Difference Between Prognosis and Diagnosis

Main Difference

Medical terms are not that easy to conclude and therefore with slight differences have meanings which may or may not be similar to each other. Two such terms which are very common in this field are Prognosis and Diagnosis and have different meanings. The main difference between them can be shown from the definition which for the first one state that it is an opinion, which is based on someone’s experience related to the studies in the field of medical science and can be the cause of a disease or illness. The latter one it is the identification of the nature of an illness that a person is suffering from.

Comparison Chart

BasisPrognosisDiagnosis
DefinitionIt is an opinion, which is based on doctor’s experience on what can be the cause of a disease.Identification of the nature of a disease which a person is suffering from.
OriginGreek words Pro and Gingoskein.Greek word Dia and Gingoskein which modified to “diagignōskein.”
ProcessExpected time for which the process has been going on, the function which is causing the trouble and the description.A complete examination of the patient with relevant knowledge and latest tools.
TypesDifferential diagnosis and pattern diagnosisNone
ExplanationThe main the reason for a disease.How likely the disease is to go away.

What is Prognosis?

This word has been derived from the Greek language and is a combination of two words Pro and Gingoskein, the first one means before and the second one ways to know. It was modified to its original form of Prognosis in the same language but was then taken by the English language. This description will help in developing the initial definition of the word which is used in the medical terms and is an opinion, which is based on someone’s experience related to the studies in the field of medical science and can be the cause of a disease or illness. It is actually the trail which would have been followed and has resulted in a medical condition. It is usually considered accurate since most of the diseases follow and specified path and have the same symptoms. A complete prognosis of a person will include the expected time for which the process has been going on, the function which is causing the trouble and the description on how the disease has originated and created the issue. The first ever prognosis found in the history was that of Hippocrates which states that “It appears to me a most excellent thing for the physician to cultivate Prognosis; for by foreseeing and foretelling, in the presence of the sick, the present, the past, and the future, and explaining the omissions which patients have been guilty of, he will be the more readily believed to be acquainted with the circumstances of the sick; so that men will have the confidence to entrust themselves to such a physician.”

What is Diagnosis?

The word has also originated from the Greek language in which the term dia means, apart and the gignoskein means to know or to recognize. It was then modified to “diagignōskein” and had the meaning of distinguishing. Later in the 17th century, it got its current form in the English language. The main meaning of this term is also in the medical condition which states that it is the identification of the nature of a disease which a person is suffering from. This is done with the help of complete examination of the patient with relevant knowledge and latest tools. The data which is required for this includes all the history of the patient, the physical tests that take place at the hospital or similar environments. There are various procedures and tests which have to be concluded, and the results have to be analyzed before reaching the exact diagnosis. It is not that easy since there are many conditions which show the same signs, only a person that has proper knowledge of the acts he is performing can know the actual problem. It does have different types such as Differential diagnosis in which as many symptoms as possible can be related to a particular disease which is then analyzed, and the useless ones are eliminated based on the tests. The next one is pattern diagnosis in which the doctor uses their experience to see the profile of the condition and then reaches a conclusion while the last one is the medical algorithm which is not directly related.

Key Differences

  1. Prognosis is a combination of two words Pro and Gingoskein, the first one means before and the second one means to know.
  2. Diagnosis also originated from the Greek language in which the term dia means, apart and the gignoskein means to know or to recognize. It was then modified to “diagignōskein” and had the meaning of distinguishing.
  3. Prognosis is an opinion, which is based on someone’s experience related to the studies and can be the cause of a disease or illness. Diagnosis, on the other hand, is the identification of the nature of an illness that a person is suffering from.
  4. The complete process of prognosis will include the expected time for which the process has been going on, the function which is causing the trouble and the description on how the disease has originated and caused the issue.
  5. The complete process of diagnosis is done with the help of comprehensive examination of the patient with relevant knowledge and latest tools.
  6. The main types of diagnosis include differential diagnosis and pattern diagnosis while there are no particular types of prognosis.
  7. A diagnosis gives the main the reason for a symptom while Prognosis explains how likely it is to go away.

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Harlon Moss

Harlon currently works as a quality moderator and content writer for Difference Wiki. He graduated from the University of California in 2010 with a degree in Computer Science. Follow him on Twitter @HarlonMoss

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