Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Terminology Tuesday: morbidity and comorbidity vs mortality


When I started to really do research into my disease several years ago, I came across the term 'morbidity.' It's a bit of a shocking word, or at least was to me, due to how often it was associated with mortality. I thought for sure that morbidity meant something terrible.

Then I saw comorbidity and freaked out more.

Morbidity really just means the state of being ill due to disease. It can be used to describe a population ("SJIA patients have a higher rate of morbidity and mortality when compared to normal children their age") or to one person alone ("Kirsten's morbidity rose throughout college, finally coming to a head her senior year").

Comorbidity is where two or more illnesses that can cause morbidity exist, like how those with rheumatic diseases often also have fibromyalgia.

Most of us know what mortality means... It is being mortal, being able to die or be killed.


In studies on many rheumatic diseases, morbidity and mortality are often listed together. This can be a way to generalize that the population with a certain disease like SJIA tend to have higher rates of death or disability from their disease or related complications.

Want to learn more medical terms? Join me on my MedX journey Sept 24-27! I'll be live tweeting the whole time so hit me up@kirstie_schultz, catch the live streams at the Medicine X website, and join in the conversations using the tag #MedX.


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