Talking about DISEASE in English – Learn Medical Terms & Vocabulary

Medical vocabulary is always complicated when it comes to talk about a disease. In today’s spoken English lesson with Rachna, you will understand some essential medical terms to talk about diseases confidently and fluently in English. Use the words from this English lesson in your English conversation appropriately. We hope this English Practice lesson would help you expand your vocabulary and improve your English speaking skills.

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Complete Lesson Transcript :-

Hi Friends, Yesterday I was reading a newspaper and I came across a sentence that says, there is an epidemic of flu. Epidemic? What do you mean by epidemic? Well it is nothing but a wide spread or a disease that is happening to a lot of people at the same given time. Yes we come across a lot of medical expressions ya, medical terminologies and we often get confused as to what does this mean. Or sometimes you visit your doctor and he uses certain words, basic medical words but you kind of get confused and you really don’t know what point he is trying to make. So in today’s lesson we are going to learn about few expressions or terminologies that you use pertaining to disease of illness. Well the first one is acute, Now what you mean by acute? Supposing I have pain in my left arm, okay? And it comes for some time during the day my arm hurts its intense okay? And it goes away probably with a pain killer or you know with applying some ointment. But it’s not been there for a very long time, say may be two or three days. So when I go to the doctor, I’m gonna tell him, I have an acute pain in my left arm. That means it’s for a short period of time. It is intense. So when you have pain that is for a short period and it is, it could be pretty intense it comes quickly and we say it is acute. The medical term used is “I have acute pain.” Now there are people who have headaches, okay so it comes for a short period and it’s pretty intense, then they could tell the doctor I have this acute headache and it really disturbs me while I’m working. That means it’s a short period but intense pain. Now likewise we have “Chronic” which is exactly the opposite of acute. So something that has been going on for a long period of time, or has been happening for a long time, you call it chronic. So if you have been suffering from a disease for a long period of time. You say I have, it is chronic. So now imagine I have been working out at the gym for a very long time and I have developed this backache, and it’s pretty unbearable, so when I go to the doctor, it’s been there for a long time, but I have kind of overlooked it, and not really done something about it. When I go to the doctor I’m gonna tell him, I have this chronic backache, that means he will understand, that umm, you know I have been suffering from this back ache for a very long time. So well depending on whether it’s short or long term you use the words, Acute and Chronic. Now the next one is congenital. Congenital is a condition it could be an illness or a disease that you have from birth its inborn it’s in it. Now one of the most common congenital medical conditions that you fine is the hole in the heart. A lot of children unfortunately are born with a hole in their heart. And as they grow and the doctor examines, um you know and they want to tell the parents, that this hole has been there since birth. They use the word congenital. Okay? So when a doctor says congenital, it means that the disease or it could be you know an element or anything like for example the hole in the heart has been there since the birth of the child. Yeah so that is the time you use the term, congenital. Alright friends, so be aware and now you know what congenital means. The next one is “Degenerative” Now degenerative means something that advances. Yeah take for example cancer, if someone is detected with cancer at the 3rd or 4th stage, at the doctor feels there is no turning back it is irreversible and probably it’s just too late to treat it they use the word degenerative. That the condition the disease just gets worse. It advances. So when he says it’s a degenerative disease, what he tries to tell you is, it is going to get worse with time. Well so I have a friend of mine and her uncle is suffering from cancer, and well she was pretty low yesterday because after the check-up and the entire, you know examination the doctor said that he is suffering form I mean the cancer is degenerative that means it’s just going to get worse. Now the next one is Epidemic. So we do have these periods where you have a you know say for example, the most common fever that was or disease rather that was the dengue, some call it dengue some call it dengue, the, the bite by the mosquito that leads to fever and it weakens you and in many cases it has led to death. So dengue is epidemic flu is epidemic or there is an epidemic flu, now epidemic means a disease that is wide spread and is happening to a lot of people at the same time. Yeah so there was this time we had dengue or dengue, however you pronounce it, is ah, it was epidemic because a lot of people were suffering from dengue at the same time. So when a disease is rampant its, its wide spread and lot of people suffer, we say its epidemic, right? So for example even for flu so we go to the doctor, and he examines you and he says oh you’ve got flu, nothing to worry about its epidemic right now that means a lot of people are suffering. It’s like an outbreak. Well the next one is Terminal. Now terminal means um disease that is going to lead to death. It’s going to terminate your life it’s going to end your life. Now sometimes doctors don’t want to be very blunt and say oh he’s going to die or you know there is no way out. So they use the word terminal. So if he says that say for example he says, John is suffering from something that is going to take his life or cost his life, he will say John has a terminal illness. Now a terminal illness means that is going to terminate your life at some point of time. That means it is not curable probably or maybe they can to very little to help you know keep the person alive. As long as they can by way of medicines or a surgery, whatever works but at the end of the day doctors is trying to tell you that there is not much that they can do. Now that could be because that the disease, has advanced to that stage or probably you’ve caught it too late, so when someone says or a doctor tells you that this disease is terminal or this illness is terminal, that means it is going to cost you, your life. Okay friends? So remember these are the few medical terms that you should be well acquainted with. The next one is refractory. Now supposing you are suffering from a disease and you have started medication, and if, if it’s a long term medication say about 6 months like for example tuberculosis, TB, you have medication for 6 months and you kind of go for your regular check-us your X-rays, your doctor kind of sees how well the medicine is working and sometimes they feel the medicine isn’t working. There is like there is no improvement in your health condition. And then they say if the disease is refractory that means it is resisting the drugs and basically the drugs are not working on you. So if the disease is refractory well it could be something to worry about because that means the medicines are not working. Yes friends, so when the doctor says umm my, even after 3 months of medication, umm the disease seems refractory that means the medicines are actually not helping. There is no improvement in the health condition despite the medication. Yes now we have first / second now you have third degree now this is basically used for burns. If you get a burn, okay… so you have a first degree burn that means a very normal burn, which could be just taken care of with the help of first aid. Second degree burn is something that is not as its little more advanced that the first degree burn, okay and you definitely need medical help and the third degree burn is something that is very intense and requires a lot of medical help it could even mean surgery. So when you say first degree, second degree or a third degree burn it means, they kind of classify the intensity of the burn, okay? So just for example you get burnt at home and it’s not that bad but you want to seek medical help your doctor tells you don’t worry it’s just a first degree burn. That means it just needs a little treatment and you will be fine. If he says that it’s a second degree burn, then it needs more time to heal and needs more care. And third degree definitely could mean really intense and could require surgery. So watch out and pay attention to what the doctor says, to exactly know what degree burn you have, alright? Okay now we have a word saying invasive, now if an illness invasive that mans it can spread it can spread to entire body, it can spread, so um when the doctor says that this illness is invasive that means it can spread throughout your body yeah and that is a little scary so it means it will invade into your other parts or other organs of the body and that means you are in deep trouble. But if he says non-invasive that means it will not spread to other parts of the body or the other organs. So this is how they say um they use words instead of spread wand will not spread, they use the word invasive. And on non-invasive in case illness will not spread. So for example if you have a rash you have a skin rash and uh the doctor feels it will not spread, he will say it’s a non-invasive rash you needn’t worry I will treat it I mean I will treat it accordingly, and if its invasive he will tell you this is invasive you need to take more care of it. Right? So friends these are the basic medical terminologies that you must know well I hope you don’t have to speak about it very often and all your friends and family are hell ‘n’ hearty none the less if you have to or when you visit the doctor when you kind of read medical reports or you read newspapers you will come across the words and I’m sure now you know what they mean. I hope you enjoyed watching this lesson I’ll be back soon with a new lesson till then take care and bye.

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