Signs are observed by doctors, and other people, whereas patients itself, notice symptoms. These words are interrelated and have same meaning though differ in their features. ‘Signs’ and ‘Symptoms’ of a disease are among the most confusing words specifically for the non-medical person.
When the doctor or health care professionals come to any conclusion by observing and diagnosing the body. These measures can be a blood test, checking pulse rate, x-ray, by measuring body temperature, hence indicating the definite sign of the disease. For Example heart disease, allergies, cancer, HIV, diabetes are diagnosed under medical experts, these cannot be determined by our own. As signs are the physical demonstration of one’s body’s problems.
But when the person feels body pain, muscles fatigue, a headache can be termed as symptoms, as here the person who suffers is answerable to his or her problems. Signs and Symptoms are helpful in understanding the disease better so that proper medication can be provided, but one is felt by the patient, while the other is diagnosed by health care professionals.
Content: Signs Vs Symptoms
|Basis for Comparision||Signs||Symptoms|
|Meaning||The sign is an objective evidence of a disease which means others observe it.||The symptom is a subjective evidence of a disease which means it's only what a person can feel.|
|Example||Asthma, tuberculosis, cancer, AIDS have few signs which can be specifically diagnosed by health care professionals.||Itching, body pain, nausea, headache are the symptoms felt only by the person or the patients.|
|How to observe||Signs can be visible and observable by the health care professionals.||The sufferer or patients can only feel symptoms.|
|Way to check||Signs are measurable by monitoring pulse rate, temperature, X-ray, Laboratory test, and other machines.||Symptoms cannot be measure; they are only felt.|
|Types||Medical signs are of three types:|
|Medical Symptoms are of three types:
Definition of Signs
In general terms ‘sign’ is a word that is used to indicate or provide information about something. In medical terms, the word ‘sign‘ is used by health care professionals to get actual information about the particular disease, illness, etc., by asking symptoms from the patients and also using other measurable modes like the blood test, X-ray, observing temperature.
The Signs are observable by feeling, hearing or on seeing and so is said to be the objective evidence of disease. For example swelling, fractures, bleeding are the signs. Hence signs are the physical demonstration of a disease, can be detected by doctors.
There are three types of medical signs like anamnestic, prognostic, and diagnostic signs.
- Anamnestic signs refer to the past experience of the disease or conditions. An example is paralysis stroke, heart attack.
- Prognostic signs predict the future disease, means by observing the signs and symptoms doctor predicts the chances of occurrence of disease.
- Diagnostic signs show the actual disease from which the person is suffering currently.
Definition of Symptoms
Symptoms are felt by the patient only; it is a kind of report which is provided by the patient to the doctor, on the basis of which further diagnosis are done. Symptoms are said to be subjective as they can only be felt by the person. Example: shivering, headache, body ache, nausea, muscles fatigue.
Symptoms can be considered as an indication of a particular disease; these are not visible to others. Symptoms should be taken seriously, and if noticed, one should consult a physician as soon as possible.
There are three types of medical symptoms
- Chronic Symptoms: In this kind of symptom there is a long-lasting pain, which does not go away like in cancer, AIDS, asthma.
- Relapsing symptoms: These are the symptoms which reoccur, after disappearing in the past. The best example is multiple sclerosis and cancer.
- Remitting symptoms: Symptoms which get completely escape from the body.
Key Differences Between Signs and Symptoms
There is very minute though the important difference between the above two is as follows:
- The sign is observed by health care professionals, but symptoms are experienced or felt by the patient.
- Examples of signs are asthma, tuberculosis, cancer, AIDS, etc. whereas itching, body ache, headache, nausea, are the symptoms felt by the patient itself.
- Signs are measurable by monitoring pulse rate, temperature, X-ray, Laboratory test, and other machines, whereas Symptoms cannot be measured, they are only felt.
- Signs are visible, Symptoms are unclear and invisible.
- The sign is an objective evidence of a disease; Symptom is a subjective evidence of a disease.
- Medical signs are of three types – Anamnestic signs, Prognostic signs, Diagnostic signs whereas medical symptoms are of three types – Chronic symptoms, Relapsing symptoms, Remitting symptoms.
Signs and Symptoms are very close and confusing words for the non-medical people; these words are interrelated help doctors to provide proper medication and treatment. Both provide clues to know better about the disease.