Difference Between Syndrome and Disease

When it comes to medical science, it covers a lot of scientific terms in which many of which are quite confusing. Among confusing terms, syndrome and disease are two of them which every time puzzles mostly whenever they visit a doctor.


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For a layperson, both the terms are similar and generally used interchangeably.  

For instance, AIDS is called a syndrome, and cancer is a disease. The chief reason behind them calling separately is that these seemingly similar terms have a distinction in their meaning.

In this article, the main focus is on differentiating syndrome and disease.

Syndrome vs Disease 

The difference between syndrome and disease is their treatment. The reason behind the syndrome is mostly failed to be found, and that’s why for controlling syndrome’s symptoms, temporary medications are prescribed. On the other hand, for the underlying cause behind the disease, a proper treatment and diagnosis procedure is done.

Syndrome vs Disease

The term syndrome is used to refer to a symptoms collection that is generally ongoing. Sometimes, it is thought that a syndrome is mainly attributable to some of the diseases.

Syndrome causes can be generic or from causes that are unknown and usually fails to have a clear effect and cause type connection.  

The term disease can be described as a body’s medical condition which disrupts the physiological processes and normal functioning. Every disease has its symptoms and signs attributed to it.

Hereditary, pathogenic, deficiency, and physiological are four kinds of diseases that are accepted. 

Comparison Table

Parameters of ComparisonSyndromeDisease
InterpretationIt is a medical sign set that is often associated with a specific disorder and correlated with each other.It is a specific abnormal condition that affects negatively the Organism and is generally not due to immediate external injury.
Word originFrom the GreekFrom the old French
Change in anatomyNot produce such changeConsistent change
CauseNot traceable to a single causeEstablished single cause
ExampleChronic fatigue syndrome, irritable bowel syndrome, and polycystic ovary syndrome.Tuberculosis, the common cold, and hepatitis A and B.

What is Syndrome? 

In the Canon of medicine, the syndrome’s idea was pioneered and the particular disease’s diagnosis. By Thomas Sydenham, in the 17th century, this was further developed related to the medical syndrome.

Dysmorphology describes the discipline which deals with the syndrome’s diagnosis.  

In medicine, syndrome’s border definition is used which refers to findings and symptoms collection without trying them necessarily to single identifiable pathogenesis.

When it comes to psychiatric syndromes which are often referred to as psychopathological syndromes which describe both psychic dysfunction generally occurring in mental disorders.  

If an underlying cause of genetic suspected but not known then a condition might be called a genetic association. By definition, it indicates that the collection of symptoms and signs occurs more frequently in combination as compared to chance alone.  

Down syndrome is a usual genetic disorder caused due to cell division in an abnormal way and results in a partial or extra full copy of the 21 chromosome. Due to this extra genetic material, the physical features and developmental changes occur. 

What is Disease? 

Diseases are often referred to as medical condition that is linked with particular symptoms and signs. It might be caused due to external factors like pathogens or simply by internal dysfunctions.

For instance, the immune system’s internal dysfunction can lead to different diseases variety consisting several forms of hypersensitivity, autoimmune, immunodeficiency, and allergies disorder.  

Disease in humans is used more broadly to describe any condition that leads to distress, pain, social problems, death, or dysfunction to the person afflicted.

Not only physically, but the disease can also affect mentally because living and contracting with the disease can alter the life’s perspective of the affected person.  

When the disease becomes the reason for death then it is referred to as death by natural causes. Only some diseases like influenza are contagious and usually believed infectious.

A disease-causing microorganism is referred to as a pathogen and contains varieties of fungi, bacteria, protozoa, and viruses.  

Coronary artery disease or simply blood flow obstruction is the deadliest disease which is followed by disease of cerebrovascular as well as lower respiratory infections.

Neuropsychiatric condition is one of the most sickness-causing diseases in developed countries which consists of anxiety and depression.  

Main Differences Syndrome and Disease 

  1. The word syndrome comes from the “sundramein” in which “sun” means together, and “dramein” means to run. Later, from Greek, as sundramein translated into syndrome by modern Latin. Conversely, the word disease comes from the “desaise” in which “dis” means expressing reversal and “aise” means ease. Later, from old French desaise translated into the disease by middle English.  
  2. Most of the syndrome is generally named after the physician who was the first to discover them in people. For instance, position namely Dr down Marfan was the first to notice the condition of Down syndrome. But when it comes to disease, there is no such pattern follows.  
  3. When it comes to a syndrome, it is a kind of a medical mystery because the reason behind most of the syndrome to date is still not found. On the other hand, it is easy to identify the reason behind the disease.  
  4. Across the world, there are approx 2700 syndromes in which most common are down syndrome, cystic fibrosis, and thalassemia. On contrary, at least across the world, there is 10,000 disease in which are most common are heart disease, diabetes, and cancer.  
  5. In terms of treatment, temporary medications are prescribed for controlling the syndrome’s symptoms because the reason behind them is mostly failed to be found. On the flip side, a proper treatment and diagnosis procedure is done for the underlying cause behind the disease. 
Difference Between Syndrome and Disease


  1. https://academic.oup.com/jcem/article-abstract/77/1/249/2650682
  2. https://jasn.asnjournals.org/content/22/3/443.short
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