Your Ultimate Guide to Conditions, Illnesses, and Diseases in Spanish (2023)

Your Ultimate Guide to Conditions, Illnesses, and Diseases in Spanish (1)

February 27, 2021 by Rafael Parra Spanish Vocabulary 0 comments

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.

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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!

Your Ultimate Guide to Conditions, Illnesses, and Diseases in Spanish (2)

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.

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Afecciones Cardiacas

High blood pressureLa hipertensión arterial
Coronary heart diseaseLa cardiopatía coronaria
Cerebrovascular diseaseLa enfermedad cerebrovascular
Heart failureLa insuficiencia cardiaca
Rheumatic heart diseaseLa cardiopatía reumática
Congenital cardiopathyLa cardiopatía congénita
CardiomyopathyLas miocardiopatías

Afecciones de la Garganta

TonsillitisLa amigdalitis
CroupEl crup
PharyngitisLa faringitis
LaryngitisLa laringitis

Afecciones de los Ojos

GlaucomaLa glaucoma
CataractsLas cataratas
Refractive errorsLos errores refractivos
AmblyopiaLa ambliopia
StrabismusEl estrabismo
MyopiaLa miopía
HyperopiaLa hiperopía
AstigmatismEl astigmatismo
Diabetic RetinopathyLa 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

TreatmentEl tratamiento
SurgeryLa cirugía
ChemotherapyLa quimioterapia
Hormone therapyLa terapia hormonal
ImmunotherapyLa immunoterapia
Palliative careLos cuidados paliativos
Antibody therapyLa terapia de anticuerpos
RadiotherapyLa radioterapia
Stem cell therapyLa 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 diseaseLa cardiopatía isquémica
Cerebrovascular diseaseLa afección cerebrovascular
Lower respiratory infectionsLas infecciones de las vías respiratorias Inferiores
Chronic obstructive pulmonary diseaseLa enfermedad pulmonar obstructiva crónica
Diarrhoeal diseasesLas enfermedades diarreicas
StrokeEl derrame cerebral
CancerEl cáncer
TuberculosisLa tuberculosis
DiabetesLa diabetes
Prematurity and low birth weightLa 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.

Allergic reactionLa reacción alérgica
SwellingLa hinchazón
RashEl salpullido / La irritación
HivesLas ronchas / La irritación
ItchingLa comezón / La picazón
Shortness of breathLa falta de aire
Muscle achesLos dolores musculares
WeaknessLa debilidad
InsomniaEl insomnio
FatigueLa fatiga
ConstipationEl estreñimiento
Dry mouthLa boca seca
HeadacheEl dolor de cabeza
DizzinessEl mareo
NauseaLa náusea
VomitingEl vómito
Upset stomachEl malestar estomacal
Poor appetiteLa falta de apetito
Increase in appetiteEl aumento del apetito
Dry eyesLos 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!

Pulsating painEl dolor puslativo
Shooting / sharp painEl dolor punzante
Burning painEl dolor quemante
TinglingUn hormigueo
Deep painEl dolor profundo
TensionLa tensión
PressureUna presión
Growing painsEl dolor de crecimiento
Pain at birthEl 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.

AnxietyLa ansiedad
StressEl estrés
DepressionLa depresión
PhobiaLa fobia
Panic AttackEl ataque de pánico
HyperventilationLa hiperventilación
PsychologicalLo psicológico
PsychosomaticLo psicosomático
AutismEl autismo
Mental IllnessLa enfermedad mental
PsychotherapyLa psicoterapia
Post traumatic stress disorderEl estrés post traumático
PsychiatristEl psiquiatra
Eating DisorderEl trastorno alimenticio
Bipolar disorderEl trastorno bipolar
Oppositional Defiant DisorderEl trastorno negativista desafiante
Obsessive Compulsive DisorderEl trastorno obsesivo compulsivo
Borderline Personality DisorderEl trastorno límite de la personalidad
Attention Deficit DisorderEl 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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Rafael Parra

Freelance Writer at Homeschool Spanish Academy

A native Spanish speaker from Guatemala, I'm a psychology student, creative developer, and aspiring polymath who's always learning new things and improving as a person. I'm a nerd when it comes to language, education, and videogames. My goal is to practice all these disciplines in unison and make something great with my time.

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spanish vocabulary vocabulary


What are the 4 types of illness? ›

There are four main types of disease: infectious diseases, deficiency diseases, hereditary diseases (including both genetic diseases and non-genetic hereditary diseases), and physiological diseases.

What are the 10 most common illnesses? ›

Common Illnesses
  • Allergies.
  • Colds and Flu.
  • Conjunctivitis ("pink eye“)
  • Diarrhea.
  • Headaches.
  • Mononucleosis.
  • Stomach Aches.

How many illnesses are there? ›

“You know, there's 10,000 diseases, and we only have 500 cures.”

What are examples of medical conditions? ›

Summary of Conditions with Evidence
  • Asthma.
  • Cancer.
  • Cerebrovascular disease.
  • Chronic kidney disease*
  • Chronic lung diseases limited to: Interstitial lung disease. Pulmonary embolism. ...
  • Chronic liver diseases limited to: Cirrhosis. Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. ...
  • Cystic fibrosis.
  • Diabetes mellitus, type 1 and type 2*‡

What are the 7 killer diseases? ›

7 Deadliest Diseases in History: Where are they now?
  • The Black Death: Bubonic Plague. ...
  • The Speckled Monster: Smallpox. ...
  • Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) ...
  • Avian Influenza: Not Just One For The Birds. ...
  • Ebola: On The Radar Again. ...
  • Leprosy: A Feared Disease That Features In The Old Testament.
15 Aug 2022

What are the big 3 diseases? ›

The world's deadliest infections, including Tuberculosis, Malaria and HIV/AIDS, have been considered as the "Big Three" infectious diseases (BTIDs). With leading infections and deaths every year, the BTIDs have been recognized as the world's greatest pandemics.

What is a serious illness? ›

Amy Kelley, MD, and others have proposed the following definition: Serious illness is a health condition that carries a high risk of mortality and either negatively impacts a person's daily functioning or quality of life or excessively strains his or her caregivers.

What are the 5 main diseases? ›

Infectious diseases affect billions of people around the globe annually. According to WHO and the CDC, these infectious diseases are the five most common.
  • Hepatitis B. ...
  • Malaria. ...
  • Hepatitis C. ...
  • Dengue. ...
  • Tuberculosis.
29 Dec 2013

What are the 2 most common diseases? ›

Most Common Infectious Diseases in the U.S.
  • Chlamydia. 1/15. This sexually transmitted disease affects men and women. ...
  • Influenza A and B. 2/15. Sudden fever and chills, muscle aches, headache, tiredness, sore throat, congestion. ...
  • Staph. 3/15. ...
  • E. Coli. ...
  • Herpes Simplex 1. 5/15. ...
  • Herpes Simplex 2. 6/15. ...
  • Shigellosis. 7/15. ...
  • Syphilis. 8/15.
29 Jan 2022

What is the most popular illness? ›

The 10 Most Common Health Conditions in the United States
  • Heart Disease.
  • Cancer.
  • Chronic Lower Respiratory Diseases (asthma, emphysema, and chronic bronchitis)
  • Obesity.
  • Alzheimer's Disease.
  • Diabetes.
  • Substance Abuse.
  • Influenza and Pneumonia.
23 Aug 2022

What are 20 common diseases? ›

Common Infectious Diseases
  • Chickenpox.
  • Common cold.
  • Diphtheria.
  • E. coli.
  • Giardiasis.
  • Infectious mononucleosis.
  • Influenza (flu)

Can a disease be cured? ›

Thanks to clinical research and the dedicated efforts of medical professionals, many diseases have been eradicated over the last 100 years. Modern treatments exist for smallpox, polio and leprosy, and researchers have even developed therapies for previously fatal illnesses such as pneumonia.

What are 3 examples of short term illness? ›

Whether it's a common sickness like a cold or the flu, an upset stomach or gastro illness, debilitating headache or migraine, or any other kind of sudden, short-term illness, we keep a number of appointments open each day for emergency bookings so you can get in to see a doctor as soon as possible.

What diseases that has no cure? ›

dementia, including Alzheimer's disease, advanced lung, heart, kidney and liver disease, stroke and other neurological diseases, including motor neurone disease and multiple sclerosis.

What are types of diseases? ›

Diseases & Conditions
  • Asthma. Asthma is a chronic lung disease characterized by episodes of airway narrowing and obstruction, causing wheezing, coughing, chest tightness and shortness of breath.
  • Autoimmune Diseases. ...
  • Autoimmune Lymphoproliferative Syndrome (ALPS) ...
  • Cholera. ...
  • Coronaviruses. ...
  • Dengue Fever. ...
  • E. ...
  • Ebola & Marburg.

What is the most fatal illness? ›

Ischemic heart disease, or coronary artery disease

The deadliest disease in the world is coronary artery disease (CAD). Also known as ischemic heart disease, CAD occurs when the blood vessels that supply blood to the heart become narrowed. Untreated CAD can lead to chest pain, heart failure, and arrhythmias.

What diseases don't have a vaccine? ›

But there is still — despite 30 years of effort — no AIDS vaccine. There is no universal flu vaccine. There are no vaccines with long-lasting protection against malaria or tuberculosis. None for parasites like Chagas, elephantiasis, hookworm or liver flukes.

Which disease causes the highest death? ›

Leading causes of death worldwide

heart disease. stroke. lower respiratory infections. COPD.

What are 5 diseases caused by? ›

The agents that cause disease fall into five groups: viruses, bacteria, fungi, protozoa, and helminths (worms).

What are the big 4 chronic diseases? ›

The four chronic conditions are cardiovascular disease, cancer, chronic lower respiratory disease, and diabetes. These four conditions cause more than 50 percent of all deaths in that vast majority of communities.

What is the five signs of infection? ›

Know the Signs and Symptoms of Infection
  • Fever (this is sometimes the only sign of an infection).
  • Chills and sweats.
  • Change in cough or a new cough.
  • Sore throat or new mouth sore.
  • Shortness of breath.
  • Nasal congestion.
  • Stiff neck.
  • Burning or pain with urination.

What illness does stress cause? ›

Stress seems to worsen or increase the risk of conditions like obesity, heart disease, Alzheimer's disease, diabetes, depression, gastrointestinal problems, and asthma.
Here's a sampling.
  • Heart disease. ...
  • Asthma. ...
  • Obesity. ...
  • Diabetes. ...
  • Headaches. ...
  • Depression and anxiety. ...
  • Gastrointestinal problems. ...
  • Alzheimer's disease.
1 Apr 2014

How do I know if I am seriously ill? ›

Immediate medical care may be needed if a headache, vomiting, fever, or a seizure occurs along with another serious illness. Symptoms of a serious illness include: Severe neck stiffness or pain. Confusion or extreme irritability.

How can I tell if I am seriously ill? ›

Have you got symptoms of serious ill-health?
Less likely to be seriously illMore likely to be seriously ill
Breathing normally, or slightly faster than usualRapid breathing, gasping or struggling for air, hunching shoulders to breathe, or sucking in skin under / between ribs or in notch in neck
13 more rows

What are the 8 killer diseases? ›

Eight Most Deadly Infectious Diseases 1990 vs. 2004
TuberculosisBacterium9 million
MalariaSporozoan110 million
AIDSHIV5.6 million
MeaslesVirus200 million
Hepatitus BVirus200 million
17 more rows

What killer disease means? ›

countable noun. You can refer to something that causes death or is likely to cause death as a killer. Collins COBUILD Advanced Learner's Dictionary. Copyright © HarperCollins Publishers.

What is the difference between disease and illness? ›

According to this way of thinking, disease is something that needs to be cured, such as infection, injury, toxic exposure, cell degeneration, etc. Illness is something that needs to be managed such as feelings of pain, discomfort, distress, weakness, fatigue, etc.

Who can be called a healthy person? ›

A person is called healthy if he is physically, mentally and socially fit.

What causes heart disease? ›

High blood pressure, high blood cholesterol, and smoking are key risk factors for heart disease.

Why do people get sick? ›

Whenever the normal working of our body system gets disturbed, we feel sick. It can happen when a bacterium, virus, etc, enters our body or because of unhealthy living practices like lack of exercise or intake of drugs/excessive sugar/salt. There are two major kinds of diseases: infectious and non-infectious.

What diseases are more common in females? ›

Among the conditions that present most frequently in women, the following eight illnesses pose considerable health risks.
  • Heart Disease. ...
  • Breast Cancer. ...
  • Ovarian and Cervical Cancer. ...
  • Gynecological Health. ...
  • Pregnancy Issues. ...
  • Autoimmune Diseases. ...
  • Depression and Anxiety. ...
  • Health Technology for Women.

What is the largest chronic illness? ›

Chronic diseases such as heart disease, cancer, and diabetes are the leading causes of death and disability in the United States.

What is a good medicine for all diseases? ›

A panacea /pænəˈsiːə/, named after the Greek goddess of universal remedy Panacea, is any supposed remedy that is claimed (for example) to cure all diseases and prolong life indefinitely.

How do you fight a disease? ›

Follow these everyday lifestyle habits to give your immune system everything it needs to fend off illness and function at its best.
  1. EAT HEALTHY. A healthy immune system must be fueled with nutritious food. ...
  3. EXERCISE. ...
  6. DON'T SMOKE. ...

What is one word that Cannot be cured? ›

If someone has an incurable disease, they cannot be cured of it. He is suffering from an incurable skin disease.

Is diabetes a disease? ›

Diabetes is a chronic disease that occurs either when the pancreas does not produce enough insulin or when the body cannot effectively use the insulin it produces. Insulin is a hormone that regulates blood glucose.

What are 5 life threatening conditions? ›

What is a life-threatening health condition?
  • Diabetes.
  • Severe allergies (bees, peanuts, etc.)
  • Epilepsy/seizure disorder.
  • Severe asthma.
  • Cardiac/heart conditions.

What is a good sick excuse? ›

The survey found that flu is the most widely accepted excuse for staying home, although just about 42 percent of bosses thought it was necessary to do so. Next up were back pains, accident-related injuries, and stress. These are the top 10 reasons for calling in sick, in order from most acceptable to least.

What is a one day illness? ›

The 24-hour flu is often caused by one of two viruses: norovirus and rotavirus. Both viruses are shed in the stool of an infected person, meaning that you can become infected if you ingest tiny particles of stool from an infected person. This can occur when proper hygiene or food handling practices aren't carried out.

Can diabetes be cured? ›

There's no cure yet, but our scientists are working on a ground-breaking weight management study, to help people put their type 2 diabetes into remission. Remission is when blood glucose (or blood sugar) levels are in a normal range again. This doesn't mean diabetes has gone for good.

Which disease have been removed from the world? ›

So far, the world has eradicated two diseases — smallpox and rinderpest.

Are all diseases permanent? ›

A chronic disease may be stable (does not get any worse) or it may be progressive (gets worse over time). Some chronic diseases can be permanently cured. Most chronic diseases can be beneficially treated, even if they cannot be permanently cured.

What is common disease? ›

Although there is no formal definition, common diseases are those that most frequently affect us and are often those with which we are most familiar.

What is called a disease? ›

disease, any harmful deviation from the normal structural or functional state of an organism, generally associated with certain signs and symptoms and differing in nature from physical injury. A diseased organism commonly exhibits signs or symptoms indicative of its abnormal state.

What are the major types of illness? ›

Diseases & Conditions
  • Asthma. Asthma is a chronic lung disease characterized by episodes of airway narrowing and obstruction, causing wheezing, coughing, chest tightness and shortness of breath.
  • Autoimmune Diseases. ...
  • Autoimmune Lymphoproliferative Syndrome (ALPS) ...
  • Cholera. ...
  • Coronaviruses. ...
  • Dengue Fever. ...
  • E. ...
  • Ebola & Marburg.

What are the most serious illness? ›

The 10 most dangerous diseases in today's society
  1. Ischemic heart disease, or coronary artery disease. ...
  2. Stroke. ...
  3. Lower respiratory tract infections. ...
  4. Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease. ...
  5. Tracheal, bronchial and lung cancer. ...
  6. Diabetes. ...
  7. Alzheimer's disease and other dementias. ...
  8. Dehydration due to diarrhea.

What is the number 1 cause of death in the world? ›

Cardiovascular diseases are the leading cause of death globally.

Which disease has no cure? ›

cancer. dementia, including Alzheimer's disease. advanced lung, heart, kidney and liver disease. stroke and other neurological diseases, including motor neurone disease and multiple sclerosis.

What illness is most common? ›

The 10 Most Common Health Conditions in the United States
  • Heart Disease.
  • Cancer.
  • Chronic Lower Respiratory Diseases (asthma, emphysema, and chronic bronchitis)
  • Obesity.
  • Alzheimer's Disease.
  • Diabetes.
  • Substance Abuse.
  • Influenza and Pneumonia.
23 Aug 2022

What are the 2 main types of disease? ›

Diseases can be grouped into two types: communicable , which are caused by pathogens and can be transferred from one person to another, or from one organism to another - in humans these include measles, food poisoning and malaria. non-communicable , which are not transferred between people or other organisms.

How do you know if you are seriously ill? ›

Immediate medical care may be needed if a headache, vomiting, fever, or a seizure occurs along with another serious illness. Symptoms of a serious illness include: Severe neck stiffness or pain. Confusion or extreme irritability.

What illnesses are fatal? ›

What Are the 12 Leading Causes of Death in the United States?
  • Heart disease.
  • Cancer.
  • Accidents.
  • Chronic lower respiratory diseases.
  • Stroke.
  • Alzheimer's disease.
  • Diabetes.
  • Influenza and pneumonia.

What are the 3 factors that cause disease? ›

Agent, host, and environmental factors interrelate in a variety of complex ways to produce disease.


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