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Health Problems English Vocabulary


The most common ways to ask about someone’s health are:

  • How do you feel (today)?
  • How are you feeling?
  • Is everything okay?

They will most likely respond:

  • I’m fine.
  • I feel sick.
  • Not so good.
  • Not very well.
  • I don’t feel well.
  • I’m sick.

When you see (or hear) that they are not well, then you can ask:

  • What’s the matter?
  • What’s wrong?

If the person wants to say what is wrong, they may give the reason they feel that way:

  • I have … (+ health condition)
  • I’ve got … (+ health condition)
  • I have a headache
  • I’ve got a sore throat.

    ESL List of Health Problems

    The following is a list of common health problems (ailments and illnesses) with the definition of each word or expression:

    an allergy: a medical condition that causes you to react badly or feel sick when you eat or touch a particular substance.

    asthma: a respiratory condition where spasms in the lungs cause difficulty in breathing. An asthmatic uses an inhaler to calm the spasms.

    a backache: a prolonged pain in the back.

    a broken leg: when a bone in the leg is broken. A broken leg is put in a cast to help immobilize the leg so that it heals quicker. Other parts of the body with bones can also be broken, for example a broken arm, a broken wrist etc.

    cancer: a serious disease caused by an uncontrolled division of abnormal cells that kill normal body cells in a part of the body.

    a cold: a common viral infection which causes mucus to run from the nose, gives a sore throat and often includes sneezing.

    a cough: the act of expelling air from the lungs with a sudden sharp sound.

    diarrhoea: (America English: diarrhea) an illness in which faeces are discharged from the bowels frequently and in a liquid form.

    an earache: pain inside the ear.

    a fever: an abnormally high body temperature, usually accompanied by shivering and a headache.

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