Difference Between Etiology and Pathology (With Table)

A person who belongs to a science background can easily differentiate between these two scientific terms, etiology and pathology. However, if the same is preached to several other people, then it becomes a headache. The best way to explain these two terms is by explaining them apart, with some examples.

Although these two terms are very closely related, they have only one major difference. Both the terms etiology and pathology are scientific and related to diseases. In the field in which diseases are studied in detail, the use of these two terms comes into existence in epidemiology.

Scientists and doctors also use etiology and pathology to refer to a specific disease. These terms are almost synonymous and are thus used most of the time interchangeably. Thus, it’s very important to know how and when to apply these terms to get maximum understanding.

Etiology vs Pathology

The difference between etiology and pathology is that etiology describes the processes associated with the initial stages of an injury or disease. Whereas pathology describes the processes associated with the final stages of an injury or disease. Etiology is concerned with the prevention and cause of diseases, but pathology is concerned with the symptoms and cure of the diseases.

Etiology is categorized as the study regarding the cause of the diseases. It is also known as aetiology. It is the former process of study, as it deals with prevention and cause. Robert Koch’s discovered the process of etiology. Etiology is of three types. Idiopathic, Extrinsic, Intrinsic. This process is important in the prevention of the occurrence of diseases. It is the process associated with the initial stages of an injury or disease.

Pathology is categorized as the detailed study of symptoms of various diseases. It is the latter process of study of disease. This process is also known as pathogenesis. Rudolph Virchow is known as the father of pathology. It is of three types, namely molecular pathology, clinical pathology, anatomical pathology. Pathology describes the process associated with the final stages of an injury or disease. This process is important for the cure of diseases.

Comparison Table Between Etiology and Pathology

Parameters of ComparisonEtiologyPathology
StageFormer process of study.The latter process of study.
FieldStudy regarding the cause of the diseases.Detailed study of symptoms of various diseases.
Also known asAetiologyPathogenesis
Discoverer/ Important person associatedRobert Koch’s discovered the process of etiology.Rudolph Virchow is known as the father of pathology.
TypesIdiopathic, Extrinsic, Intrinsic.Molecular pathology, clinical pathology, anatomical pathology.
ConsequenceAssociated with the initial stages of an injury.Associated with the final stages of an injury.
ImportanceImportant in the prevention of the occurrence of diseasesImportant for the cure of diseases.

What is Etiology?

A cause or a set of causes of an injury, disease of the condition is referred to as etiology. It also refers to the manner of causation of an injury. This process involves a detailed study of the origin of the disease and its initial stage. Several factors are responsible, why diseases occur in an organism. Etiology offers the identification of all the risk factors associated with a particular disease.

Its work is the prevention of the occurrence of several diseases as well. The meaning of the word etiology is to give a reason for something. It is derived from a Greek word. Etiology is used in philosophy, medicine, geography, physics, psychology, government, spatial analysis, biology, theology.

What is Pathology?

Detailed research and study of the effects and symptoms of disease, injury, or health condition are called pathology. The process of pathology also incorporates a variety of medical practices and biology research fields. Now in this modern times, in the medical treatment context, the word is used in a streamlined meaning referring to tests and processes.

General pathology is concerned with the contemporary medical field. This field is concerned with medical specialties which are different but related to each other. Moreover, the process is used to analyze body fluid, tissue, and cell samples. A pathologist is a man who practices pathology. Pathology has become a significant field in medical research and the latest medical diagnosis.

Main Differences Between Etiology and Pathology

  1. Etiology is the former process of study, whereas pathology is the latter process of study of disease.
  2. Etiology is categorized as the study regarding the cause of the diseases. But pathology is categorized as the detailed study of symptoms of various diseases.
  3. Etiology is also known as aetiology, whereas pathology is also known as pathogenesis.
  4. Robert Koch’s discovered the process of etiology. Whereas Rudolph Virchow is known as the father of pathology.
  5. Etiology is of three types. Idiopathic, Extrinsic, Intrinsic. Whereas pathology is of three types, namely molecular pathology, clinical pathology, anatomical pathology.
  6. Etiology well describes the process associated with the initial stages of an injury or disease. Whereas pathology describes the process associated with the final stages of an injury or disease.
  7. Etiology is important in the prevention of the occurrence of diseases, but pathology is important for the cure of diseases.

Conclusion

The two scientific terms, “etiology” and “pathology,” deal with the detailed study of diseases. Although these are two similar terms but have major differences as well. Using one term in place of another can lead to failure in a research paper and botch of the scientific process.

The etiology comes before the process of pathology comes into play in the study of disease. Aetiology studies the causes of health issues and risk factors as well. Bacteria, other foreign organisms, and genetic predispositions are also included in the study of aetiology.

After the process of detailed study regarding the cause of diseases finishes, the work of pathology emerges. Pathology studies the risk factors of a disease, progression of the disease, and the factors that trigger complete manifestation.

References

  1. https://www.hand.theclinics.com/article/S0749-0712(03)00079-9/abstract
  2. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0140673601612637
x
Delta vs Estuary video