The key difference between symptom and syndrome is that symptom is a subjective indication of illnesses or diseases, while syndrome is a collection of symptoms.
Both symptoms and syndromes indicate the development or the presence of an illness or a disease. Symptoms are extremely vital since a physician prescribes medicine based on the description made by the patient on how he/she feels. Syndrome, on the other hand, provides external observations the patient does not feel directly.
What is a Symptom?
A symptom is a detectable observation experienced in an illness or a disease. It is subjective and something that an individual experiences out-of-the-ordinary signs such as fever, headache, or any other mild pains in the body. A symptom also helps to diagnose medical problems. Common symptoms, which are observed during illnesses, are fluctuation of heart rate or pulse, temperature, blood pressure, breathing rate, vomiting, severe pain in parts of the body, and other unusual changes in the body.
There are different types of symptoms, such as chronic symptoms, relapsing symptoms, and remitting symptoms. Chronic symptoms recur over a long period of time. Chronic symptoms for individuals who suffer from cardiac diseases are regular chest pain, breathlessness, and palpitations. Relapsing symptoms are symptoms that take place occasionally and have a similar history. Depression is a common example of relapsing symptoms since they reappear again after being absent. Remitting symptoms are symptoms that improve and disappear with time, for example, regular headaches. Given below are some diseases and the most common symptoms for them.
- Common cold – sinusitis
- Chicken pox – fatigue
- Type 2 diabetes – thirst
- Coronary heart disease – chest pain
- COVID-19 – loss of smell and taste
- Depression – feeling lonely and miserable
What is a Syndrome?
A syndrome is a group of symptoms or signs correlating with each other and associated with a particular disease, disorder, or abnormal condition. The word syndrome derives from the Greek word ‘sundrom’, which means concurrence of symptoms. A syndrome is closely linked to pathogenesis. Defining a syndrome is known as syndromology. A syndrome produces a number of symptoms without identifying any cause. There are many reasons for syndromes. Doctors usually prescribe medications to help control symptoms of individuals.
A syndrome depicts patterns of symptoms, including behavioral patterns to indicate different conditions. Most syndromes are named after the physicians who first noticed them in individuals. A few examples are Down’s syndrome, Klinefelter’s syndrome, Huntington’s disease, Cushing’s Syndrome, Asperger’s syndrome, Alzheimer’s disease, Hodgkin’s lymphoma, and Parkinson’s disease.
What are the Similarities Between Symptom and Syndrome?
- Symptom and syndrome relate to disorders.
- Both terms are vital for disease diagnosis.
- Both symptoms and syndromes occur due to disease conditions.
What is the Difference Between Symptom and Syndrome?
A symptom is a subjective indication of illnesses or diseases, while a syndrome is a collection of symptoms. This is the key difference between symptom and syndrome. A symptom usually appears and accompanies a particular disease or disorder, while a syndrome usually has a pattern of symptoms that characterize particular conditions. Moreover, some symptoms cannot be observed externally whereas a syndrome could be observed externally.
The following table summarizes the difference between symptom and syndrome.
Summary – Symptom vs Syndrome
Symptom and syndrome are similar types of words that indicate the development or the presence of an illness or a disease. A symptom is a subjective indication of illnesses or diseases, whereas a syndrome is a collection of symptoms. A symptom is subjective and something that an individual experiences out of the ordinary signs, such as fever, headache, or any other mild pains in the body. A syndrome is a group of symptoms or signs that correlate with each other and associate with a particular disease, disorder, or abnormal condition. This summarizes the difference between symptom and syndrome.
1. Calvo, Franz, et al. “Diagnoses, Syndromes, and Diseases: A Knowledge Representation Problem.” AMIA … Annual Symposium Proceedings. AMIA Symposium, American Medical Informatics Association, 2003.
1. “What’s the Difference between Signs and Symptoms?” Medical Centre, 20 Aug. 2020.