Diagnostic tests

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Before beginning treatment, the doctor must make an accurate diagnosis, that is, he must determine which disease the patient is suffering from. There are many methods at the doctor’s disposal: first, the doctor will ask the patient many questions (history), then he will conduct a physical (physical) examination; he can also use numerous diagnostic methods, which give an insight into the patient’s interior.

Medical history

Before the physical examination, the doctor will ask you many questions about the nature of your complaints, the onset of your illness and the treatment you have received so far. This conversation is referred to as anamnesis (Gr. andmnezis = recall). If you are a first-time visitor, you will be asked questions that are not necessarily directly related to your current complaints. These questions serve the purpose of the doctor’s forming a picture of the patient’s general state of health, his lifestyle, and possibly other background diseases, traits, and hereditary diseases to which the patient himself does not ascribe importance and does not see their connection with the present illness.

The patient’s living and working situation may also provide the physician with important information. The more accurately the patient can answer the doctor’s questions, the better the doctor can make a diagnosis.

Physical examination

With the patient’s medical history, the doctor gains valuable clues as to which internal organs may be affected by the disease so that he or she can undertake a physical examination, paying attention to certain organs. If, on the other hand, a doctor has to carry out a routine examination, he will examine the most important regions of the body, such as the chest, abdomen, arms and legs.

How does the examination work?

Every doctor follows a strict order during the examination. First, he pays special attention to the patient’s skin. At this, he looks for signs of inflammation, such as redness, swelling or areas of increased heat. At the same time, he looks for signs of possible injuries, pigmented lesions; when examining the arms and legs, he checks their mobility. This type of examination is called viewing – inspection (Latin: inspectio – supervision).

Then the doctor touches individual parts of the distal. At this, he feels whether the organs have undergone any changes, for example, whether there is swelling, besides, he pays attention to whether touching an organ is unpleasant or even painful for the patient. This kind of examination is called palpation (lac.palpare – to stroke, to rub, to feel).

The next step is to palpate different parts of the body. For this purpose the doctor places the middle finger of one hand flat on the patient’s body and taps on it with the index or middle finger of the other hand. This produces a characteristic sound, which changes if one of the organs is diseased. This type of examination is called tapping-percussion (lac.percutere – to strike). Only after this can the doctor proceed to auscultation with the help of a stethoscope, measurement of blood pressure – and at the first examination to measure the weight and height of the patient.

What is examined?

During the physical examination, the doctor also looks at regions of the body not directly related to the symptoms the patient has reported to the doctor. Many diseases also have indirect symptoms; for example, swollen eyelids may indicate kidney disease If necessary, your doctor may refer you for specialized tests.

Learn about the most important diagnostic tests: