What is “comorbidity”?

We are learning more medical vocabulary as a result of the Covid 19 virus. The concept of “comorbidity” (la comorbilidad) is often mentioned in the newspapers, so we need to understand it. Comorbidity is an important factor in deaths from Covid.

“Comorbidity” refers to a situation where an ill person or hospital patient, who has an existing illness, contracts a virus, such as Covid or flu. The two illnesses combined raise the risk of death or serious complications and usually means hospital treatment and perhaps death.  The plural is “comorbidities”:

In other words, the risk of more serious illness or death is a function of comorbidity (una función de comorbilidad). Simply put, comorbidity describes two or more illnesses occurring at the same time in the same person.

Some examples:

  • Diabetes reduces the quality of life and could cause comorbidity and raises the risk of mortality (la diabetes reduce la calidad de la vida y podría causar el riesgo de la mortalidad).
  • A doctor´s advice should be conditioned by the patient´s comorbidity (…debería estar condicionado por la comorbilidad del paciente).
  • Drug addiction often results in changes in the brain´s function and brings about behaviour disorders. These two conditions then will worsen each other – this is comorbidity (la adicción de drogas a menudo produce cambios en la función del cerebro y provoca trastornos de conducta. Estas dos condiciones luego empeorán entre sí: esto es comorbilidad).
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