A symptom is an indication of a disease or a change
in condition that is reported by someone but is not
observed by others. Examples of common symptoms
include an itching sensation, pain (e.g., headache),
depression, and tiredness. Unlike a symptom, a sign
can be observed by others (e.g., a rash) and is often
clear evidence of an abnormal physical condition.

FEATURED BOOK: Professional Guide to Signs
and Symptoms
Symptoms of pain and sadness.
Some symptoms can be confirmed upon examination by a healthcare provider. For
example, a doctor can confirm a patient's complaint of sensory loss in the hand painfully
stimulating the hand and observing the response. Some signs (e.g., scratching) can
indicate a certain symptom (e.g., itching sensation). A primary symptom is one that is an
essential part of a disease, such as itching during chicken pox infection. A secondary
symptom is one that is a result of the disease, but not an essential part of the disease,
such as feeling depressed because of having chicken pox.

The symptoms that cause a person to seek medical help are known as presenting
symptoms. However, presenting symptoms are not always the first to appear. All
healthcare providers should be aware that symptoms can be exaggerated on minimized
depending on the context of the evaluation. Syndromes are a group of symptoms and
signs that occur together and have a common cause, representing a certain disease or
inherited abnormality. Symptom comes from the Greek word "symptoma" meaning "that
which happens."
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