How to Talk About Health Problems

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How to talk about health problems

In life one of the most important things you can do is to look after your health. When we have a health problem we can go and see a doctor. Here we take a look at the English you need to discuss bad health. Making an appointment

When you are feeling unwell, you need to see a doctor. Unfortunately, doctors are busy people so you have to make an appointment. This involves calling (or visiting) the doctor's clinic and making an appointment with the receptionist. When you make an appointment you arrange a date and a time when you can see the doctor. 'Good morning. I'd like to make an appointment to see the doctor today.' 'The doctor is busy this morning, but he is free this afternoon. Is 2 o'clock OK?' Symptoms

When you see the doctor he (or she) might ask you 'What's wrong?' or 'What's the problem?' A more specialized question is 'What are your symptoms?' Symptoms are any feelings of illness or discomfort which are caused by a health problem. E.g. If you had the flu (influenza) your symptoms would be a fever, a runny nose and I have been coughing. The doctor might also ask 'When did the symptoms start?'

After telling the doctor your symptoms he will tell you the name of your problem. A diagnosis is when a doctor tells you the medical name of your problem. For example, you tell your doctor your symptoms: 'I have a fever, a runny nose and I have been sneezing.' Your doctor says: 'My diagnosis is that you have the flu.' Explaining your problem

Look at these two forms we can use to talk about our health problems: 'I have been coughing a lot these days / recently / for the last few days / since yesterday.' (PRESENT PERFECT CONTINUOUS)

'I have a cough.' (PRESENT SIMPLE)
Both of these are used to describe our health problems. The present perfect continuous is used to show that something started in the past and is still happening now. We use 'I have been + -ing verb.' Other examples of this form...
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