RELATED VOCABULARY: Talking about health

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In this lesson, we are focusing on vocabulary used to describe health – people that work in the health service, common illnesses, types of healthcare and more.
IELTS vocabulary for healthTake a look at the list below. How many words do you know? We will soon be adding vocabulary exercises to these pages, but for now, we hope the lists help!
Types of healthcare

  • Alternative healthcare – this is a term used by many western countries to describe more traditional types of healthcare that do not involve operations and pharmaceutical drugs. For example, acupuncture (see below).
  • Western medicine  – the type of medical treatment that is the most popular in North America and many European countries, based on the use of drugs and surgery to treat signs of illness.

Types of treatment / therapy

  • Acupuncture – needles are inserted into the body at certain pressure points
  • Chemotherapy – fighting a disease using toxic chemical substances (commonly used against cancer)
  • Naturopathy – using natural ingredients (flowers etc) to heal sickness.

The people involved

  • Medical practitioner – this is a formal term for a doctor or surgeon.
  • Surgeon – a medical specialist who can perform surgery (cut open part of the body)
  • specialist – someone who has a deep understanding of a specific area of something (e.g. a cancer specialist).
  • Patient – the person who is unwell and needs medical attention
  • Emergency services – this can refer to the fire department, the police or ambulance staff.

Stages of healthcare

  • Symptoms – these are the signs of illness. For example, a headache and high temperature can be symptoms of a fever.
  • Rehabilitation – this is the period after an illnesses or surgery where the patient is trying to return to their normal health or abilities. E.g. after a limb is removed, the patient will need to go through extensive rehabilitation to learn to move around freely.

Miscellaneous vocabulary for health

  • Immunity – a body’s ability to not be affected by an illness or disease.
  • Addiction – a state where a person is unable to stop doing something (e.g. an addiction to smoking).
  • Theatre (UK English) Theater (US English) – the place where surgeries are carried out.

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