Symptoms, Syndromes and Disease

The human body has an amazing ability to indicate your state of health. From the pallor of your face, the shape of your nails, the odour your body emits to more obvious indicators like aches, pains, temperature, shivering and insomnia. Your body tells it like it is. If you have been abusive, your body will let you know. Often, a group of symptoms, for example, elevated temperature, sore throat, runny nose and shivering combine to form a syndrome. A syndrome is a group of indicators that something specific is amiss. Perhaps, a cold or the flu. It is important though to separate symptoms and syndromes from the underlying disease. Let’s come back to this after a brief detour.

Human Beings tend to treat symptoms or syndromes. If your body temperature is high, you might take paracetamol to bring it down. If you have a running nose, you might take something with pseudoephedrine along with a decongestant. If you have an allergy, you might take an antihistamine. If you have aches and pains, you might take an Ibuprofen to reduce the inflammation in your body. In most cases, for most regular ailments you tend to treat what you experience.

Let’s us go back to disease. Diseases are the underlying cause of why you experienced the symptom in the first place. A poorly functioning immune system, one that makes your predisposed to catching a cold or allergen is the underlying disease. Regularly catching a cold or the flu is the manifestation of this disease. Similarly, excessive weight, the need to drink water frequently might be a symptom. The underlying disease could probably be Diabetes.

Modern medicine has made it easier to limit yourself to treating the symptom. In reality, what you need to do is treat the disease. Treating the disease before it ravages your body is preventive medicine. Yes, you guessed it – eat well, sleep well, exercise, meditate and surround yourself with friends and family.


Ritesh is a born again health enthusiast and holds a Certificate in Physiology from Harvard Medical School and a Certificate in Nutrition from Tufts University.

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