Meaning of Anamnesis

Meaning of Anamnesis

The concept of anamnesis is linked, according to its etymological root found in the Greek language, to a memory or a reminiscence. In its broadest sense, the anamnesis consists of the rescue of data that was recorded in the past, bringing the information to the present.

From this meaning, the anamnesis appears in different areas. In the field of medicine, it is the information that a patient provides to their doctor for the preparation of a clinical history.

The development of the anamnesis requires the doctor to ask various questions to the patient, or even to a family member or friend of the patient. From the answers obtained, the professional manages to create a history with data that is useful for making the diagnosis and deciding what treatment to carry out.

The anamnesis also consists of the signs that the doctor detects when reviewing the patient and the symptoms that the patient refers to him. It is important to note that the characteristics of the questions and the information collected will depend on the professional’s specialty.

A psychiatrist, for example, will not seek the same history as a gastroenterologist. While the former may collect data on the childhood or behavior of the patient, the latter will be interested in their diet and how the digestive process develops.

Anyway, we can say that roughly the list of data that the doctor seeks to collect through the anamnesis is as follows:

* personal: although it seems evident and little related to the health sciences, it is important for the professional to have a cultural framework in which to place his patients to give them the best indications in each case. Some of the specific data in this category are name and surname, document number, age, race, marital status, occupation, address, level of education, telephone number and reference person;

* reason for consultation: this is expressed at the beginning of the meeting, and is about the moment in which the patient exposes a pain, a discomfort, the suspicion of having a particular disease, or tells the doctor the specific reasons for your visit if you have been referred by another professional (for example, when someone goes to a surgeon’s office because a clinical doctor recommended that they have a cyst removed);

* current disease: this anamnesis point is related to, or follows from, the previous one, since if the patient is in the middle of treatment of a particular disease, the doctor must record this and make notes such as the state of evolution and the names of the medications you are taking;

* personal history: if you have suffered from any illness, if you are allergic to certain medications or if you have undergone surgical procedures, for example;

* family history: here enter the relevant diseases that the parents have suffered;

* systems review: this part of the anamnesis arises from a physical examination that the doctor performs on the patient. It is called the cephalo-caudal, since it begins at the head and descends, and is made up of four well-defined parts, which are inspection, palpation, percussion, and auscultation.

In the field of religion, the anamnesis is linked to the act of remembrance that takes place during the Eucharist. At Christian Masses, this moment of celebration leads to remembering the Last Supper of Jesus Christ and repeating the words that were recorded in the Bible. In the Gospel of Saint Luke there is the quote of Jesus “do this in memory of me”, and thus the Christian religion celebrates his passion, his resurrection and his ascension.


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