommendations
- You can take an aspirin for pain.
- You can take some time off
- You could try drinking more water.
- You could try resting more
- You may want to eat less.
- You may want to quit smoking
- You might want to exercise more.
- You might want to quit drinking
- I would take some time off if I were you.
- I would start doing more exercises if I were you
Types of Doctors
These are some of the kind of doctors that you will find working in a clinic or hospital
- Cardiologist: A heart doctor
- Dermatologist: A skin doctor
- Dentist: A doctor who treats teeth
- Obstetrician: A doctor for female patients before and during pregnancy (c
- Optometrist: An eye doctor
- Orthopedic Doctor A doctor who specialise in bones
- Pediatrician: A doctor for children
- Surgeon: A doctor who performs operations
Doctor and Patient Conversations
|Patient: Good morning. Doctor Johnson?|
|Doctor: Hi, How can I help you Mr Smith?|
|Patient: I’ve been having a back pain|
|Doctor: How long have you been having the pain?|
|Patient: I have been having this pain during the whole week|
|Doctor: Are you having any other problems along with the back pain?|
|Patient: It is just the back pain that is killing me|
|Doctor: OK. Let’s have a look. Can you point to the area where you are having pain?|
|Patient: It hurts right here in the lower back.|
|Doctor: Did you do any physical activity last week?|
|Patient: Yes, I helped my sister move into a new apartment|
|Doctor: It seems you have some inflammation but it is nothing serious|
|Patient: That’s a relief|
|Doctor: Just take some ibuprofen and the swelling should go down. You’ll feel better after that.|
|Patient: Thank you!|
Health Problems – Production
There are several ideas to make students use the target vocabulary and phrases creatively
- Create a Powerpoint presentation and include pictures of common diseases, illnesses and sickness studied in class, show the picture to your students and ask them to make sentences such as:
- She has a broken leg
- He has a runny nose
- Create a Powerpoint presentation and include pictures of common diseases, illnesses and sickness studied in class, show the picture to your students and ask them to give recommendations
- She should go to the doctor
- She has to take a rest
Check some of these lessons before you go:
- How to Describe Physical Appearance in English
- How to Talk about Hobbies in English
- How to Greet and Introduce Yourself in English
- How to Talk about Sport in English
Check some of these pronunciation resources before you go:
And finally bookmark these posts as they can help you later
- The Most Common Phrasal Verbs in English
- The Most Common Idioms in English