Word of the Week: Prodrome

illustration of scientist looking into microscope - word of the week

Alex Dos Diaz / Verywell

Each week, Verywell explains a term from health, medicine, science, or technology.


How to say it: Prodrome (pro-dro-m)

What it means: An early sign or symptom of a disease.

Where it comes from: From Greek "pro" meaning before and "dromos" meaning the act of running.

A young white woman holding her head in pain.


Where you might see or hear it: Everything from serious medical events like heart attacks to simple colds can have signs or symptoms leading up to them. If you get sick, your doctor might ask you how you were feeling in the hours or days before you became unwell. In your chart, they might note that these signs or symptoms were "prodromal" to the illness you came to see them for.

When you might want to use it: If you get migraines, you are likely already familiar with prodromal signs and symptoms. For example, you might explain to your loved ones that you are having symptoms like changes to your vision or an "aura" that you know typically comes on before you get a migraine.

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