symptom (sim(p)'tom) [Gr. symptoma, occurrence]
Any change in the body or its functions as perceived by the patient. A symptom represents the subjective experience of disease. Symptoms are described by patients in their complaint or history of the present illness. By contrast, signs are the objective findings observed by health care providers during the examination of patients.
Aspects of general symptom analysis include the following: onset: date, manner (gradual or sudden), and precipitating factors; characteristics: character, location, radiation, severity, timing, aggravating or relieving factors, and associated symptoms; course since onset: incidence, progress, and effects of therapy.
A minor symptom, or a nonpathognomonic one. Synonym: assident symptom
A symptom occurring incidentally during the course of a disease but having no relationship to the disease.
A symptom that raises the concern that a patient may have a severe illness and requires careful evaluation. For example, in patients with digestive illnesses, findings such as anemia, anorexia, bleeding, dehydration, fever, or weight loss are considered alarm symptoms.
assident symptomAccessory symptom.
A fundamental symptom of a disease.
A symptom occurring along with the essential symptoms of a disease.
A symptom (such as fever, malaise, loss of appetite) caused by or indicating systemic disease. Synonym: general symptom
conversion symptomConversion reaction.
Anesthesia to heat, cold, and pain without loss of tactile sensibility; seen in syringomyelia.
A symptom caused by a lesion to a specific body part or a particular location in the central or peripheral nervous system. Synonym: local symptom
general symptomConstitutional symptom.
A feeling of constriction, e.g., about the chest, as caused by a tight girdle, a symptom in tabes. It is also found in compression of the cord owing to collapse of the vertebrae, as in Pott disease.
Howship symptom See: Howship, John
A symptom occurring secondarily as a result of a disease in another organ system or body part.
irritative voiding symptom
Painful or unusually sensitive urination, e.g., as a result of urinary tract infection, urinary stones, other foreign bodies, or tumors.
A group of symptoms (such as tinnitus, vertigo, or nausea) indicating a disease or lesion of the inner ear.
local symptomFocal symptom.
medically unexplained symptom Abbreviation: MUS
MUS A complaint from a patient that has eluded explanation despite assessment by health care practitioners.
negative pathognomonic symptom
A symptom that never occurs in a certain disease or condition; hence, a symptom whose presence rules out the existence of that disease.
A symptom apparent to the observer. See: sign (2)
passive symptomStatic symptom.
A symptom that is unmistakably associated with a particular disease.
The symptom that led the patient to seek medical care.
rational symptomSubjective symptom.
Rumpf symptom See: Rumpf symptom
Séguin signal symptom See: Séguin signal symptom
A symptom that is premonitory of an impending condition such as the aura that precedes an attack of epilepsy or migraine.
A symptom pert. to the condition of a single organ or structure without reference to the remainder of the body. Synonym: passive symptom
A symptom apparent only to the patient. Synonym: rational symptom
An informal term for a symptom due to psychological rather than organic causes. The term refers to symptoms with causes originating “above the tentorium cerebelli, ” i.e., in the brain rather than in the body.
A symptom for which there is no specific inciting cause and usually occurring at a point more or less remote from the point of disturbance. See: sympathy (1)
Any of the symptoms that follow the sudden discontinuation of the use of a substance to which a person has become addicted. See: withdrawal syndrome
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