Sign vs Symptoms: Difference and Comparison

A similar word often confuses people; they cannot differentiate between them and consider both items the same.


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The words signs and symptoms have different meanings and are very much different from each other. Few people consider both terms the same.

Let me tell you this both signs and symptoms are very much different from each other as they have different meanings.

The word sign can be defined as an event, object, quality, or entity whose presence indicates probable occurrence or presence of something else.

It also means objective confirmation of a disease seen by other people.

Key Takeaways

  1. Signs are objective indications of a medical condition that a healthcare professional can observe, measure or test.
  2. Symptoms are subjective experiences the patient reports and are often used to diagnose a disease or condition.
  3. Signs can be physical, like rashes, while symptoms can be physical, like pain, or psychological, like anxiety.

Sign vs Symptoms

The difference between signs and symptoms is that a sign is an objectivation indication of other people’s disease. On the other hand, symptoms are subjective and are only observed by the patient. The word symptoms means the subjective indication of health a doctor does not observe. The symptoms might be headaches because of stress, stomach cramps from eating undercooked fish, or fatigue.

Sign vs Symptoms

Comparison Table

Parameter of Comparison Signs Symptoms
Meaning Signs are defined as the objective confirmation of disease which other people see.Symptoms are defined as the subjective evidence that a patient feels itself,
Presence Signs give a hint about the particular disease which is present in the patient body.Symptoms are an indication of disease which is present in the patient body.
Observe Signs are noticed by other people as if the nurse notices the patient’s body’s rashes and the doctor; then, it is sign.Symptoms are noticed by the patient, like rashes in the patient’s body are noticed itself, and then it is a symptom.
Nature The sign is objective.Symptoms are subjective.
CheckIt can be checked by temperature, X-ray, blood test, etc.It cannot be checked as the patient only felts it.
Types There are different types of signs Anamnestic, Prognostic, and diagnostic signs.There are different types of symptoms like  Chronic, Relapsing, and Remitting symptoms.
Visible Signs are visible and seen by the others.Symptoms are not clear and definite.
ExampleAIDS, cancer, and asthma that the doctor diagnoses.Body pain, headache, and itching that the patient only suffers.

What are Signs?

As we search around the sign’s general information, it will give us information about the object and the presence of something else.

In medical terms, signs are objective information about a health problem or illness.

The doctor or medical professionals ask about the patient’s symptoms and then take the step-like pulse rate, X-ray, blood test, and many more.

Signs can be heard, seen, and felt by the others in the patient’s body, just as bleeding, fractures and swelling; are considered signs. Thus signs can detect the disease.

There are different types of signs in medical terms, like anamnestic, prognostic, and diagnostic signs.

The anamnestic sign refers to the patient’s health problem which occurred in the past, just as a stroke, heart attack, and paralysis. Prognostic is the sign that can predict future disease.

Simply, a doctor can predict the disease after observing symptoms and signs. The last diagnostic signs can detect the illness the patient is suffering from.


What are Symptoms?

Symptoms are subjective indications that only the patient can experience. Simply put, it is a problem that patients face and provide the information to the doctor.

However, based on that information, doctors take a step.

It is not like the objective sign. In contrast, symptoms are subjective and are only felt by the person, just as shivering, body ache, headache, muscle fatigue, nausea, and many more are examples of symptoms. I

n fact; symptoms can also indicate a certain disease. They are not visible clearly, but they can be felt.

There are also different types of symptoms, like chronic, relapsing, and remitting symptoms.

Chronic symptoms are long-lasting pain symptoms and cannot go away, just like asthma, AIDS, and cancer. Relapsing symptoms come again after disappearing in the past, just like cancer and multiple sclerosis.

Remitting symptoms are the symptoms that can completely get away from the body.


Main Differences Between Signs and Symptoms

  1. Signs are defined as the objective confirmation of disease which other people see. On the other hand, symptoms are defined as subjective evidence that the patient feels.
  2. Signs are objective; on the other hand, symptoms are subjective.
  3. Signs are visible and seen by other people, like doctors and nurses. On the other hand, symptoms are not seen, but the patient felts them.
  4. It can be checked by temperature, X-ray, blood test, etc. On the other hand, It cannot be checked as the patient only felts it.
  5. There are three types of signs: Anamnestic, Prognostic, and Diagnostic. On the other hand, there are three types of symptoms: Chronic, Relapsing, and Remitting.
Difference Between Sign and Symptoms
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