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Med any sensation or change in bodily function experienced by a patient that is associated with a particular disease
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



an indication of a phenomenon, for example, of a disease. Many types of symptoms are distinguished in medicine. Constitutional symptoms characterize diseases of varying genesis and include weakness and increases in body temperature. Pathognomonic symptoms indicate a definite nosologic form; a stabbing pain in the epigastric region, for example, is typical of a perforating gastric ulcer. Subjective symptoms are only revealed upon questioning the individual, and objective symptoms are readily observable through examination, palpation, percussion, auscultation, and laboratory and instrumental diagnostic methods. Signal symptoms are the precursors of a disease. They include early symptoms, such as chest pains with pneumonia, and late symptoms, such as peritoneal irritation with cholecystitis.

A disease is said to be atypical if its characteristic symptoms are absent from the very beginning; an example of an atypical disease is the painless form of myocardial infarction. Modern therapeutic measures and protective inoculations can substantially alter the symptoms of a disease and even cause them to disappear. Diagnosis and prognosis are based on a knowledge of all of the symptoms of a disease.

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.


A phenomenon of physical or mental disorder or disturbance which leads to complaints on the part of the patient.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific & Technical Terms, 6E, Copyright © 2003 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
References in periodicals archive ?
Childhood risk factors for adults with medically unexplained symptoms: results from a national birth cohort study.
Exploration of DSM-IV criteria in primary care patients with medically unexplained symptoms. Psychosom Med.
(8.) Smith RC, Lyles JS, Gardiner JC, et al Primary care clinicians treat patients with medically unexplained symptoms: a randomized controlled trial.
Effectiveness of a time-limited cognitive behavior therapy type intervention among primary care patients with medically unexplained symptoms. Annals of Family Medicine, 5, 328-335.
Assessment and management of medically unexplained symptoms. British Medical Journal, 336, 1124-1128.
* KEY WORDS Somatoform disorders; physical symptoms [non-MESH]; medically unexplained symptoms [non-MESH]; worried well ]non-MESH].
*** Using this preliminary research, we report on patients with medically unexplained physical symptoms, who have what we call "minor acute illness." In contrast to the well-studied chronic somatizing patient in whom medically unexplained symptoms (1,2) are of at least 6 months' duration, (3) we define minor acute illness as unexplained symptoms of any type (eg, sore throats, minor sprains, "sinuses") that resolve completely in less than 6 months (usually days or weeks).
Cognitive behavioral therapy for medically unexplained symptoms, not specifically including MCS, has been shown to be effective in two randomized trials, with a return-to-work rate of up to 70% in one study (46,47).
The author surveys a broad spectrum of patient presentations ranging from subsyndromal medically unexplained symptoms to common functional disorders, for example, Irritable Bowel Syndrome and Fibromyalgia.
Empirically supported summaries and commentaries punctuate each chapter describing the confluence of physical, psychological, and sociocultural variables that explain the preponderant female prevalence across the spectrum of medically unexplained symptoms and syndromes.
Kroenke and Harris (2001) explain that the quality of the physician-patient relationship is particularly important when working with patients presenting with medically unexplained symptoms. Regardless of cause, patients come to treatment to seek relief and reassurance (e.g., Jackson & Kroenke, 2001; Kroenke & Mangelsdorff, 1989; Kroenke & Harris, 2001; Walker, Unutzer, & Katon, 1998).
Understanding and caring for the distressed patient with multiple medically unexplained symptoms. Journal of the American Board of Family Practice, 11, 347-356.

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