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What Is a Comorbid Condition?

Arthritis and Comorbid Conditions


Updated June 09, 2014

Question: What Is a Comorbid Condition?

The term "comorbid condition" is a medical term you will run into often when reading about medical studies and multiple chronic conditions. It sounds very serious but what exactly is a comorbid condition?

Answer: A comorbid condition refers to one or more diseases or conditions that occur together with the primary condition. Using rheumatoid arthritis as an example, there are comorbid conditions associated with the disease that are non-articular manifestations (conditions that affect soft tissue rather than joints) occurring with higher frequency than would be expected in the normal population. According to rheumatologist Raymond Federman, M.D., "These include such conditions as subcutaneous nodules, vasculitis, neuritis, Sjogren's syndrome and Felty's syndrome. Although these conditions are not found in all rheumatoid arthritis patients, when present, they may influence treatment."

Comorbid conditions can also include diseases and conditions other than arthritis-related conditions. It can refer to arthritis and diabetes, arthritis and heart disease, arthritis and cancer -- any conditions which occur together.

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