(redirected from primary cause)
Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Legal, Encyclopedia.


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 ?
HPV is a sexually transmitted disease and clinical studies have confirmed that HPV is the primary cause of cervical cancer.
Although absence of typical clinical signs and lesions ruled out feline panleukopenia as the primary cause of death, an immunosuppressive effect cannot be ruled out (13).
Bodner said, "There are some who would ask you to believe that scrap is the primary cause of the current situation and that the solution would lie in some regulation of scrap.
Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is the primary cause of death in the industrialized world.
Jeffery Klein, an Assemblyman from The Bronx, recently held a news conference announcing that 25 percent of the children within a portion of his district were afflicted with asthma, the primary cause of which is directly related to indoor air quality.
Increased worldwide infrared optics shipments was the primary cause of increased revenues.
The World's Primary Cause of Maternal Death During Childbirth
Systematic poisoning programs over the last century have been implicated as a primary cause of the prairie dog's decline," according to the Biodiversity Conservation Alliance.
Newly discovered SARS-CoV coronavirus as the primary cause of severe acute respiratory syndrome.
Water diversions to farmers in Oregon and Northern California ordered by federal authorities were the primary cause of a massive fish kill in the Klamath River in Northern California, a recent report by the California Department of Fish and Game concluded.
29 Nature that their experiments point to scarce winter food as a primary cause.