Difference between Signs and Symptoms

Key difference: Signs are the physical manifestation of the illness, injury or disease. It is objective, which means that it can be seen and measured, usually by a doctor or a nurse. Symptoms, on the other hand, are things that can only be felt by the patient. These are the things that a patient experiences about the illness, injury or disease. These must be described to the doctor, in order for him or her to diagnose the patient.

 Whenever we are sick, and someone asks us what happened or how we are feeling, we start describing signs and symptoms, but what are signs and symptoms? How are they different? Or are they the same?

Actually, signs and symptoms are two different things that manifest when we are ill, and they differ significantly. However, we rarely notice they difference. Essentially, signs are objective, while symptoms are subjective. This means that signs are things that are visible to everyone, while symptoms are things that the patient feels, but that can’t be seen.

Signs are the physical manifestation of the illness, injury or disease. It is objective, which means that it can be seen and measured, usually by a doctor or a nurse. Signs include temperature, pulse, blood pressure, wounds, bruising, etc. All these things can be seen by all and measured.

Symptoms, on the other hand, are things that can only be felt by the patient. These are the things that a patient experiences about the illness, injury or disease. These must be described to the doctor, in order for him or her to diagnose the patient. Actually, a diagnosis is 80% to 90% based on the symptoms as felt and described by the patient, while the rest will be based on signs and laboratory results. Symptoms can include pain, nausea, chills, numbness, fatigue, vertigo, malaise, itching, stomach cramps, burning on urination, etc.

The same signs or symptoms may correspond to numerous different types of illness, injury or disease. A doctor must have a thorough knowledge of the acute combination of signs and symptoms that the patient exhibits and in what intensity, in order to make a correct diagnosis.

Image Courtesy: summitpediatrics.blogspot.com, officialhealth.org

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