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Topical Vocabulary:


What might the doctor ask you: What’s the matter? What’s the problem? What’s wrong? What’s up? You don’t look very well. How did it happen? How do you know? Do you have health insurance? Are you taking any medication? Have you ever had any operations? Are you allergic to anything?

What’s the diagnosis? I’ve got a cold/ flu / hay fever/ diarrhea/ a hangover/ toothache/ a stomach-ache/ backache/ earache/ a headache/chickenpox/ mumps/ pneumonia/ rheumatism/ an ulcer/ a virus/ a bug/ you’ve broken your wrist and sprained (dislocated) your ankle/ you’re pregnant / a hypochondriac/ I feel sick/ I cut my finger/ I twisted my ankle/ I broke my arm/ I’ve got concussion/ I burnt my hand/ I’ve got a bruise/ a bullet wound/ a knife wound/ to have a black eye/ broken ribs/ frostbite/ a bad burn/ amnesia/ somnambulism/ insomnia/ maniac-depression/ schizophrenia/ melancholia/ paranoia/ an Oedipus complex/ an Electra complex.



What are the symptoms? I’ve got a cough/ a temperature/ a sore throat/ aching muscles/ sneezing, runny nose, sore eyes/ keeping going to the toilet/ vomiting/ headache/ chest pains/ a pain in my side/ a rash on my chest/ spots/ a bruise on my leg/ a black eye/ a lump on my arm/ indigestion/ diarrhea/ painful joints/blisters/ sunburn; to feel sick/dizzy/ breathless/ shivery/ faint; to be depressed/ constipated/ tired all the time; to loose appetite/ voice; can’t sleep; pain on eating/ pain (nausea) after eating/ my nose itches and my leg hurts/ swollen glands n front of the ear/ earache/burning pain in abdomen/ rapid breathing/ dry cough/ stiffness, limited movement/ it’s bleeding/ it’s very painful/ it’s swollen/ dandruff/ a blocked nose/ nosebleed/ hiccups/ stinging/ throbbing/ a stiff neck/ to be a bit feverish/ to have nauseous feeling/ to tremble all over/ bunged up nose/ dehydration/ tarry stool.

Sickness/ illness/ malady/ disease/ ailment/ disorder/ cause of illness/ aches/ pains/ wounds/ injuries/ cuts/ bruises/ injection/ ambulance, first aid, paramedics, to collide, to be shot, to be stabbed, to get into a fight, to get beaten up, to knock oneself unconscious, rush to hospital/ come out in/ blood transfusion/ amputation/ highly infectious/ injured/ keep fit/ operate on/ outbreak/ spread/ private patient/ stress-related/ recover from/ successfully treated/ regular exercise/ upset stomach/ relieve the pain/ visiting hours/ anaesthetic/ fight off/ to go down with/ get over it/ suffer from/ die of (from)/ healthcare, national insurance/ National Health Service/ prescription charge/ insurance schemes/ to go private/ be poorly, be on the mend, feel a bit under the weather/ be over the worst/ be back on one’s feet again/ come down with/ to look a bit off-colour/ to feel out of sorts/ dosage/ medication/ vaccination/ sick note/ donate blood/ cholesterol/ plaque/ offal/ to excrete/ fibre/ buffer/ gut/ cardiovascular/ diabetics/ glucose/ insulin/ mood enhancer (serotonin).

Serious Illnesses: lung (breast, prostate, cervix, womb, thyroid, bowel) cancer/ heart attack/ brain hemorrhage/ AIDS/ hepatitis/ asthma, diabetes, bronchitis, tuberculosis (TB), cholera, typhoid, haemophilia.


Phobias: ceraunophobia/ astraphobia/ophidiophobia/ nyctophobia/ acrophobia/ pyrophobia/ aquaphobia/ ailurophobia/ cynophobia/ agoraphobia/ triskaidekaphobia/ arachnophobia/ contreltophobia/ androphobia/ apiphobia/ autophobia/ aerophobia/ entomophobia (insectophobia)/ claustrophobia/.

Manias: pyromania/ dipsomania/ megalomania/ monomania/ kleptomania/ trichotillomania (trichotillosis)/ onychophagia/ dermatillomania/ dermatophagia.


Alternative medicine: acupuncture/ chiropractic/ herbal medicine (herbal healing)/ homeopathy/ aromatherapy/ hypnosis/ chromotherapy/ stonetherapy/ hippotherapy (animal therapy)/ raw food diet/ urine therapy/ leech therapy / starvation cure/ cryotherapy/ thalasso, SPA, joga.


Healing professions: The obstetrician practices obstetrics/ the pediatrician practices pediatrics/ the podiatrist (chiropodist) practices podiatry (chiropody)/ the osteopath practices osteopathy/ the ophthalmologist (oculist) practices ophthalmology/ the optometrist practices optometry/ the optician makes optical instruments/ the gynecologist practices gynecology/ the dermatologist specializes in dermatology/ the psychiatrist practices psychiatry/ the orthodontist specializes in orthodontia.


What do doctors do? They take your temperature, listen to your chest, look in your ears, examine you, take your blood pressure, ask you some questions and weigh and measure you before sending you to the hospital for further tests.

What does the doctor prescribe? Take one three times a day after meals/ take a teaspoonful last thing at night/rub a little on before going to bed each night/ get the nurse to put a bandage (a plaster, a sling, stitches) on/ need to have some injections/ fit for an operation/ have one’s leg put in plaster/ have total bed rest for a week/ to run a test/ blood test/ urinoscopy/ urine sample/ stool test/ feces analysis/ stool sample/ get a walking stick/ buy one of those nasal sprays/ put some cream (ointment, ice pack) on it and cover up/ clean it thoroughly with antiseptic/ bend your knees when you lift things/ try one of those special shampoos, gargle and try not to talk so much/ eat more slowly/ have physiotherapy/ get contact lenses, have a filling/.


Answer the questions: Have you had any of these illnesses recently? Have you had any aches and pains recently? Make a list of the ones you have had. Are there any other illnesses you have had or still have? What were the symptoms and what did the doctor prescribe? Have you ever broken your arm or leg? Have you ever needed stitches? Have you ever had concussion? Have you ever been unconscious? Have you ever had (run) tests? Have you ever been in an ambulance? Do people in your country worry about their health and keeping fit? Do you do anything to stay healthy? If so, what? What advice would you give to someone who suffers from stress? Think of other medical problems and give advice.

Vocabulary Exercises:


  1. Here are some of the best-known and least-wanted diseases and conditions, arranged according to where they strike or what causes them. In each group there is one that should not be there. Can you identify it?


The heart and blood vessels: poor circulation/ high blood pressure/ a stroke/ heart attack/ jaundice/ cardiac arrest/ heart failure;

The stomach and intestines: appendicitis/ stomach ulcer/ polio/ a hernia/ constipation;

Infectious fevers: measles/ chickenpox/ rubella/ smallpox/ pleurisy/ glandular fever/ yellow fever/ scarlet fever/ whooping cough/ influenza/ leprosy/ malaria;

The lungs and respiratory system: diphtheria/ catarrh/ sinusitis/ tonsillitis/ laryngitis/ asthma/ angina/ cholera/ bronchitis/ tuberculosis (TB), lung cancer;

The liver: gallstones/ cirrhosis of the liver/ hepatitis/ cancer of the liver/ coronary thrombosis;

The blood: anaemia/ pneumonia/ leukaemia/ a haemorrhage/ a blood clot;

Food poisoning: typhoid/ dysentery/ diarrhea and vomiting/ salmonella/ mumps;

The joints: rheumatism/ enteritis/ arthritis/ fibrositis;

The nervous system: migraine/ epilepsy (epileptic fits)/ Parkinson’s disease/ multiple sclerosis/ muscular dystrophy;

Mental disorders: schizophrenia/ maniac depression/ neurosis/ paranoia.



  1. Write down the main symptom or symptoms for these conditions: a cold, flu, hay fever, a hangover, diarrhea, asthma, pneumonia, rheumatism, chickenpox, mumps, an ulcer, tuberculosis, dysentery, leprosy, appendicitis, cardiac arrest, malaria, diphtheria, hepatitis, a haemorrhage, salmonella, haemophilia.


  1. What are the causes for the following conditions?

Cancer, heart attack, hepatitis, AIDS, asthma, salmonella, arthritis, cirrhosis of the liver, angina, cholera, constipation, malaria, haemophilia.


  1. Which Specialist would you visit if:

You have a painful corn. You need eyeglasses. Your baby has the colic. You need a doctor to deliver your baby. A friend of years has had a complete mental collapse. A child you know has crooked teeth. A woman is suffering from female disorders. You are troubled with a skin rash. You have an eye disease that needs expert attention. You have an illness which you believe can be cured by bone manipulation.


  1. Fill the gaps with a suitable word:

I hit my hand on the desk and it really…..

They say she died of a heart…..

She had some apples that weren’t ready to eat and now she’s got stomach-….

I’ve got this terrible … in my neck from sleeping in the wrong position.

He died of ….. cancer even though he never smoked a cigarette in his life.

I went to the doctor, and she gave me a …. for some tablets.

Pollution makes her … worse and it’s difficult for her to breathe.

There are different forms of hepatitis; one is a more serious …. than the other.

I ….. myself when I fell off that chair.

My back …. from sitting at that computer all day.

We go jogging every morning to ….

He took some time to … …. the effects of the anaesthetic.

Hospital….. ….. are from 2 to 4 in the afternoon and from 6 to 8 in the evening.

Six people were killed and twenty ….. in the accident.

I think my ……. was due to nerves, not something I’d eaten.

As a …… …, I can choose when to have my operation.

This medicine should ….. .. and help you to get to sleep.

Unless more money is provided for the … … hospital waiting lists will continue to grow.

There could be an ……of cholera if they drink any contaminated water.

The spots ….. from his chest to the rest of his body.

The disease is …. … so she’s in an isolation ward.

Many patients have been …… …… with this drug since it was introduced two years ago.

They’ll have to …. .. my arm again if it doesn’t improve.

I’m allergic to strawberries. They make me …………. in a rash.

I’m getting more and more patients with ……. symptoms. Life is really much too hectic these days.

If you take ….. ….. and cut down on the number of cakes and sweets you eat, you’ll feel much healthier.

I can’t take penicillin; I’m……….. it.

Before you take those pills, read the label to see what the correct…………. is.

I’m going abroad next month so I have to get the necessary……………….

If you consult a new doctor you should tell him or her if you are already on any…………

Did the doctor give you a…….? Do you want me to take it to the chemist’s for you?

I told the doctor my……., but I don’t think she was listening.

The doctor gave me a ……. for my employer. I was off work for two weeks.


  1. What do you think the doctor said to each of the following patients:

Anne with bad sunburn.

Jo who’s broken her leg.

John who’s off to the tropics.

Paul with flu.

Liz with a bad cough.

Sam who needs his appendix out.

Rose suffering from exhaustion.

Alf who’s sprained his wrist.

Dad’s backache.

Younger brother cut his finger.

You suffering from dandruff.

Granny suffering from indigestion.

You close friend with a blocked nose and a sore throat.

Nanny with a swollen ankle.


  1. These exchanges between doctor and patient have been mixed up. Decide which response should follow which question. Read them aloud in pairs:
1. I’ve been suffering from insomnia lately. Do you think I might be heading for a nervous breakdown? a. Possible. Try this lotion for a few days to stop the itching, then start putting on this powder at night.
2. I seem to have some sort of stye or infection in my right eye. Do you think I might have conjunctivitis? b. Unlikely, but I’ll let you have some cough mixture to relieve the symptoms. You can get yourself some lozenges, if you like.
3. I can’t stop scratching this place on my foot. Do you think it’s athlete’s foot? c. I would doubt it. Here, rub this cream in for the next few nights to help reduce the swelling.
4. I’ve got a rather sore throat, and I keep feeling a bit flushed. Do you think it could be flu? d. No, of course not. But I’ll prescribe some barbiturates – sleeping pills- to help you get a good night’s rest. OK?
5. I’ve got a big bump on the back of my head. Do you think it might be more than a bruise? e. I wouldn’t have thought so. But I’ll give you a prescription for some drops to try and clear it up.
6. I keep getting shooting pains down my shin and ankle. Is it possible that I’ve broken or sprained something? f. Well, the X-ray didn’t show anything. If it’s so painful, you’d better have some crutches to walk with and some painkillers to ease the pain.
7. I’ve got a dull ache in my arm and occasionally I get a spasm. Could it be a minor fracture, a chipped bone or something? g. Mm, sounds a bit like it. I’ll make you out a prescription for some penicillin, and some menthol inhalations might speed up the recovery.
8. I’ve got these tiny little bumps all over the back of my neck. Do you think it might be gland trouble? h. It’s just possible. I’ll strap it up anyway and put it in a sling. That should reduce your discomfort quite a lot.
9. I’ve come out in a rash on my chest. Do you think it could be a skin disease like impetigo or dermatitis? i. Oh, I shouldn’t think so, but I think perhaps you ought to start taking these tranquillisers, to at least get your blood pressure down.
10. I keep getting a short of breath. Is there any way I could be suffering from asthma? j. Oh no, no, no. You’d know if it was. I’ll give you some ointment to rub in to get rid of the inflammation.
11. I think I’ve got an ulcer in my mouth. Do you think it could be a sign that I’m run down? k. probably not. I’ll put you on a course of tablets to prevent them from spreading. They should go soon.
12. I feel so feverish, and I’m sure I’ve got a temperature. I’m so afraid that there’s something wrong with my heart. l. It might well be. I’ll put you on antibiotics for a while anyway, to lessen the risk of serious infection.



  1. What medical problems might you have if…

you wear shoes that rub; you eat too fast; you smoke a lot; you play football; you go skiing; you stay too long in the sun; you eat food you’re allergic to; you run unusually fast for a bus; you eat food that is bad; a mosquito bites you; you get wet on a cold day, you think you’re ill all the time?


  1. Complete the following table:
noun adjective verb


  1. Correct the mistakes in the sentences:

She was feeling out of the weather and a bit fevering so she took the day off.

I felt really off my colour yesterday and my head was throwing, so I took a tablet.

I felt a bit off the sorts and seemed to have more pains and aches than usual.

My arms are hurting after carrying that heavy suitcase of yours.


  1. Rewrite the underlined parts of these sentences using words and phrases from the topical vocabulary:

I was feeling quite as if I had a high temperature.

The drugs always gave her a feeling that she wanted to vomit.

I felt as if my head was spinning and went and lay down for an hour.

My nose was blocked so I got a spray from the chemist.

I got a pain in my neck from driving a long time in an awkward position.

Joanna was shaking and looked unwell, so I asked her if she needed help.


  1. Choose the most appropriate word underlined:

These tablets make you feel dazed/ dozy/ drowsy so don’t drive.

I’ve been working for twelve hours and I feel exhausting/ tiresome/ worn out.

After I drank a cup of black coffee I felt wide awake/ awoken/ woken.

The doctor said I was all in/ run down/ stale and gave me some vitamins.

Bill’s father is a / an disabled/ handicapped/ invalid and doesn’t go out much.

After walking for miles over the mountains, my feet were limp/ sore/ sprained.

Ann needs a holiday. She has been under a lot of depression/ pain/ stress lately.

The authorities are worried about the increase in drug abuse/ disuse/ misuse.

I told the doctor that climbing the stairs left me catching/ gasping/ panting for breath.

Mary spent a week in bed with a/ an attack/ case/ outbreak of rheumatism.

I don’t want to be rude, so I’ll just say he is a bit flabby/ plump/ overweight/ obese.

Keith was taken/ fallen/ diagnosed/ considered ill during the wedding reception.

Can we visit her in hospital, or is what she’s got unhygienic/ catching/ influential/ contaminating.

Ouch! I’ve just been bitten/ poisoned/ hit/ stung by a bee!

Don’t itch/ tear/ scratch/ grate your head, Jimmy. You’ll make it sore!

The old man tripped/ collapsed/ fell/ tumbled and died while watching the football match.

Helen spoke for so long at the conference that she became hoarse/ speechless/ dumb/ inarticulate.

After the dentist extracted my tooth I was in peril/ suffering/ agony/ aches.

I do admire Karen’s figure. She’s so lovely and thin/ skinny/ shapeless/ slim.

I am being cured/ healed/ tend/ treated for my bad back by a physiotherapist.



  1. Match the words in the box with the explanations given:
ambulance, bandage, emergency, casualty, plaster, operating theatre, stretcher, surgery, crutch, ward


This is a large room with beds in a hospital.

This is where you visit a doctor.

This is dangerous and unexpected and requires immediate action.

This supports a person who has difficulty in walking.

This is a vehicle used for transporting the sick.

This is put around broken limbs to immobilize them.

This is used for carrying people who are unable to walk.

This is where a surgeon works.

This is used for wrapping wounds.

This is someone injured in an accident.


  1. Match everyday sentences with more formal vocabulary given in the box:
She was resting to recover from being ill. She felt a bit funny. She passed out. She was drunk. She broke her arm. She got worse. She was feeling low. She was sick. She was expecting a baby. She couldn’t sleep. She fractured it. She vomited. Her condition deteriorated. She was convalescing. She suffered from insomnia. She fainted. She was pregnant. She was depressed. She was intoxicated. She was unwell.


  1. Complete the text, using the correct form of the word in brackets. Make all the words negative and make any other necessary changes.

He’ll live till dies

Not everyone cares about their health. Take my uncle Janek for example. He is the most ………. (health) person I know. We have tried to …….. (courage) him smoking and sitting in front of the television all day, but he won’t listen. Once he tried to get fit by jogging, but he had an …… (fortune) accident and broke his leg. After this, he was …… (able) to get up from the sofa for weeks. Of course, he wasn’t too disappointed about this but his wife was very ……(happy) as she had to put up with him at home all day. She says lying at home doing nothing is a …….(grace) and that he is setting a bad example to his children. His wife believes he is ….. (capable) of doing anything right and the way he lives is ….( satisfy), but he says there’s nothing to worry about, as “he’ll live till he dies.”


  1. Read the passages below and fill in the gaps using the words/phrases from the box:
giving up, country, polluted, crash diet, calories, exercise, drive, junk food, sedentary life style, preservatives, balanced diet, stressed


  1. Many of us today live in a noisy, 1)…… city environment, becoming 2)……… as we rush from one task to another in our busy lives. We often snack on 3)…… because we don’t have time to eat a proper meal. We 4)….. to our workplaces, then sit at a desk a day – in fact, we have a completely 5)……….. . When then get fat, and go on a 6)……….. or console ourselves by smoking and drinking more than we should.
  2. There is a growing awareness of health among today’s youth. People today are becoming more health-conscious, and some people are even moving back to the 7)……. To live in a cleaner environment. Emphasis is placed on a carefully 8)……… with lots of fresh fruit and vegetables, coupled with an avoidance of food with artificial 9)…….. . Intake of 10)…….. is also more closely monitored and gentle and gentle physical 11)…… is preferred to strenuous activities like jogging. Needless to say, more people than ever before are 12)…… smoking.

Which of these two lifestyles is closest to your own? Which of the factors mentioned contribute most to good/bad health?

  1. Agree or disagree with the following comments. Explain why.

“The most important thing in life is health, so we should take care of ourselves”.

“There are health risks everywhere, so we may as well just do what we like”.


  1. State the “maniac”, described by each of the following sentences:

He can’t take one drink and then stop. She suffers from compulsive skin picking. He is mentally deranged on one subject. She is apt to steal any little object that she sees. She suffers from compulsive urge to pull out her hair. He imagines he is God. It’s dangerous to leave him alone with matches. He suffers from compulsive biting his skin around the fingers. She suffers from compulsive nail biting.


  1. Who would be most likely to say the following?

“What a night! I didn’t sleep a wink!”; “I walked around the room last night? Why, I was fast asleep.”; “ Who am I? I’ve completely forgotten my name.”; “I don’t care what the doctor says. I know I’ve got heart trouble”; “I can’t live in an apartment on the fifth floor. Isn’t there anything vacant lower down?”; “I’m getting out of here. This place is so small I think the walls are going to crush me!”; “No thanks, I can’t go fishing with you on that enormous lake. It goes on forever!”; “Help! I’m about to faint!”; “No, we’ll go only by train!”; “Boys on the party? No! Never! There’s only SEX in their heads!”.


  1. Guess the disturbance due to the problem area: grandeur, illnesses, sleepwalking, one single obsession, hilarity followed by gloom, fire, no contact with reality, persecution, attachment to mother, bees, loneliness, sex harassment, thievery, open areas, plains, males, spiders, high places, confined areas, memory, liquor, attachment to father, overwhelming sadness, water, sleeplessness, insects.


  1. Guess the word due to the definition:

continued gloom and depression; moods of violent excitement, alternating with black depression; loss of memory; walking and performing other actions during sleep; uncontrollable craving for alcoholic liquor.


Date: 2015-01-12; view: 3384

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