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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 ?
By birth and upbringing he was a member of a distinguished "old Catholic" family, and yet he made common cause with the convert Ultramontane Manning, who was viewed as an upstart and an innovator by Vaughan's peers.
Esperanza Brito, editor of the Mexican feminist magazine FEM, said that "the feminist struggle made common cause with that of the EZLN because it is a revolution that does not betray women.
Or, alternatively, what life in Israel would be like if Zionist socialists had been true to their Marxist professions and made common cause with Arab laborers rather than seeing them as competitors.
Never before have so many Arab leaders made common cause with Israel.
After two years in jail, Bahro was expelled to the West, where he made common cause with the post-1968 generation of dissidents and was the Green Party's leading intellectual light.
Los Angeles considers it something of a miracle that the city bureaucracy has made common cause with the Coalition of Neighborhood Developers, a group of 56 grass-roots organizations.
On campuses like SUNY Albany, where activists staged a sit-in on Thursday, labor and prison activists have made common cause, making fair treatment of workers and divestment from private prisons demands of the campaign.
Many Sunnis feel disenfranchised and some have made common cause with foreign Islamist radicals, first against the U.
Tens of volunteers from the Arabian peninsula, Jordan, and Egypt have made common cause with TTP.
While Hazare had been fighting against corruption in his home state Maharashtra with impressive results for long, Kejriwal made common cause with him and floated India Against Corruption.
and muscle the civilian nuclear deal through Parliament, he dumped the Left and made common cause ( and cut deals) with all kinds of parties.
Both have made common cause over their exclusion from the three televised leaders' debates, and believe they could have as many as 18 MPs between them when the new Parliament assembles.