A symptom (from Greek σύμπτωμα, "accident, misfortune, that which befalls",from συμπίπτω, "I befall", from συν- "together, with" and πίπτω, "I fall") is a departure from normal function or feeling which is apparent to a patient, reflecting the presence of an unusual state, or of a disease. A symptom can be subjective or objective. Tiredness is a subjective symptom whereas cough or fever are objective symptoms. In contrast to a symptom, a sign is a clue to a disease elicited by an examiner or a doctor. For example, paresthesia is a symptom (only the person experiencing it can directly observe their own tingling feeling), whereas erythema is a sign (anyone can confirm that the skin is redder than usual). Symptoms and signs are often nonspecific, but often combinations of them are at least suggestive of certain diagnoses, helping to narrow down what may be wrong. In other cases they are specific even to the point of being pathognomonic.
Greek is an independent branch of the Indo-European family of languages, native to Greece, Cyprus and other parts of the Eastern Mediterranean and the Black Sea. It has the longest documented history of any living Indo-European language, spanning more than 3000 years of written records. Its writing system has been the Greek alphabet for the major part of its history; other systems, such as Linear B and the Cypriot syllabary, were used previously. The alphabet arose from the Phoenician script and was in turn the basis of the Latin, Cyrillic, Armenian, Coptic, Gothic, and many other writing systems.
A patient is any recipient of health care services. The patient is most often ill or injured and in need of treatment by a physician, nurse, psychologist, dentist, veterinarian, or other health care provider.
A disease is a particular abnormal condition that negatively affects the structure or function of part or all of an organism, and that is not due to any external injury. Diseases are often construed as medical conditions that are associated with specific symptoms and signs. A disease may be caused by external factors such as pathogens or by internal dysfunctions. For example, internal dysfunctions of the immune system can produce a variety of different diseases, including various forms of immunodeficiency, hypersensitivity, allergies and autoimmune disorders.
The term is sometimes also applied to physiological states outside the context of disease, as for example when referring to "symptoms of pregnancy". Many people use the term sign and symptom interchangeably.
Pathophysiology – a convergence of pathology with physiology – is the study of the disordered physiological processes that cause, result from, or are otherwise associated with a disease or injury. Pathology is the medical discipline that describes conditions typically observed during a disease state, whereas physiology is the biological discipline that describes processes or mechanisms operating within an organism. Pathology describes the abnormal or undesired condition, whereas pathophysiology seeks to explain the functional changes that are occurring within an individual due to a disease or pathologic state.
Pregnancy, also known as gestation, is the time during which one or more offspring develops inside a woman. A multiple pregnancy involves more than one offspring, such as with twins. Pregnancy can occur by sexual intercourse or assisted reproductive technology. Childbirth typically occurs around 40 weeks from the last menstrual period (LMP). This is just over nine months, where each month averages 31 days. When measured from fertilization it is about 38 weeks. An embryo is the developing offspring during the first eight weeks following fertilization, after which, the term fetus is used until birth. Symptoms of early pregnancy may include missed periods, tender breasts, nausea and vomiting, hunger, and frequent urination. Pregnancy may be confirmed with a pregnancy test.
Symptoms may be briefly acute or a more prolonged but acute or chronic, relapsing or remitting. Asymptomatic conditions also exist (e.g. subclinical infections and silent diseases like sometimes, high blood pressure).
In medicine, relapse or recidivism is a recurrence of a past condition. For example, multiple sclerosis and malaria often exhibit peaks of activity and sometimes long periods of dormancy, followed by relapse or recrudescence.
Remission is either the reduction or abatement of the symptoms of a disease and the period during which this occurs. A partial remission may be defined for cancer as 50% or greater reduction in the measurable parameters of tumor growth as may be found on physical examination, radiologic study, or by biomarker levels from a blood or urine test. A complete remission is defined as complete disappearance of all such manifestations of disease. Each disease or even clinical trial can have its own definition of a partial remission.
In medicine, a disease is considered asymptomatic if a patient is a carrier for a disease or infection but experiences no symptoms. A condition might be asymptomatic if it fails to show the noticeable symptoms with which it is usually associated. Asymptomatic infections are also called subclinical infections. Other diseases might be considered subclinical if they present some but not all of the symptoms required for a clinical diagnosis. The term clinically silent is also used.
Constitutional or general symptoms are those related to the systemic effects of a disease (e.g., fever, malaise, anorexia, and weight loss). They affect the entire body rather than a specific organ or location.
The terms "chief complaint", "presenting symptom", "iatrotropic symptom", or "presenting complaint" are used to describe the initial concern which brings a patient to a doctor. The symptom that ultimately leads to a diagnosis is called a "cardinal symptom".
A physician, medical practitioner, medical doctor, or simply doctor is a professional who practises medicine, which is concerned with promoting, maintaining, or restoring health through the study, diagnosis, prognosis and treatment of disease, injury, and other physical and mental impairments. Physicians may focus their practice on certain disease categories, types of patients and methods of treatment—known as specialities—or they may assume responsibility for the provision of continuing and comprehensive medical care to individuals, families, and communities—known as general practice. Medical practice properly requires both a detailed knowledge of the academic disciplines underlying diseases and their treatment—the science of medicine—and also a decent competence in its applied practice—the art or craft of medicine.
Diagnosis is the identification of the nature and cause of a certain phenomenon. Doctor Diagnosis is used in many different disciplines with variations in the use of logic, analytics, and experience to determine "cause and effect". In systems engineering and computer science, it is typically used to determine the causes of symptoms, mitigations, and solutions.
Non-specific symptoms are self-reported symptoms that do not indicate a specific disease process or involve an isolated body system. For example, fatigue is a feature of many acute and chronic medical conditions, which may or may not be mental, and may be either a primary or secondary symptom. Fatigue is also a normal, healthy condition when experienced after exertion or at the end of a day.
In describing mental disorders,especially schizophrenia, symptoms can be divided into positive and negative symptoms.
A mental disorder, also called a mental illness or psychiatric disorder, is a behavioral or mental pattern that causes significant distress or impairment of personal functioning. Such features may be persistent, relapsing and remitting, or occur as a single episode. Many disorders have been described, with signs and symptoms that vary widely between specific disorders. Such disorders may be diagnosed by a mental health professional.
Schizophrenia is a mental disorder characterized by abnormal behavior, strange speech, and a decreased ability to understand reality. Other symptoms include false beliefs, unclear or confused thinking, hearing voices that do not exist, reduced social engagement and emotional expression, and lack of motivation. People with schizophrenia often have additional mental health problems such as anxiety, depression, or substance-use disorders. Symptoms typically come on gradually, begin in young adulthood, and, in many cases, never resolve.
Some symptoms occur in a wide range of disease processes, whereas other symptoms are fairly specific for a narrow range of illnesses. For example, a sudden loss of sight in one eye has a significantly smaller number of possible causes than nausea does.
Some symptoms can be misleading to the patient or the medical practitioner caring for them. For example, inflammation of the gallbladder often gives rise to pain in the right shoulder, which may understandably lead the patient to attribute the pain to a non-abdominal cause such as muscle strain.
A sign has the potential to be objectively observed by someone other than the patient, whereas a symptom does not. There is a correlation between this difference and the difference between the medical history and the physical examination. Symptoms belong only to the history, whereas signs can often belong to both. Clinical signs such as rash and muscle tremors are objectively observable both by the patient and by anyone else. Some signs belong only to the physical examination, because it takes medical expertise to uncover them. (For example, laboratory signs such as hypocalcaemia or neutropenia require blood tests to find.) A sign observed by the patient last week but now gone (such as a resolved rash) was a sign, but it belongs to the medical history, not the physical examination, because the physician cannot independently verify it today.
Symptomatology (also called semeiology) is a branch of medicine dealing with symptoms.Also this study deals with the signs and indications of a disease.
Factitious disorder imposed on self, also known as Munchausen syndrome, is a factitious disorder wherein those affected feign disease, illness, or psychological trauma to draw attention, sympathy, or reassurance to themselves. Munchausen syndrome fits within the subclass of factitious disorder with predominantly physical signs and symptoms, but patients also have a history of recurrent hospitalization, travelling, and dramatic, extremely improbable tales of their past experiences. The condition derives its name from fictional character Baron Munchausen.
Nosology is the branch of medical science that deals with the classification of diseases.
Paranoid schizophrenia is the most common type of schizophrenia. Schizophrenia is defined as “a chronic mental disorder in which a person loses touch with reality (psychosis)." Schizophrenia is divided into subtypes based on the “predominant symptomatology at the time of evaluation." The clinical picture is dominated by relatively stable and often persecutory delusions that are usually accompanied by hallucinations, particularly of the auditory variety, and perceptual disturbances. These symptoms can have a huge effect on functioning and can negatively affect quality of life. Paranoid schizophrenia is a lifelong disease, but with proper treatment, a person with the illness can attain a higher quality of life.
Hypochondriasis or hypochondria is a condition in which a person is excessively and unduly worried about having a serious illness. An old concept, its meaning has repeatedly changed due to redefinitions in its source metaphors. It has been claimed that this debilitating condition results from an inaccurate perception of the condition of body or mind despite the absence of an actual medical diagnosis. An individual with hypochondriasis is known as a hypochondriac. Hypochondriacs become unduly alarmed about any physical or psychological symptoms they detect, no matter how minor the symptom may be, and are convinced that they or others have, or are about to be diagnosed with, a serious illness.
Fatigue is a subjective feeling of tiredness that has a gradual onset. Unlike weakness, fatigue can be alleviated by periods of rest. Fatigue can have physical or mental causes. Physical fatigue is the transient inability of a muscle to maintain optimal physical performance, and is made more severe by intense physical exercise. Mental fatigue is a transient decrease in maximal cognitive performance resulting from prolonged periods of cognitive activity. It can manifest as somnolence, lethargy, or directed attention fatigue.
Palpitations are the perceived abnormality of the heartbeat characterized by awareness of cardiac muscle contractions in the chest: hard, fast and/or irregular beats. It is both a symptom reported by the patient and a medical diagnosis. Palpitation can be associated with anxiety and does not necessarily indicate a structural or functional abnormality of the heart, but it can be a symptom arising from an objectively rapid or irregular heartbeat. Palpitation can be intermittent and of variable frequency and duration, or continuous. Associated symptoms include dizziness, shortness of breath, sweating, headaches and chest pain.
A medical sign is an objective indication of some medical fact or characteristic that may be detected by a patient or anyone, especially a physician, before or during a physical examination of a patient. For example, whereas a tingling paresthesia is a symptom, erythema is a sign. Symptoms and signs are often nonspecific, but often combinations of them are at least suggestive of certain diagnoses, helping to narrow down what may be wrong. In other cases they are specific even to the point of being pathognomonic.
The mental status examination or mental state examination (MSE) is an important part of the clinical assessment process in psychiatric practice. It is a structured way of observing and describing a patient's psychological functioning at a given point in time, under the domains of appearance, attitude, behavior, mood, and affect, speech, thought process, thought content, perception, cognition, insight, and judgment. There are some minor variations in the subdivision of the MSE and the sequence and names of MSE domains.
An autoantibody is an antibody produced by the immune system that is directed against one or more of the individual's own proteins. Many autoimmune diseases are caused by such autoantibodies.
Frontal lobe disorder is an impairment of the frontal lobe that occurs due to disease or head trauma. The frontal lobe of the brain plays a key role in higher mental functions such as motivation, planning, social behaviour, and speech production. A frontal lobe syndrome can be caused by a range of conditions including head trauma, tumours, degenerative diseases, neurosurgery and cerebrovascular disease. Frontal lobe impairment can be detected by recognition of typical clinical signs, use of simple screening tests, and specialist neurological testing.
A neurological examination is the assessment of sensory neuron and motor responses, especially reflexes, to determine whether the nervous system is impaired. This typically includes a physical examination and a review of the patient's medical history, but not deeper investigation such as neuroimaging. It can be used both as a screening tool and as an investigative tool, the former of which when examining the patient when there is no expected neurological deficit and the latter of which when examining a patient where you do expect to find abnormalities. If a problem is found either in an investigative or screening process, then further tests can be carried out to focus on a particular aspect of the nervous system.
An organic brain syndrome (OBS), also known as an organic brain disease/disorder (OBD), an organic mental syndrome (OMS), or an organic mental disorder (OMD), is a syndrome or disorder of mental function whose cause is alleged to be known as organic (physiologic) rather than purely of the mind. These names are older and nearly obsolete general terms from psychiatry, referring to many physical disorders that cause impaired mental function. They are meant to exclude psychiatric disorders. Originally, the term was created to distinguish physical causes of mental impairment from psychiatric disorders, but during the era when this distinction was drawn, not enough was known about brain science for this cause-based classification to be more than educated guesswork labeled with misplaced certainty, which is why it has been deemphasized in current medicine.
Medical model is the term coined by psychiatrist R. D. Laing in his The Politics of the Family and Other Essays (1971), for the "set of procedures in which all doctors are trained". It includes complaint, history, physical examination, ancillary tests if needed, diagnosis, treatment, and prognosis with and without treatment.
A functional symptom is a medical symptom, with no known physical cause. It arises from a problem in the ‘functioning’ of the nervous system, and not due to a structural or pathologically defined disease. Functional symptoms are increasingly viewed within a framework in which psychological, physiological and biological factors should be considered to be relevant.
A psychiatric assessment, or psychological screening, is the process of gathering information about a person within a psychiatric service, with the purpose of making a diagnosis. The assessment is usually the first stage of a treatment process, but psychiatric assessments may also be used for various legal purposes. The assessment includes social and biographical information, direct observations, and data from specific psychological tests. It is typically carried out by a psychiatrist, but it can be a multi-disciplinary process involving nurses, psychologists, occupational therapist, social workers, and licensed professional counselors.
Medical diagnosis is the process of determining which disease or condition explains a person's symptoms and signs. It is most often referred to as diagnosis with the medical context being implicit. The information required for diagnosis is typically collected from a history and physical examination of the person seeking medical care. Often, one or more diagnostic procedures, such as diagnostic tests, are also done during the process. Sometimes posthumous diagnosis is considered a kind of medical diagnosis.
A neurological disorder is any disorder of the nervous system. Structural, biochemical or electrical abnormalities in the brain, spinal cord or other nerves can result in a range of symptoms. Examples of symptoms include paralysis, muscle weakness, poor coordination, loss of sensation, seizures, confusion, pain and altered levels of consciousness. There are many recognized neurological disorders, some relatively common, but many rare. They may be assessed by neurological examination, and studied and treated within the specialities of neurology and clinical neuropsychology.
A somatic symptom disorder, formerly known as a somatoform disorder, is any mental disorder which manifests as physical symptoms that suggest illness or injury, but which cannot be explained fully by a general medical condition or by the direct effect of a substance, and are not attributable to another mental disorder. Somatic symptom disorders, as a group, are included in a number of diagnostic schemes of mental illness, including the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders.
Vestibular rehabilitation (VR), also known as vestibular rehabilitation therapy (VRT) is a specialized form of physical therapy used to treat vestibular disorders or symptoms, characterized by dizziness, vertigo, and trouble with balance, posture, and vision. These primary symptoms can result in secondary symptoms such as nausea, fatigue, and lack of concentration. All symptoms of vestibular dysfunction can significantly decrease quality of life, introducing mental-emotional issues such as anxiety and depression, and greatly impair an individual, causing them to become more sedentary. Decreased mobility results in weaker muscles, less flexible joints, and worsened stamina, as well as decreased social and occupational activity. Vestibular rehabilitation therapy can be used in conjunction with cognitive behavioral therapy in order to reduce anxiety and depression resulting from an individual's change in lifestyle.