HSC10 - Diagnosing Disease


Diagnosis is the identification by a healthcare professional of a disease process causing a person's ill health or other complaints.

During the diagnosis process the GP will ask their patient questions. They do this to:

  • clarify symptoms 
  • find out their current lifestyle 
  • help the GP with their diagnosis 
  • find out their medical history 

The GP may then decide they need to conduct physical examinations to confirm their diagnosis. The physical examinations they may conduct are:

  • Visual examination
  • Using a stethoscope
  • Palpation
  • Percussion
  • Taking temperature
  • Measuring blood pressure
  • Testing reflexes

They conduct the tests by:

Visual Examination

Looking at the affected part of the body where possible. Sometimes this may require the patient to undress which can cause embarrassment for them. In some cases, looking at the problem can help the GP to make a diagnosis. 

Using a Stethoscope

Channelling sounds from the patient's lungs/chest/heart via a metal dish to two tubes in the GP's ears. The metal dish is placed on the patient's chest/back and the GP will listen. This piece of equipment identifies


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