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Prognosis vs. Diagnosis: Know the Difference

Shumaila Saeed
By Shumaila Saeed || Updated on December 25, 2023
Prognosis is a prediction about the course and outcome of a disease. Diagnosis is the identification of the nature of an illness or other problem.
Prognosis vs. Diagnosis

Key Differences

A prognosis is a medical term used to describe the likely outcome or course of a disease or condition over time. It is a prediction based on various factors, including the type of disease, the patient's overall health, and response to treatment. A diagnosis, on the other hand, is the process of identifying a disease or condition based on symptoms, tests, and examinations. It's about determining what the problem is.
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Shumaila Saeed
Nov 15, 2023
Prognosis often involves predicting the future health status of a patient, considering the progression of their condition. It can include expected recovery time, chances of recurrence, and potential complications. Diagnosis is the first step in treating a patient, involving an assessment and conclusion about the patient's current health issue.
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Shumaila Saeed
Nov 15, 2023
The prognosis is significant for understanding the long-term impact and management of a disease, providing patients and caregivers with crucial information about what to expect. In contrast, diagnosis is critical for starting the appropriate treatment and management plan, guiding healthcare professionals on how to approach the condition.
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Shumaila Saeed
Nov 15, 2023
While the prognosis is forward-looking, focusing on future health outcomes, diagnosis is about the present state, identifying and naming the health challenge being faced. Prognosis can change over time with treatment and other health interventions, whereas diagnosis is typically established based on the condition at a specific point in time.
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In summary, prognosis is about the prediction and expected course of a disease, whereas diagnosis is about identifying and labeling the disease or health condition.
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Comparison Chart

Definition

Prediction about the course and outcome of a disease
Identification of the nature of an illness
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Focus

Future health status and outcomes
Present health condition and identification
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Purpose

To predict the likely progression and outcome
To identify the disease for appropriate treatment
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Timeframe

Long-term outlook
Immediate assessment
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Change Over Time

Can change with treatment and health interventions
Established based on the condition at a specific time
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Prognosis and Diagnosis Definitions

Prognosis

Forecast of the likely outcome of a disease.
The prognosis for the patient's recovery is positive.
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Diagnosis

Naming of a condition or disease from its manifestations.
The doctor made a diagnosis of chronic kidney disease.
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Prognosis

Estimate of the duration and conclusion of a disease.
The prognosis for complete healing is about six months.
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Diagnosis

Identification of a disease by examination of symptoms.
The diagnosis confirmed that it was indeed pneumonia.
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Prognosis

Medical prediction about the progression of a condition.
The doctor's prognosis was that the condition would improve with medication.
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Diagnosis

Determination of the nature of a patient's illness.
After several tests, the diagnosis was type 2 diabetes.
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Prognosis

Outlook or expectation for future health status.
The prognosis after the surgery is cautiously optimistic.
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Diagnosis

Process of identifying a disease from its signs.
The diagnosis involved assessing the patient's medical history.
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Prognosis

Prediction of the chance of recovery from an illness.
His prognosis for recovery is good, given the early detection.
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Diagnosis

The act or process of identifying or determining the nature and cause of a disease or injury through evaluation of patient history, examination, and review of laboratory data.
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Oct 19, 2023

Prognosis

A prediction of the probable course and outcome of a disease.
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Oct 19, 2023

Diagnosis

The opinion derived from such an evaluation.
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Prognosis

The likelihood of recovery from a disease.
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Diagnosis

A critical analysis of the nature of something.
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Prognosis

A forecast or prediction
A gloomy prognosis for economic recovery.
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Diagnosis

The conclusion reached by such analysis.
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Prognosis

A forecast of the future course or outcome of a situation based on what is presently known; a prediction.
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Diagnosis

(Biology) A brief description of the distinguishing characteristics of an organism, as for taxonomic classification.
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Prognosis

(medicine) A forecast of the future course or outcome of a disease or disorder based on current medical knowledge.
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Oct 19, 2023

Diagnosis

(medicine) The identification of the nature and cause of an illness.
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Prognosis

The act or art of foretelling the course and termination of a disease; also, the outlook afforded by this act of judgment; as, the prognosis of hydrophobia is bad.
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Oct 19, 2023

Diagnosis

The identification of the nature and cause of something (of any nature).
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Prognosis

A prediction about how something (as the weather) will develop
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Diagnosis

(taxonomy) A written description of a species or other taxon serving to distinguish that species from all others; especially a description written and published in Latin.
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Prognosis

A prediction of the course of a disease
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Diagnosis

Synonym of diagnose
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Diagnosis

The art or act of recognizing the presence of disease from its signs or symptoms, and deciding as to its character; also, the decision arrived at.
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Diagnosis

Hence, the act or process of identifying the nature or cause of some phenomenon, especially the abnormal behavior of an animal or artifactual device; as, diagnosis of a vibration in an automobile; diagnosis of the failure of a sales campaign; diagnosis of a computer malfunction.
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Diagnosis

Scientific determination of any kind; the concise description of characterization of a species.
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Diagnosis

Critical perception or scrutiny; judgment based on such scrutiny; esp., perception of, or judgment concerning, motives and character.
The quick eye for effects, the clear diagnosis of men's minds, and the love of epigram.
My diagnosis of his character proved correct.
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Diagnosis

Identifying the nature or cause of some phenomenon
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Diagnosis

Medical conclusion reached from symptoms and tests.
The diagnosis of arthritis was made after joint analysis.
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Repeatedly Asked Queries

Is prognosis always about serious diseases?

It's used for various conditions, not just serious diseases.
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Does prognosis involve treatment options?

It can inform treatment options but is mainly about outcomes.
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Can prognosis be certain?

No, it's a prediction and can vary based on many factors.
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Is diagnosis always medical?

Primarily, though it's used in other contexts to mean identifying a problem.
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Can prognosis be positive?

Yes, a positive prognosis indicates a good chance of recovery.
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Can diagnosis be done through lab tests only?

Lab tests are a part, but clinical examination is also key.
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Is a diagnosis enough to start treatment?

Usually, treatment starts after a diagnosis is made.
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Can mental health conditions be diagnosed?

Yes, mental health conditions can and are diagnosed.
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Can a diagnosis change?

Yes, with new information or tests, a diagnosis can be revised.
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Does prognosis vary from person to person?

Yes, it can vary widely based on individual health factors.
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Is prognosis a part of the diagnosis?

It's separate but related; prognosis follows diagnosis.
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Can prognosis include remission?

Yes, it can predict chances of remission in diseases like cancer.
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What if symptoms don’t match a clear diagnosis?

It may require further tests or a referral to a specialist.
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Can lifestyle affect prognosis?

Yes, factors like lifestyle can impact health outcomes.
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Are all diagnoses accurate?

While aimed for accuracy, sometimes diagnoses are revised with new information.
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How is a diagnosis made?

Through examination of symptoms, tests, and medical history.
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Who can make a medical diagnosis?

Typically, a trained healthcare professional like a doctor.
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Is prognosis related to life expectancy?

In some cases, especially with serious illnesses.
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Is self-diagnosis reliable?

Self-diagnosis can be risky; professional medical advice is recommended.
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Does a good prognosis mean quick recovery?

Not necessarily; it means a good outcome, which can take time.
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Shumaila Saeed
Written by
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed, an expert content creator with 6 years of experience, specializes in distilling complex topics into easily digestible comparisons, shining a light on the nuances that both inform and educate readers with clarity and accuracy.

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