Illnesses are diseases that organisms like parasites, fungi, viruses, or bacteria cause. Most of these living organisms live on and in the human body. Some are helpful or harmless. But most, under some conditions, may cause illnesses.
Some illnesses, especially infectious diseases, are passed from one individual to another. Some get transmitted through insects, while others by animals. You may also get other infectious diseases by consuming contaminated water and food or getting exposed to organisms on the surface or in the environment.
Whether or not it is an infectious disease, experts at Prism Health Labs suggest that you are likely to have symptoms that help doctors determine the kind of illness you are suffering from. Symptoms vary based on the organisms causing the illness.
What Symptoms Are
Symptoms are simply the manifestation of illnesses apparent to patients. They represent patients’ complaints; when severe, they drive them to their doctor’s office. But if they are not severe, they come to light after a doctor asks you several questions.
For instance, a patient can have subjective discomforts/pains, disturbances of functions, or simple appearances, like rashes, for five days or so.
Signs vs. Symptoms: the Key Differences
Signs are observable and objective phenomena, which another person can identify. Examples of signs are runny nose, blisters, spots, fever, and poor wound healing, to name a few.
On the other hand, symptoms are subjective experiences, which anyone else can’t identify. Symptoms often depend on the kind of illness. For instance, a fungal infection causes localized symptoms, such as itching and rash. But if you have bacterial and viral infections, you will likely have symptoms like cough, congestion, vomiting, nausea, diarrhea, and chills. Other symptoms are thirst, fatigue, chest pain, sinus pain, feeling miserable, and loss of smell/taste.
Doctors usually diagnose medical conditions easily when patients have observable signs and subjective descriptions of symptoms.
Types of Symptoms
Symptoms can affect organ systems in the body. General symptoms often refer to those which affect the sense of well-being of an individual.
Other symptoms are specific to the affected human body parts. This is why experts have categorized symptoms into different types, including the following:
- Relapsing – The symptoms are worse. The most common scenario is in individuals with autoimmune diseases, like lupus, who experience flares or worsening symptoms.
- Remitting – These are symptoms, which have gone completely or improved. For instance, if an individual had previously suffered from migraines.
- Chronic – These refer to persistent complaints related to illnesses, which last for months or even years. For instance, an individual with heart disease can have chest pains as well as other symptoms for months.
- Acute – These symptoms come and go away quickly on their own or when a patient gets treated. For example, cold symptoms often fade away after a few days or one week.
In most cases, serious illnesses come out of nowhere without any warning. So being aware of what you should look for and keeping watch of the most common symptoms early will mean the difference between life and death.