Symptoms are uncomfortable feelings or senstions that reflect or suggest a disorder of structure or function in the body.
By inference they are either caused by an alteration in structure or function brought about by a disease process, but they may be psychogenic in origin.
They result in in limitation of a healthy or comfortable life and may be sufficiently limiting or concerning for the patient to seek assistance from a professional health care provider.
The symptom is first evaluated diagnostically by detailed questioning allowing the provider to analyse the symptom.
Sometimes the symptom requires a detailed examination to enable the diagnosis, and sometimes further testing is required to make the diagnosis.
Treatment may be symptomatic if the symptom appears to be of a fleeting nature (eg menstrual cramps or a vague headache) but sometimes on the other extreme, the symptom may be life thereatening (back pain from ruptured aneurysm) and may require immediate and urgent surgery