Differences Between Etiology And Pathology
Etiology vs Pathology
If you’re a science major, you probably know the difference between “etiology” and “pathology.” For people who don’t have encyclopedic knowledge of the scientific process, however, telling one from the other can cause a headache. The best way to tell them apart is by using a clear-cut example. Without this example, you’ll have a hard time differentiating between them because they’re very closely related and have only one major difference.
Both “etiology” and “pathology” are scientific terms used to describe diseases. Whenever diseases are discussed, experts in the field of epidemiology, which is the study of diseases, commonly use these terms. Doctors and scientists may also use these terms when referring to a particular disease. It’s common to mistake one for the other because, as mentioned earlier, they are almost synonymous. Knowing one from the other, however, can make a scientific paper or case study more effective. You won’t have to fear about being criticized for the use of either or both terms if you know when to apply them.
When discussing how a disease came about, “etiology” is discussed first before “pathology.” Organisms that may cause the disease, as well as significant risk factors, fall under etiology. It’s the initial answer to how the disease comes about. For example, when discussing a disease, such as asthma, its risk factors, such as allergens, genetic predisposition for weak lungs, excessive mucus formation, and the tendency to hyperventilate falls under “etiology.” Bacterial infection of the lungs and allergic rhinitis are additional risk factors than can bring about asthma.
After the etiology has been thoroughly discussed, the study of the disease moves on to pathogenesis, or pathology in layman’s terms. In the case of asthma, “pathology” delves into how the bronchioles of the lungs become inflamed by the previously mentioned risk factors. This inflammation makes the bronchioles larger, and, in response, mucus forms as a defense mechanism constricting the airspace and making it harder for the afflicted person to breathe. The wheezing sound that accompanies asthma is a sign that the air passages are so constricted that they can almost produce a whistling sound. In short, pathology unwinds the scenario of the disease and how it develops in the afflicted person. Etiology puts into perspective the causes of the disease, while the pathology describes in detail how it progresses.
If you come across the symptoms of a disease, then this falls under pathology discussions. However, if you’re exploring what causes the disease and what can possibly aggravate it, then you’re dealing with etiology studies. Differentiating between “etiology” and “pathology” can aid you in forming effective research hypotheses about a particular disease and bolster your practice of the scientific process as a whole. Mistaking one for the other can leave a negative mark on your reputation especially if you’re a respected teacher, scientist, epidemiologist, or doctor.
“Etiology” and “pathology” are very similar terms that deal with the study of a disease. However, they have one major difference. Mistakenly using one term for the other can lead to a botched scientific process and a failed research paper.
When a disease is being studied, the etiology is tackled first before the pathology. “Etiology” deals with the direct causes of the disease as well as significant risk factors. This may include foreign organisms such as bacteria and genetic predispositions to the disease.
After the etiology of the disease is laid on the table, the discussion shifts to the pathology. This part describes in detail the progression of the disease beginning with how the risk factors trigger the disease up to its complete manifestation.
Symptoms of the disease fall under “pathology,” while causes of the disease are categorized under “etiology.”
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