Prognosis vs Diagnosis

Prognosis Vs. Diagnosis: 5 Major Differences

The terms prognosis and diagnosis are often confused. These terms are very important in the medical sector, and knowing the wrong meaning can create a lot of confusion. So, we decided to explain the difference between diagnosis and prognosis today.

Thus, here, we’ll learn about the difference between the two. Let’s begin.


Prognosis Vs. Diagnosis: At a Glance

Prognosis and diagnosis are completely different words, so using them interchangeably will cause a lot of confusion. Simply put, diagnosis is used to refer to signs of present disease, illness, or condition through observation.

On the other hand, the prognosis is making an educated guess about a condition or disease that isn’t present as of yet. So, the prognosis is more like a prediction, whereas diagnosis is stating what’s simply there.


What Is Prognosis?


Prognosis is the act of predicting a certain disease that’s yet to be by analyzing the evidence at hand. It can be a prediction of changes in quality of life, development of other diseases, potential complications, and even the possibility of survival.

Prognosis isn’t a baseless prediction, rather it’s an educated guess. The doctor or the concerned specialist will study the patient for present signs and will develop a theory on what the signs may lead to in the future.

Prognoses are usually accurate, but they can go wrong. This is because the statistical information isn’t enough when it comes to predicting the health condition of a specific patient.


What Is Diagnosis?


Diagnosis is a medical term that refers to the process of determining the present diseases of a person through their signs and symptoms. Unlike prognosis, the diagnosis doesn’t predict anything, but it only states what already has happened.

A diagnosis usually consists of a lot of medical examinations. The doctor recommends the required examinations based on the signs and symptoms of the patient to find out the causes behind the illness. Finding out the accurate cause is the main purpose of a diagnosis.


Main Differences Between Diagnosis and Prognosis

Let’s discuss the differences in detail here.


One of the key differences between diagnosis and prognosis is the very meaning of the words themselves.

While diagnosis means to find out what the patient is going through at the time of examination, prognosis refers to the act of predicting how the situation will develop.



Diagnosis is usually performed before prognosis because unless the doctors know what the patient is going through, it’s not possible to determine what may happen in the future.


Time Taken

Diagnosis is a time-based examination. It takes a certain amount of time for the doctors to diagnose the patient and to come up with a probable cause behind the issue.

However, the prognosis can take even a lifetime to achieve completion. As long as there’s the potential of a condition persisting, the doctors may continue the prognosis.


Age Dependency

Prognosis depends on the age of the patient, but the diagnosis doesn’t.



Differences Between Diagnosis and Prognosis

Diagnosis is usually more accurate than prognosis. If the medical equipment used in carrying out the diagnosis is in good shape, the chances of the diagnosis being accurate is high.

However, at the end of the day, the prognosis is a prediction. So, there’s always a possibility of things going the other way.


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A Comparison Table to Summarize

Parameter of Comparison Prognosis Diagnosis
Definition Predicting the future health condition of a patient by analyzing the evidence at hand is called prognosis. Determining the present diseases of a person through their signs and symptoms is called diagnosis.
Sequence Done after diagnosis Performed first
Age Depends on age Doesn’t depend on age
Time taken Can take an entire lifetime Doesn’t usually take more than a week
Accuracy Might not be accurate even if the equipment is accurate Accuracy depends mostly on equipment, so it is more accurate


Key Takeaways

  • Prognosis is the act of predicting the future health condition of a patient by analyzing the facts at hand.
  • Diagnosis is analyzing the signs and symptoms of a patient to determine the present state of health.
  • Prognosis has a lower accuracy than diagnosis
  • It isn’t possible to perform a prognosis without performing a diagnosis.



These were the major differences between prognosis vs diagnosis. If you know these properly, you can ensure zero confusion when you work in the medical sector.

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