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Definition - What does comorbid mean?

Comorbid is a term used to describe medical conditions that exist simultaneously but are independent of each other. For instance, a person may suffer from heart disease and respiratory failure as comorbid conditions. Because each comorbid condition has the potential to affect the diagnosis, treatment, and outcome, healthcare monitoring of individuals with multiple conditions can be challenging. Careful record keeping by physicians and symptoms reporting by patients can ease the treatment of comorbid conditions.

SureHire explains comorbid

Comorbidity has an impact on both diagnosis and treatment of diseases. When two or more conditions share similar symptoms, their presence in a single individual may make diagnosing each underlying disease difficult. For example, a psychiatrist may not be able to immediately determine whether an individual with symptoms of anxiety suffers from anxiety, bi-polar disease, or a related condition. In some instances, overlapping symptoms may cause a comorbid condition to go undiagnosed as its impact is masked by another disease in the same patient.

Comorbid conditions can also complicate patient treatment. Some medications that might otherwise be used to treat a single condition in a patient might be contraindicated for a comorbid condition. For example, a patient struggling with diabetes and a psychotic condition might be limited from some anti-psychotics because some classes can cause overeating. Additionally, when a patient suffers from several conditions, each physician must select medications that can be safely used together.

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