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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 ?
Several environmental stressors (oxidants, metals, or UV radiation) cause ERK activation by first causing phosphorylation of the intracellular domain of the EGF receptor in a ligand-independent manner (i.
But as HIV scientists grow ever more confused about how the virus is supposed to be causing AIDS, their refusal to consider the possibility that it may not be the cause is as rigid as ever.
Most problems that may be causing your trouble are self-limited and ultimately resolve with appropriate care including medication, rest, and physical therapy.
Part Spacing - Clusters with multiple parts can be assembled with parts too close together, causing several defects.
pylon then attacks these cells causing further tissue damage and inflammation, which may result in an ulcer.
If untreated, the infection can go on to invade the uterus and fallopian tubes, causing a condition called pelvic inflammatory disease (PID).
If lactase deficiency is suspected of causing your gas, your doctor probably will tell you to eliminate dairy foods from your diet so that your symptoms can be evaluated.
Before emotional tension or distress can be named as the culprit causing dyspepsia, your doctor will conduct a careful medical evaluation to rule out other factors.
What they found, says Gurney, could help explain what is causing AIDS-related dementia.
These patients suffer from recurrent crises where their red blood cells assume a right crescent moon (sickle) shape that block blood vessels causing disseminated starvation of blood and oxygen (ischemia) to many body organs.
In addition to the previously describedHIV-1 (also known as HTLV-III) and HIV-2 viruses, there appears to be a third, distinct retrovirus capable of causing the fatal disease.
They are also elusive, and as a result they often go unrecognized even when causing disease, says Gail H.