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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 ?
2-7) The most relevant and recent review article suggests that further investigation of narrow QRS complex tachycardias with a regular rate currently involves 4 diagnostic categories: normal sinus tachycardia (ie, secondary cause can be identified), inappropriate sinus tachycardia (IST), postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome (POTS), and sinus node reentry tachycardia (SNRT).
Asymptomatic patients who appear to have NAFLD on an imaging study should be assessed for metabolic and secondary causes of steatosis.
This basic laboratory workup will identify patients with the relatively common secondary causes of low bone mineral density that account for 98 percent of all cases.
Two-group comparison was done to investigate for statistical differences between controlled and uncontrolled patients, and between patients with primary hypertension and those with secondary causes.
We looked at secondary causes of death to explain differences in death rates for higher- and lower-HDI districts.
People with a FRAX result above 10% should have DXA to measure BMD, and those with a FRAX at or above 20% should undergo DXA and may be candidates for bisphosphonate therapy after the clinician excludes secondary causes of osteoporosis.
Dementia' (either further subcategorized or not) was recorded as a contributory primary or secondary cause of death in a total of 21 entries across both the ASU and acute MoE wards.
Patients with resistant hypertension (BP>140/90 mm Hg despite taking optimal doses of 3 antihypertensive medications, one of which is a diuretic) should receive particular scrutiny for an identifiable secondary cause, according to the ICSI.
Idiopathic or primary moyamoya is rare; diagnosis is usually made with MRI and after exclusion of all possible secondary causes.
Millennium Stage Productions is staging the comedy thriller, Secondary Cause of Death at Batley Town Hall in July.
A pathology report revealed Niyousha died from pneumonia, with swine flu listed as a secondary cause.
The coroner said a letter from Mr Cadman's GP noted that a secondary cause of death was due to contact with asbestos, while a CT scan taken at George Eliot Hospital had found "an advanced malignancy, probably mesothelioma.