The word symptom has its etymological origin in a term from Latin which was “symptōma”, this curiously also has its origins in another word from Greek. All these different meanings of the word are used to name the signs or indications that something is happening will happen in the future.

However, currently it is a word that finds a wider use within the field of medicine. It is a term that is used to refer to all phenomena that are indicative of the suffering of a disease.

In a broad sense, it could be said that a symptom is a subjective signal, that is, in terms of the patient’s perceptual abilities to be able to identify anomalies in their own organism. Symptoms such as pain that can appear in different areas of the body are usually taken as an example. Also mentioned is increased body temperature, nausea and dizziness are just some of them.


What is a symptom? 

A symptom is defined as the phenomenon, sensation or change that occurs in bodily functions. These are considered fundamental elements to be able to make diagnoses to patients, they are clear indications of the presence of a disease or condition that must be treated.

Symptoms can be described as characteristic signs of specific diseases. For example, when someone is ill with the flu, it is common for them to begin to manifest constant sneezing, experience a sore throat, limitations to breathe fluently and also other ailments related to the respiratory system.

The symptoms show coherence in the changes that have occurred in the functions of the body, it can be observed that normal activities begin to be affected. Affected people report feeling discomfort which implies a decline in health , as a consequence the quality of life of the patient is significantly affected.

What are their characteristics? 

The main characteristic of the symptoms is that they appear unexpectedly. This means that people themselves report experiencing new sensations and discomforts that they did not experience before. Diseases usually show the same pattern in their symptoms, in this way the evolution of the condition can be monitored.

These indicators have allowed doctors to make their diagnoses in a more precise way. This is difficult in those conditions called asymptomatic, what characterizes them is the lack of symptoms which makes some diseases go unnoticed. When this occurs the health of the patient is endangered because they fail to administer the appropriate treatment on time.

There are a different number of symptoms that can be seen. It is important to mention that most of them provide a specific level of pain, some patients may have a higher tolerance to pain. The diagnosis of diseases usually depends entirely on the identification of the symptoms, the most usual thing is that the patients themselves decide to attend a medical consultation after experiencing them for a long period of time.

Symptoms can be clearly classified by tail they manifest and how they affect bodily functions. This means that they can be felt in specific areas or simply limited functions that are unrelated to others. So the symptoms can be respiratory, sensory, gastrointestinal, muscular, neurological, cardiovascular and also psychological.

Other characteristics of the symptoms are mentioned below. It is important to pay attention to the amount of time of which they manifest. It is recommended to attend a medical consultation when an evolution is observed that indicates the worsening of the patient’s health . They are as follows:

  • The symptoms are physical which means they can be identified by how they affect the body. Symptoms can be an increase in the secretion of certain substances such as sweating, changes in body waste with the appearance of diarrhea or vomiting and also pain in different areas.
  • The symptoms may have a mechanical origin, this means that the functions of the muscular and skeletal system may present limitations. As a result of some type of accident, you can experience muscle weakness, fatigue, contractures, tears and fractures .
  • It is important not to confuse a symptom with a clinical sign , the latter is the objective manifestation that has been observed by the doctor. Following a physical examination, clinical signs can be observed, it is evident in the biology of the patient that they can be associated with a disease. An example of this type is the increase in body temperature known as a fever.
  • Symptoms should not be confused with syndrome , the last extra is the set or several symptoms or signs. They present a characteristic pattern which allows the doctor to make a more precise diagnosis.


Some symptom examples reflect how patients can observe changes in their body on their own. Traditional examples are muscle aches, breathing difficulties, and weakness. These are associated with various medical conditions, so when these symptoms appear zero, they will have to perform different medical tests to rule out.

Sometimes it will be difficult to differentiate between a symptom and a clinical sign. A good example of this type is found in the alteration of body temperature, fever is usually considered as a type of clinical sign. However, fever also generates subjective sensations that patients perceive notably, this is the case of headache or headache which is considered a symptom.

Dollars typically consider zero the most important symptoms to watch for. From the agreement where these are located, they serve as indicators that some type of condition is developing in that area. For example, dry skin or peeling of the outer layer can be symptoms of a disease that is affecting the epidermis.

As for the internal symptoms, it may be difficult to have a normal digestion, which is called constipation . Also sore throats and headaches indicate that a condition is located in these parts that must be treated.

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Alexa Clark specializes in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. She has experience in listening and welcoming in Individual Therapy and Couples Therapy. It meets demands such as generalized anxiety, professional, love and family conflicts, stress, depression, sexual dysfunction, grief, and adolescents from 15 years of age. Over the years, She felt the need to conduct the psychotherapy sessions with subtlety since She understands that the psychologist acts as a facilitator of self-understanding and self-acceptance, valuing each person's respect, uniqueness, and acceptance.

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