Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Legal, Financial, Acronyms, Idioms, Encyclopedia, Wikipedia.
Related to cause: cause list, Common Cause


That which produces an effect or condition; that by which a morbid change or disease is brought about.
[L. causa]


Etymology: L, causa
any process, substance, or organism that produces an effect or condition.


Law & medicine That which creates a condition or results in an effect. See Immediate cause of death, Necessary cause, Proximate cause, Sufficient cause, Underlying cause of death.


in diseases, an agent, event, condition or characteristic which plays an essential role in producing an occurrence of the disease. Because there is nowadays much less certainty about what actually establishes a disease state it is becoming more common to use terms such as disease determinants, causal association, causal relationship. koch's postulates are no longer the sole criterion used in establishing causality.

constitutional cause
an inherent characteristic of the patient. Usually a systemic defect, e.g. protoporphyria.
direct cause
there must be no known variable intervening between the suspect factor and the disease.
endogenous cause
the cause comes from within the patient. See also constitutional cause (above).
exogenous cause
the cause comes from outside the patient, e.g. a virus infection.
indirect cause
all causes other than the direct cause (see above).
host cause
see endogenous cause (above).
necessary cause
a factor which must be present to produce disease; the disease does not occur unless the factor was or is present.
precipitating cause
the trigger mechanism that initiates the commencement of the disease state.
predisposing cause
a mechanism that makes a patient more susceptible to the precipitating cause.
primary cause
the principal factor in causing the disease.
secondary cause
a factor that assists the primary cause. A cause of secondary importance.
specific cause
the single cause in a single cause-single disease relationship.
sufficient cause
a minimal set of conditions and events which inevitably produce disease.

Patient discussion about cause

Q. What Causes Dizziness? My husband is 55 years old. Lately he's been experiencing dizziness when he gets up from sitting for a while. What could be the cause?

A. We often feel dizzy when we are very tired, however real dizziness could indicate on a variety of problems: neurological, cardiovascular (for instance low blood pressure), nutritional (for example lack of glucose), dehydration and more. When someone complains about experiencing dizziness when getting up from sitting or lying down, the cause is usually a sudden drop in blood pressure (called orthostatic hypotension).

Q. What causes dizziness? I’m a 55 years old woman with 2 children, and in the last few weeks I have a feeling of dizziness every time I stand up from my bed. What cause this feeling? Does it mean I have some serious thing? I also have hypertension and diabetes that are usually stable.

A. If this feeling appears solely on standing up, it maybe related to drugs you take to treat your hypertension (It’s called “orthostatic hypertension”). You should report this to your doctor and maybe changing your treatment can make this feeling disappear.

Q. What causes asthma? My 5 year old son has trouble breathing sometimes after he runs around too much. My friend suggested he might have asthma. What causes this disease?

A. Another consideration is that food sensitivities can exacerbate asthma.

More discussions about cause
References in periodicals archive ?
For more information on Cause Layouts, visit: http://causelayouts.
The Court addressed the scope of the search under the exception and held that probable cause to search a lawfully stopped vehicle empowered the officers to search "every part of the vehicle and its contents" (13) that might contain the item(s) for which the officers have probable cause to search.
It was known that some drugs that cause roaming and feelings of extreme pleasure--including the drug amphetamine--do so by increasing dopamine in a region of the brain called the nucleus accumbens (NAc for short).
A root cause problem elimination process should be designed to involve few people for most problems and engage larger groups only if needed.
One patient with permanent CH and TIOD carried a homozygous substitution, whereas three patients with temporary CH and PIOD carried heterozygous mutations that cause premature termination signal.
Below, we offer a list of common environmental causes of cancer.
It can't track rapidly changing environmental conditions, but it can provide clues to analyze cause and effect later.
Y contends that it had reasonable cause for nonpayment of its employment taxes, due to financial distress caused by the loss of its main customer in late 1995, which accounted for 80% of its business until the end of that year, when it moved its metal finishing in house.
The uterus' pressure can cause back pain, constipation, and frequent urination, says Elizabeth A.
Women who are pregnant or have been pregnant in the past year have a nearly 40% lower risk of dying from natural causes than their nonpregnant counterparts, according to a retrospective, population-based study in Finland.