The term symptom (from the Greek syn = con/plus and pipto = fall, together meaning co-exist) has two similar meanings in the context of physical and mental health:
- A symptom can be a physical condition which shows that one has a particular illness or disorder (see e.g. Longman, 1995). An example of a symptom in this sense of the word would be a rash.
- A symptom can also refer to a sensation or change in health function experienced by a patient. In this sense of the word, it is a subjective report, as opposed to a sign, which is objective evidence of the presence of a disease or disorder. Examples of symptoms are fatigue/tiredness, pain, or nausea. In contrast, elevated blood pressure, or abnormal appearance of the retina, would be signs of disease.
- Longman dictionary of contemporary English (1995). Third edition.
Last updated: 06-01-2005 23:35:17