About diseases


The cold is the most common infectious disease. It is caused by a virus transmitted with saliva – when someone coughs or sneezes, little droplets with the virus are spreading in the air. That is why we say ”you catch a cold”.
The most common symptoms include sneezing, sniffling, running nose, scratchy or sore throat, headache, tiredness. Also fever, but not very high. You can also develop coughing. The cold typically lasts about three-five days.
Treatment: stay in bed and have a rest. Keep warm. Drink plenty of liquids, especially juices and herbal tea with lemon and honey. You can drink broth. You can take some paracetamol if you feel very bad, but in a cold the most important thing is to simply stay in bed and avoid getting tired. Also avoid sudden changes of temperature – so don’t open the window too widely.


The flu is a contagious respiratory illness caused by influenza viruses. It can be mild or severe and in most drastic situations it can be fatal. Every year in the United States 36,000 people die from flu. It is dangerous for little children, elderly
people and people with weak immune systems (for example suffering from other diseases).
The symptoms include fever (sometimes very high), headache, extreme tiredness, muscle aches, stomach symptoms (e.g. nausea, diarrhea or vomiting), dry cough, sore throat, stuffy nose.
Treatment: like in the case of a cold, but usually you will have to take paracetamol to fight fever. It is really dangerous not to stay in bed! You can have complications, such as bacterial pneumonia, heart disease, asthma, ear infections.


Pneumonia is a serious contagious disease of the lungs. Untreated flu or cold can develop into pneumonia. The symptoms include stabbing pain in the chest and back, difficulty in breathing, high fever and chills, cough, fatigue.
Treatment: stay in bed and call the doctor immediately. You will get a prescription for antibiotics. In the past, when there were no antibiotics, pneumonia was one of the main reasons of death – especially small children were big danger.


Asthma is a disease of the respiratory system caused usually by allergy, stress or trauma. It is an obstruction of airways caused by narrowing of the bronchi. In most cases it develops because of allergy – to dust, pollen, cat’s fur etc.
The symptoms of asthma incluse difficulty in breathing. The breathe becomes shallow and the airways are blocked.
Treatment: If asthma is caused by allergy, the most importnat thing is to remove the substance which causes allergy. In case of an attack, special medicine must be used to broaden the bronchi. Lots of people believe exercise, especially yoga, can heal asthma, also it is really important to improve the psychological well-being of a patient, because asthma in some patients can be psychosomatic.


Arthritis is inflammation of joints. The tissues within the joint and surrounding it become inflamed which causes discomfort or pain. It is an illlness of the elderly people (usually starts in the fifties). Although in most cases it is simply an unpleasant condition, it might lead to much more serious pain and severe disability requiring join replacement.
Symptoms include pain, swelling, stiffness, reduced movement, redness, warmth of joint.
There are a few types of arthritis – osteoarthritis develops due to failure to assimilate and provide sufficient level of calcium. The bones get weaker and calcium becomes to be stored in joints, which causes problems. Rheumatoid arthritis can develop in younger people. It damages joints and causes deformities. Arthritis can also develop in sports, as a result of injuries.
Treatment: medicine (from very simple – aspirin – to very advanced). Prevention: balanced diet, exercising and keeping a reasonable weight.


Diabetes is a metabolic disorder. It consists in inability of the body to control the amount of glucose in the blood. It is a breakdown of functioning of pancreas which produces insulin – a hormon controlling the amout of glucose in the blood.
There are three types of diabetes.
Type 1 – diabetes develops in children or teenagers. It is usually hereditary.
Type 2 – diabetes develops usually in people after 40 years, who are obese, inactive, eat too much sugar.
The third type – is diabetes in pregnancy and the level of glucose usually returns to normal when the baby is born.
When you have diabetes, you must control the level of glucose and take insulin.


Heart disease is a general name for such heart diseases as heart attacks, stroke, hypertension and others. It is difficult to talk about symptoms, as many people don’t have any symptoms until they finally suffer from a heart attack. Some people can feel chest pains, high or low blood pressure, tiredness or shortness of breath. The most common causes of heart disease is diet (especially too much fat), and lifestyle (no exercise, stress and tension, smoking cigarettes), but there are also hereditary factors. Treatment of heart disease consists not only in taking pills, but also in changing bad habits: eating well, exercising, relaxation, working less etc. People can live for a long time even after a heart attack, but they must treat well their bodies.


Cancer develops when cells ”go crazy” – producing cells which attack the body. The DNA in cells is unable to repair the damage, and, what is worst, the cancer cells once developed have a very powerful regeneration system. Cancer has many causes and factors, among which is smoking, stress, radiation, exposure to chemicals. The commonest types of cancer include breast cancer, lung cancer, bowel cancer, brain cancer.
The treatment for cancer includes chemotherapy and radiotherapy.

Improve your vocabulary!

airways – drogi oddechowe
arthritis – artretyzm
blood-pressure – ciśnienie krwi
bowel – jelito
bronchi – oskrzela
broth – rosół
calcium – wapń
cancer – rak
cell – komórka
chills – dreszcze
common cold, cold – przeziębienie
contagious – zaraźliwy
cough – kaszleć, kaszel
diabetes – cukrzyca
diarrhea – rozwolnienie
droplet – kropelka
fatal – śmiertelny
fever – gorączka
flu/influenza – grypa
heal – leczyć
heart attack – zawał
hereditary – dziedziczny
hypertension – nadciśnienie
immune system – system odpornościowy
inflammation – zapalenie
insulin – insulina
joint – staw
lung – płuco
matabolic – metaboliczny
nausea – mdłości
obstruction – zatkanie, prze-szkoda
pancreas – trzustka
pneumonia – zapalenie płuc
pollen – pyłek
prescription – recepta
prevention – zapobieganie
psychosomatic – psychosomatyczny
respiratory – oddechowy
running nose – katar
saliva – ślina
scratchy/sore throat – drapiące/bolące gardło
sneeze – kichać
sniffle – pociągać nosem
spread – rozprzestrzeniać się
stabbing pain – przeszywający ból
stiffness – sztywność
stroke – wylew
stuffy nose – zatkany nos
swell – puchnąć
symptom – objaw
vomit – wymiotować