WHAT DOES ASYMPTOMATIC MEAN? – When a person is said to be asymptomatic, it simply means that such person has a disease, illness, or infection, but the person doesn’t show any sign that tells that he is suffering from a sickness.

The asymptomatic disease is also referred to as subclinical disease or subclinical infection.

However, if symptoms of the disease or infection gradually start to show up later after a period of the person is asymptomatic, then that person or disease is said to be pre-symptomatic.

Pre-symptomatic means that the person has a disease or infection, but the person has not yet shown any signs or symptoms at the initial stage, but will certainly show them gradually later on.

For instance, some of the life-threatening conditions or diseases that are asymptomatic include tuberculosis, breast cancer, endometriosis, HIV/AIDS, hypertension, herpes, hepatitis, chlamydia, common cold, flu, and type-2 diabetes mellitus.

It shouldn’t be a surprise to learn that these types of diseases remain largely asymptomatic until they gradually begin to show symptoms or signs of being symptomatic when they advance to higher stages.

For example, a person with high blood pressure or hypertension may not be symptomatic until his blood pressure measurement is made to show the abnormal level of the blood pressure being much higher than normal.

Besides, the effects of having hypertension in the body may probably not manifest clinically even for decades.

Despite the absence of symptoms in patients with hypertension, it is necessary to manage or reduce the high blood pressure gradually to ensure safety.

Also, type-2 diabetes mellitus is always reported to be asymptomatic even for many years before gradually starting to show signs or symptoms upon diagnosis.

A patient with poorly managed diabetes or hypertension can trigger other pathological conditions including atherosclerosis which can have an adverse health effects. These conditions can cause impairment to certain organ functions.


Different screening tests are used to determine various conditions in persons who are asymptomatic, allowing monitoring and making it much more possible for early treatment. Howbeit, many people do not appreciate such screening tests because they are ignorant of the reason to do so.

For instance, developing cancer may be asymptomatic for a certain period, growing and spreading violently until it begins to affect the whole body function by producing symptoms.

Most cancer screening tests are particularly designed to detect cancer that is asymptomatic. Also, screening involving blood pressure and blood glucose can detect conditions like hypertension and diabetes which don’t show symptoms at the initial stage of development.

Treating diseases that have not yet presented any symptoms can improve better health in the future and add more years of existence.


For those who are free from disease or infection, what do you think actually happens in the body of such individuals?

The immune system response in a person who is not infected or sick is very similar to someone with an asymptomatic infection.

For instance, if a virus invades the system, interferon cells will be activated to fight off the virus. Also, while the B-cells will produce antibodies, the T-cells will provide cellular immunity to the virus.

As the virus invades the system, it begins to replicate. At this point, the body’s immune response to the infection brings about the manifestation of symptoms.

This is one reason some patients get a fever after a vaccine has been administered to them.

As a reference to Dr. Monica Gandhi, an infectious disease expert at UCSF, says, “A person with a vigorous immune system response that is likely to kill the virus very soon may not manifest any resultant symptoms.”


Because some Covid-19 patients never actually become sick, it is always much more difficult to identify the asymptomatic ones.

A report made by Vox says that the only reliable way to identify these patients would be through polymerase chain reaction tests (PCR tests) to identify the viral load in a person’s system.

Also, Eric Topol, who is a director of the Scripps Research Translational Institute, made a publication of 16 studies in the Annals of Internal Medicine, estimating that between 40-45% of all new coronavirus infections are likely asymptomatic.

Another evidence-based healthcare professional at Bond University, Oyuka Byambasuren who is a postdoctoral research fellow during his research studies made a meta-analysis that estimated an average of 15% of Covid-19 cases to be asymptomatic.

Also, the WHO cited evidence that 6% to 41% of coronavirus cases are likely asymptomatic. It made this statement known when updating its guidance to the general public about wearing fabric masks as one of the Covid-19 precautionary measures in an attempt to curb the spread of the virus.

A CDC spokesperson in his statement also said that “health experts should be aware that some people without symptoms of Covid-19 are also likely to spread the virus since they are asymptomatic.”

Regarding that, he advises the general public to take precautionary measures of wearing face coverings in any social gatherings.

Having gone through this article, we believed you can answer the question, what does asymptomatic mean?

Also, we believed that you have had an interesting lesson getting to know the differences between asymptomatic, pre-symptomatic, and symptomatic.

Should you have any questions concerning this article, feel better letting us know, and we will respond to you.

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