Signs or Symptoms: Do You Know the Difference?

It’s easy to understand once you get the picture! A sign is something that you or your doctor can see. Signs are objective. A red rash on your skin is a sign. Deformed fingers as you see in arthritis are signs. When your doctor tells you that you look pale, that is a sign. A symptom is something that you feel. If you say that your leg hurts when you walk. That’s a symptom. Once in a while, the terms “sign” and “symptom” are interchangeable, such as: I’ve lost all the hair on my head (symptom), and you might look at me and tell me that I’m bald (sign). But usually the two terms can not be correctly interchanged.

PositiveTip: Pay attention to how people use the words “sign” and “symptom.” You may find that these terms are often confused.