Symptom versus sign::Symptom
Symptom::symptoms Medical::which Patient::disease Symptoms::example Normal::negative Noticed::positive
Symptom versus sign A symptom can more simply be defined as any feature which is noticed by the patient. A sign is noticed by other people. It is not necessarily the nature of the sign or symptom which defines it, but who observes it.
A feature might be a sign or a symptom - or both - depending on the observer(s). For example, a skin rash may be noticed by either a healthcare professional as a sign, or by the patient as a symptom. When it is noticed by both, then the feature is both a sign and a symptom. In lists of features to expect in the history and physical examination, "rash" may be listed under both (constituting a symptom in the former, a sign in the latter).
Some features, such as pain, can only be symptoms, because they cannot be directly observed by other people. Other features can only be signs, such as a blood cell count measured in a medical laboratory, which most patients have no way to observe independently.
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