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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 ?
Miss Causer fled and phoned police as her friend was still being attacked.
The winners of the Out On Stage competition organised by The Michael Causer Foundation, will also be performing on the day, the unprecedented music prize offered the chance for Liverpool's best unsigned music stars to perform with headline slots at Liverpool Pride.
Read and Causer launched their Financial Capital fund on the back of what they saw as absolute worth value in financial bonds and equities.
But as Det Insp William Gray probed further, Causer broke down.
He pointed to the cases of both Michael Causer, who was killed in 2008, and trainee police officer James Parkes, who was attacked in Liverpool's gay village last year.
It will feature performances from the winner of this year's Michael Causer Foundation Out On Stage competition, and a menu from Delifonseca.
Michael's parents, Marie and Michael senior, are keen for the accommodation, funded by the Michael Causer Foundation, to be launched on would have been their son's 21st birthday in October.
Lamey's unerring eye for goal doubled the lead on 15 minutes when he surged goal-wards and bundled home after Causer had parried his initial effort.
For after eight weeks on the run Judy showed up in the garden of shop boss Alan Causer in Rugeley, about six miles away.
I was privileged to be allowed to introduce the Michael Causer family to the stage.
THE mother of openly gay murder victim Michael Causer, who died in August last year, has expressed her fury at what she brands a "despicable attack".
Tracy Callow, David Hicken, Ann Siedlarczyk, Val Elwell, Diane Causer, Julie Rudge, Kim Manley and Peter Davis will also collect pounds 200 to spend on materials.