Signs and Symptoms (Proverbs 14:12-13)

Signs and symptoms. 

In medicine, these are two terms that are often presented together and sometimes used interchangeably. However, there are important distinctions. A symptom is a subjective description disclosed by the patient about how they are feeling. A sign is an objective measurement of the disease. For example, a patient may state they feel hot. This is a symptom. If their temperature is measured and found to be elevated at 103F, this is a sign. While one conclusion may be that the subjective symptom of feeling hot may be related to the objective sign of an elevated temperature, there is an important caveat. 

Simply because a symptom lacks an objective sign does not mean it should be ignored or dismissed. Conversely, an abnormal sign may not necessarily be accompanied with a symptom or the reported symptom may not be related to the objective sign. This is why the health care professional must be careful to gather all of the signs and symptoms when taking a history and performing a physical examination and adroitly synthesize them to create a complete profile of the patient’s disease. 

There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way to death. Even in laughter the heart may ache, and the end of joy may be grief.

Proverbs 14:12-13 (ESV)

This proverb is particularly insightful and illustrative of the disconnect we sometimes experience between our signs and symptoms. We may convince ourselves that everything is fine but we are truly hurting. Our subjective disclosure of the symptoms we are experiencing may not reflect the objective signs of what is truly wrong with us. Only God knows the answer and only He knows whether the signs and symptoms are related to one another. 

Signs and symptoms.

Thanks be to Jesus Christ, the Great Physician, who truly understands the nature of our heart and soul and always provides the correct and precise diagnosis.

Love and trust the Lord; seek His will in your life.

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