2.2 Symptomatic vs. Asymptomatic Diseases

Diseases are identified and recognized through their symptoms. These are the signs and changes in the body that indicate the presence of the disease.

A disease that manifests its typical clinical picture within the affected individual is termed symptomatic. For example, if you have a slight cough, you are likely suffering from an upper respiratory infection. This is typical of symptomatic disease.

However, a person can still have disease while not expressing its symptoms. This would be considered an asymptomatic disease, which is a medical condition that fails to manifest clinical signs and symptoms. Many people, for example, have undiagnosed heart disease because they do not show any symptoms.

When it comes to infectious disease, a person can be carrying a pathogen without developing the disease symptoms. In this case, they are still at risk of passing the disease or developing symptoms later.

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