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Associated Conditions


There is always the possibility that you have two or more conditions or diseases rather than just one. For many diseases, there are usually other diseases that are related to it or associated with it. Underlying conditions cause the disease andcomplications are caused by the disease. Clearly, both are related to the disease. Associated or related conditions can also present, however these conditions do not cause and are not caused by the original condition.

What are associated conditions?

Associated conditions are conditions that appear to be related in statistics, but do not have a clear medical relationship. Having a disease may make it more likely that you will have a related disease. Reasons for an association with another disease can vary greatly. There may be an association or relationship between conditions because:

  • Having one condition increases the risk of getting another (i.e. the first disease is a risk factor for the second).
  • Gaving a particular condition indicates that you are in the risk group for other similar conditions (e.g. having one STD may indicate your sexual behavior puts you at risk for other STDs).
  • Two conditions may be caused by the same underlying condition (i.e. a third underlying condition): for example, diabetes and hypertension may be related due to underlying metabolic syndrome.
  • A second condition causes the original condition (i.e. it is an underlying condition).
  • A second condition is caused by the first disease (i.e. it is a direct symptom or complication).

Misdiagnosis of associated conditions: Failure to diagnose a related condition is a partial misdiagnosis. There may be related conditions or symptoms presented during diagnosis, and there may also be an increased risk of contracting related conditions in the future. Vigilance with regard to related conditions is important. You and your doctor must be aware of related conditions and their symptoms.

Example: Heart disease: There are many risk factors for heart disease that occur together. If you have hypertension, high cholesterol, diabetes, or be overweight. This could be a lifestyle related illness or may be related to an underlying condition such as metabolic syndrome.

Example: Autoimmune diseases: autoimmune diseases tend to occur together. Some examples of autoimmune diseases include lupus, Type 1 diabetes, multiple sclerosis, psoriasis, and about 100 other conditions. Because you have one autoimmune disease, you may have a problem with your immune system, making you more susceptible to other autoimmune diseases.


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