Medical Definition of Symptom

  • Medical Author:
    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.

Reviewed on 12/27/2018

Symptom: Any subjective evidence of disease. In contrast, a sign is objective. Blood coming out a nostril is a sign; it is apparent to the patient, physician, and others. Anxiety, low back pain, and fatigue are all symptoms; only the patient can perceive them.

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Reviewed on 12/27/2018