Your Ultimate Guide to Conditions, Illnesses, and Diseases in Spanish
Knowing how to discuss certain details of disease in Spanish is a crucial skill set for travelers, volunteers, and medical students. In fact, international medical programs are a common reason why you’ll need to learn about diseases in Spanish as you travel through Latin America or Spain while helping people in need.
Even if you don’t plan to go abroad on a medical program, Spanish is the second most spoken language in the US, with over 41 million citizens speaking Spanish at home!
Medical students who know the most common forms of disease in Spanish will benefit from this knowledge, especially since knowing some basic medical Spanish can be the deciding factor when you apply for internships and external projects.
Understanding your patients is an essential ability that every medical professional should seek to achieve.
If you’re not in the medical field, knowing medical Spanish, body parts in Spanish, and being able to talk about disease in Spanish also opens opportunities for volunteering as a translator, and it will be a great help if you’re ever abroad and in trouble.
In this blog post, you’ll learn vocabulary related to conditions, illnesses, and diseases in Spanish that are the most common. While this is in no way a medical guide, it’s a useful introduction to basic medical Spanish that you can use to broaden your vocabulary.
Conditions vs Illness vs Disease
Conditions, illnesses, and diseases are words used to describe different kinds of medical problems people face on a daily basis. While these words may have similar meanings, the subtle distinctions they have are important to know.
Conditions, or las afecciones are diseases that affect a specific part of the body. There are different conditions that affect body parts such as the heart, throat, and eyes that we’ll look at.
Illnesses are periods of sickness that affect the body or mind. Illness can’t be cured, but they can be managed! The pain, discomfort, or weakness caused by an illness can be mitigated. Doctors often help patients feel better as they let the illness run its course.
Diseases are abnormal states that affect the function of all or part of an organism. These can be caused by external pathogens or internal dysfunctions. Diseases are not directly caused by an injury, and unlike illnesses, diseases can generally be cured!
Conditions: Las afecciones
Las afecciones affect specific body parts. Knowing the most common conditions is important for medical professionals and volunteers who want to learn Spanish. Since they’re likely to encounter any of these during their practice, having a list of common conditions is like having an umbrella ready in your car for rainy days.
|High blood pressure
|La hipertensión arterial
|Coronary heart disease
|La cardiopatía coronaria
|La enfermedad cerebrovascular
|La insuficiencia cardiaca
|Rheumatic heart disease
|La cardiopatía reumática
|La cardiopatía congénita
Afecciones de la Garganta
Afecciones de los Ojos
|Los errores refractivos
|La retinopatía diabética
The Management of Illnesses in Spanish
Knowing how to talk about managing illnesses and disease in Spanish is very important for any volunteer or medical professional that’s out in the field. Let’s take a look at vocabulary related to treatments and illness management.
Treatments Vocabulary in Spanish
|La terapia hormonal
|Los cuidados paliativos
|La terapia de anticuerpos
|Stem cell therapy
|La terapia de células madre
WHO’s Top 10 Deadly Diseases in Spanish
This list of diseases in Spanish comes from the WHO top 10 most deadly diseases in the world.
|Ischaemic heart disease
|La cardiopatía isquémica
|La afección cerebrovascular
|Lower respiratory infections
|Las infecciones de las vías respiratorias Inferiores
|Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease
|La enfermedad pulmonar obstructiva crónica
|Las enfermedades diarreicas
|El derrame cerebral
|Prematurity and low birth weight
|La prematuridad y bajo peso al nacer
How to Describe Side Effects and Symptoms of Disease in Spanish
Side effects are the negative effects that medications sometimes have on a particular person. Los efectos secundarios are important to know in case you need to describe them in a medical setting. Symptoms, or síntomas, are alterations that manifest the existence of disease and they’re used to determine its nature. Here’s a list of common side effects and symptoms of disease in Spanish.
|La reacción alérgica
|El salpullido / La irritación
|Las ronchas / La irritación
|La comezón / La picazón
|Shortness of breath
|La falta de aire
|Los dolores musculares
|La boca seca
|El dolor de cabeza
|El malestar estomacal
|La falta de apetito
|Increase in appetite
|El aumento del apetito
|Los ojos secos
How to Describe Pain in Spanish
These are some ways to describe pain. They will come in handy when trying to diagnose any disease in Spanish! If you want to describe pain in a specific body part, you can say me duele followed by the body part that hurts. Check out our guide to body parts in Spanish for reference!
|El dolor puslativo
|Shooting / sharp pain
|El dolor punzante
|El dolor quemante
|El dolor profundo
|El dolor de crecimiento
|Pain at birth
|El dolor de parto
Mental Health Vocabulary in Spanish
Oftentimes our mental health directly impacts our physical health. Here is a list of common mental health vocabulary to equip you with the skills to talk about it with your patients or your doctor.
|El ataque de pánico
|La enfermedad mental
|Post traumatic stress disorder
|El estrés post traumático
|El trastorno alimenticio
|El trastorno bipolar
|Oppositional Defiant Disorder
|El trastorno negativista desafiante
|Obsessive Compulsive Disorder
|El trastorno obsesivo compulsivo
|Borderline Personality Disorder
|El trastorno límite de la personalidad
|Attention Deficit Disorder
|El déficit de atención
Practice Talking About Disease in Spanish
Learning about disease in Spanish opens many doors and opportunities for doctors, volunteers, and travelers. Having medical Spanish vocabulary at your disposal will provide you with plenty of benefits in your medical-related conversations with Spanish-speaking inhabitants of the US and Latin America.
If you’re ready to practice your new knowledge with a certified, native Spanish-speaking teacher, sign up for a free class with us at Homeschool Spanish Academy!
With our online services you’ll be able to fit Spanish learning into a busy schedule that allows you to go at your own pace and adapt your courses to your needs. If you combine what you learned here about disease in Spanish with a free class, you’ll be as ready as you can be the next time Spanish comes up in the doctor’s clinic!
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