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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 ?
As a point of Hilbert space representing ad finitum the "quantum state" of an entire narrative system, his indeterminacy is then indistinguishable from the causeless effect and the effectless cause of that state, which is now a story that has Merv Griffm in it but which determines how it shall be read, from a point outside it, his ever shifting cachet as a performance artist in late capitalist showbiz.
5 percent to 5 percent per liter but the public have rejected it completely, saying this is a causeless and unjust demand of the petrol suppliers.
In these characters melancholia is manifested as rancor or causeless anger, as when Hamlet admonishes his mother "do not throw the compost on the weeds to make them rancor.
What better way of dramatizing an event that did not happen than the elaborate sequence of causeless effects at the heart of these dazzling spectacles?
But most of us are delighted for an excuse to let ourselves go, relieved to find a cause for our causeless hatred.
Dissecting the different possible interpretations of this phrase shows how the egoist will love another person not on a causeless or indiscriminate basis and not for a person's nonessential characteristics, but for his unique identity.
The governor said to the people: "I have heard that the bodhisattva Manjusri of Terrace Mountain has many numinous and extraordinary powers, and possesses causeless compassion.
They say miracles are past, and we have our philosophical persons to make modern and familiar things supernatural and causeless.
Her own chronic and seemingly causeless pains in her abdomen and breast are actualized when an SS man, scavenging among the corpses, senses "a flicker of life" in Lisa's motionless body and sends his jackboot cracking into her breast and then into her pelvis (219).
neighbor; by envy; by causeless hatred; by breach of trust; with