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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 ?
London has a great deal to lose from war and a lot to gain from peace," said the causeless rebel in the pounds 895 Ozwald Boateng suit, before telling all anti-war protesters to take to his streets in two weeks.
39) Although Clarentio (Essex) is portrayed sympathetically as a figure out of chivalric romance, Bellingeria's treatment of him (and of "Mariana") is excused by being blamed on her servants and by being psychologized: "But Crowns and Nuptial Beds, as they admit no Competitors, so their enjoyment begets, many times, sundry causeless fears" which end in tragedy.
89) The truth is that consent searches allow causeless, boundaryless searches whereas warrant searches better protect privacy.
the highest essence imaginable, the source of all that there is, the Causeless Cause, the Unmoved Mover of the things, would normally be imagined as inhabiting the heights whose dominating and majestic size, offers inestimable protection.
He attributed to the particles that constitute the mind unpredictable swerves, causeless motions, which he introduced to preserve autonomous volitions: "Whence comes this free will in living creatures all over the world?
The upshot of this paradox is that pain is rendered causeless or self-causing and self-originating, like the God whom Vanni Fucci and his Beckettian descendants revile.
The e-mail said that Laden's group did not like people in a Muslim country practicing "others' causeless culture," according to Prothom Alo.
I do not consider the JCC or my family as victims of causeless hatred, but rather beneficiaries of unconditional love,'' said Nina Lieberman Giladi, assistant executive director at the center.
She filters her insistently American stories through what she describes as "a Hindu imagination; everything is a causeless, endless middle" (Mukherjee and Blaise 175).
An irrepressible tremor gradually pervaded my frame; and, at length, there sat upon my heart an incubus of utterly causeless alarm .
The arrest of the driver does not justify a causeless search of the car.
Likewise, the next lines' causeless jealousy would fit well with the 'jealous husband' who nevertheless could 'not take any exceptions to his wife'.