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Anamnesis (from Greek ana-, up and mimneskein, to recall), or medical history, is the process in which physician obtains information about patient's health status by asking specific questions or by asking such questions of other people that know the person and can give suitable information (in this case, it is called heteroanamnesis). This kind of information, told by the patient, is called symptoms, in contrast to clinical signs, which are directly examined by the doctor.

   The questions the doctor should ask are about:

  • Name, age, height, weight of the patient
  • His major health problem
  • Systematic questioning about different organ systems
  • Family diseases
  • Childhood diseases
  • Previous diseases and/or injuries
  • Social status, occupation, addictions (smoking, drinking, drugs), allergies, sex life and so on.

These topics can also be discussed and later reported in different order.

The information obtained in this way enables the physician, together with clinical examination, to form a diagnosis and treatment plan.