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Anglais médical - Tout sur l'asthme


Régulièrement, cette rubrique animée par Virginia Allum, auteur et consultante EMP (English for Medical Purposes), vous permettra, exercices à l'appui, de parfaire votre anglais médical au travers de situations de soins concrètes. Bon travail à tous !

N'hésitez pas à vous servir du dictionnaire en ligne Wordreference.
Vous trouverez à la fin de cet article les corrections des exercices qui vous sont proposés téléchargeables au format pdf.

Talking about asthma

What is asthma?

Asthma is a respiratory disease which causes the airways to constrict or narrow and breathing to become difficult. The word asthma comes from a Greek word azein which means ‘to breathe with difficulty’.
Allergies may sometimes trigger asthma attacks, for example allergies to cats. Allergic asthma is also called early onset asthma because it is often found in children. Children with allergic asthma may also have skin conditions such as eczema as well as other allergic conditions such as hay fever.

A second kind of asthma, late onset asthma, usually affects older people. Unlike childhood asthma, it is not caused by allergies.

Environmental factors like dust, cigarette smoke and pollution can aggravate both types of asthma. Other factors like changes in temperature or chest infections may also worsen asthma.

Asthma triggers irritate the airways which swell and cause the muscles around the airways to tighten. This is called bronchoconstriction. The airways become narrower as the lining of the airways also starts to swell. Sticky, thick mucus builds up which makes the airways even narrower.

Patients who are having an asthma attack start wheezing and coughing as their chest tightens. The wheezing is caused by reduced oxygen flow to the lungs caused by the constriction of the bronchi and trachea or windpipe.

Mild asthma attacks are treated with inhalers which deliver a dose of aerosol medication. More serious attacks sometimes require hospitalisation where nebulisers can be set up to deliver bronchodilator medication as a fine mist which patients breathe in through a nebuliser mask.

Activity 1

Before you start, review these terms

respiratory adjective describing breathing
bronchoconstriction narrowing of the bronchial tubes
bronchodilator widening of the bronchial tubes
mucus thick secretions from the throat ;also called phlegm
wheezing noisy breathing common in asthma
inspiration breathing in
allergy condition which causes reactions such as skin reactions
eczema
a skin reaction often seen in children
hay fever allergy as a reaction to pollen in plants often in spring
triggers something which starts something else
aggravate make worse

Read "Talking about asthma" and complete the sentences.
Use the words in the box below

chest tightness ; wheezing ; tighten ; environmental ; eczema ; mucus ; respiratory ; inhaler

1. Asthma is a ­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­___________________ disease of the lungs which causes bronchoconstriction.

2. An allergy to pet hair can start off ________________ in asthmatics.

3. Skin conditions such as _______________ are often seen with childhood asthma.

4. Some of the ______________________ factors which make asthma more severe are pollution and cigarette smoke.

5. As the outer muscles of the airways ________________- the inner part of the airways swells.

6. Phlegm or sticky _______________________ in the airways makes breathing more and more difficult during an asthma attack.

7. Asthmatics often have noisy breathing called wheezing because of _____________________________ during an asthma attack.

8. Minor asthma attacks are treated with an ______________ where more severe attacks may need a nebuliser at home or in hospital.

Activity 2

Look at the photo and answer the questions

Look at the photo and answer the questions

1. Why do you think the girl is using an inhaler?

  • (a) she might be having a heart attack
  • (b) she might be having an asthma attack
  • (c) she might be having an attack of nerves

2. What are the symptoms of asthma?

  • (a) difficulty coughing and chest pain
  • (b) dry cough and difficulty breathing
  • (c) difficult, noisy breathing and chest tightness

3. Asthmatics feel worse if they come in contact with

  • (a) pollution and cigarette smoke
  • (b) pollution and dirt
  • (c) pollution and air conditioning

Activity 3 : Respiration – The Lungs

Label the picture using the words below.

pulmonary artery ; heart ; trachea ; right lung ; lower lobe of the lung

Look at the photo and answer the questions

Activity 4 : Talking about breathing

Match the everyday terms with the formal terms

1. breathe in a) expiration
2. a breath in b) respiration
3. breathe out c) respiratory rate
4. a breath out d) respirations
5. breathing e) inhale
6. breaths f) exhale
7. breathing rate g) inspiration

Activity 5

Complete the following instructions a doctor gives a patient.
Use the terms from the table above

1. I’d like to check your breathing now, if that’s OK?

_______________________________________________________________________________

2. Can you take a deep breath in for me?

_______________________________________________________________________________

3. Now, take another breath.

_______________________________________________________________________________

4. Breathe in and now hold your breath.

_______________________________________________________________________________

5. Breathe in and out for a few breaths.

_______________________________________________________________________________

6. I’d like you to use a nebuliser for a few days. You need to breathe in the mist until it’s finished.

_______________________________________________________________________________

7. Try to relax by slowing your respiratory rate.

_______________________________________________________________________________

Activity 6

How the lungs work

People breathe in and out around 12 to 20 times per minute. During exercise the respiratory rate increases. Breathing is a body function which cannot be controlled because it is automatic.

The lungs are located within the thoracic cavity or chest which is inside the rib cage. They are complex organs which take carbon dioxide which is a waste gas and exchange it for oxygen which the body can use.

Lungs are made of spongy, elastic tissue which expands and constricts during respiration. The airways which bring air into the lungs are called the bronchi. The lungs and air ways bring in fresh, oxygenated air. They also help in regulating the concentration of hydrogen ions in the blood.

During inhalation the intercostal muscles of the ribs contract and expand the chest cavity. This causes the pressure in the chest cavity to lower below the outside air pressure. Changes in the air pressure within the lungs causes air to flow in and out of the lungs.

The text has four paragraphs. Number the paragraph which relates to the description beside it.

1. Paragraph ____ Effect of changes in air pressure in the lungs

2. Paragraph ____ Respiratory rates at rest and during exercise

3. Paragraph ____ Location of the lungs

4. Paragraph ____ Description of the lungs

Activity 7

Replace the adjectives in the text below. Use the adjectives in the box below

spongy ; intercostals ; automatic ; thoracic ; oxygenated ; respiratory

People breathe in and out around 12 to 20 times per minute. During exercise the
1. _______________ rate increases. Breathing is a body function which cannot be controlled because it is 2._______________ .
The lungs are located within the 3. ______________ cavity or chest which is inside the rib cage. They are complex organs which take carbon dioxide which is a waste gas and exchange it for oxygen which the body can use.
Lungs are made of 4.__________, elastic tissue which expands and constricts during respiration. The airways which bring air into the lungs are called the bronchi. The lungs and air ways bring in fresh, 5. _______________ air. They also help in regulating the concentration of hydrogen ions in the blood.During inhalation the 6. _____________ muscles of the ribs contract and expand the chest cavity. This causes the pressure in the chest cavity to lower below the outside air pressure. Changes in the air pressure within the lungs causes air to flow in and out of the lungs.

Activity 8

Why Use a Peak Flow Meter ?

Peak flow meters are hand-held devices which are very easy for asthmatics to use to keep a check on their asthma. Peak flow meters measure peak expiratory flow rate (PEFR) which shows how open the airways are. The airways narrow as the patient’s asthma gets worse. As the airways narrow, the peak expiratory flow rate decreases because the patient is unable to exhale efficiently.

Readings from a peak flow meter can help asthmatics recognize early changes in their breathing which may be signs of worsening asthma. During an asthma attack, the muscles in the airways tighten and the airways narrow. The peak flow meter readings are useful as a warning sign before an asthma attack occurs. Asthmatics become aware of bronchoconstriction before they experience any symptoms and can use their inhaler or medication to avoid an asthma attack.

Peak flow meter readings help asthmatics understand the things which trigger their asthma. More importantly, it is an indication of deterioration of the condition and may indicate when emergency treatment should be sought.

Peak flow meters can only be used to measure the airflow out of the large airways of the lungs not airflow changes in the small airways.

Read the text above and answer the questions which follow

1. What sort of equipment is a peak flow meter?
_______________________________________________________________________________

2. What happens to the airways when a person has an asthma attack?
_______________________________________________________________________________

3. What do asthmatics use if they notice that their peak flow readings are too low?
_______________________________________________________________________________

Activity 9

Match the synonyms (same word) to the words in bold

constrict ; start off ; deteriorates ; as a preventer ; monitor

1. Peak flow meters are hand-held devices which are very easy for asthmatics to use to keep a check on / _________________
their asthma.
2. The airways narrow as the patient’s asthma gets worse / _________________.
3. During an asthma attack, the muscles in the airways tighten / _________________
4. Asthmatics can use their inhaler or medication to avoid an asthma attack / _________________
5. Peak flow meter readings help asthmatics understand the things which trigger / _________________their asthma.

Activity 10

Label the peak flow meter using the terms in the box below

indicator ; measurement scale ; mouthpiece

Look at the photo and answer the questions

Activity 11 : Coping with an asthma attack

Language used to give advice and language used to command

Recommending language is used to give advice.

- It would be a good idea to + verb - It wouldn’t be a good idea to + verb
- It’s a good idea to + verb - It’s not a good idea to + verb
- You should + verb - You shouldn’t + verb

Commanding language is used to say that something is compulsory or essential:

- You must + verb - You mustn’t + ver
- It’s essential that you +verb - It’s essential that you don’t + verb
- Stop breathing now
(Imperative Form e.g)
- Don’t take more than once a day
(Negative Imperative Form e.g)

Read the following sentences and say whether it is a recommendation or a command

1. You must use the nebuliser three times a day for a week.

Recommendation / Command

2. It’s a good idea to keep a note of the dates of your asthma attacks to look for a pattern.

Recommendation / Command

3. Don’t drive when using this medication.

Recommendation / Command

4. You should try to do a peak flow reading at the same time each day.

Recommendation / Command

5. It would be a good idea to keep your peak flow record in your handbag so you remember to take it to your clinic visit.

Recommendation / Command

Look at the photo and answer the questions

Activity 12

Before you start, review

you should + verb you should take the medication before meals
it’s a good idea + infinitive it’s a good idea to keep warm at night
you must + verb you must avoid smoke-filled rooms
command form take all the antibiotics in the course
negative command don’t leave your inhaler at home

Complete the dialogue using the words and phrases in the box below.

must ; should ; It’s a good idea ; mustn’t ; should

During an asthma attack,
1. You _____________use your inhaler immediately.
2. ______ _____ _________ _______ to loosen any tight clothing.
3. Sit down and try to relax. You __________ lie down because it will make breathing very difficult.

 

4. You ____________ use your puffer for 5 minutes until you stop wheezing.

5. You __________call an ambulance if you still can’t breathe after 5 minutes.

Activity 13

Before you start, review these terms

Upper Respiratory Tract Infection (URTI) a cold which is only felt in the upper chest
Shortness of Breath (SOB) feeling it difficult to breathe or ‘catch your breath’
Respiratory Rate (RR) the number of breaths a person takes each minute
Chest Xray (CXR) a radiological examination of the lungs and chest
Respiratory Team

doctors, nurses and physiotherapists who review patients with breathing problems
Patient Education instructions given to patients about their illness

Complete the exercises below from ‘Cambridge English for Nursing’ Intermediate Plus unit 2.

Cambridge English for Nursing Intermediate Plus Look at the photo and answer the questions

Mrs Castle, an 86-year-old who lives alone, has been admitted to hospital for treatment. In pairs, look at her record and discuss the following questions.

1. What is Mrs Castle's diagnostics ?

2. What is the treatment ?

3. What is happening in the morning ?

4. What respiratory assessment has she started doing herself ?

Match the abbreviations from the Patient Record (1-6) to their meanings (a-f).

1. URTI a. respiratory rate
2. SOB b. peak flow ; the most air which is expired
3. RR c. chest X-ray
4. CXR d. patient education
5. p/f e. upper respiratory tract infection
6. Pt ed.
f. shortness of breath ; difficulty breathing (dyspnoea)

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Author and Consultant in English for Medical Purposes
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