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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 ?
Despite what she had done, Sophie's attacker Causer was pictured while awaiting her trial - putting two fingers up during a night on the town with two other girl pals.
Soon after that, Mr Causer said, Garfield spoke to his brother who told him that he had "done" Lance and showed him a box containing two knives.
Carl Gumsley, prosecuting at Newcastle Crown Court, said: "The defendant came towards Miss Causer and grabbed her handbag by the straps.
But as Det Insp William Gray probed further, Causer broke down.
Mrs Causer said she believed it was vital to begin education about different sexualities at the age of 11 in order that, in some cases, prejudiced parents would benefit from their children's learning.
In February Miss Causer became the first person ever to hold four world parachuting records at once when she was among 960 people involved in mass freefall in Thailand.
Louise Causer, 23, from Cramlington previously worked at the Springhealth Leisure Club in Newcastle.
To say that homophobia and homophobic violence is never acceptable and we remember Michael Causer and we thank God that we can stand against this kind of violence.
Paul Causer, Veteran bond fund manager said Invesco Perpetual s new Global Distribution fund will start with a high allocation to equities.
THE parents of murdered teenager Michael Causer want to set up a safe house for gay youngsters who have been thrown out of their home.