The term "co-morbidity" has been
used to describe the overlap of illnesses which tend to occur together.
"Co" means together or jointly. "Morbidity" refers to disease.
Co-morbidity simply means diseases which occur simultaneously.
In reviewing the possible sources of co-morbidity,
a prominent researcher has observed:
"In co-morbidity there is an underlying assumption that separate diagnoses
may co-occur for several reasons: one disorder increases vulnerability
to the other; one disorder is a different expression of the other; both
disorders are due to some third underlying cause, or by chance alone ..."
(Weissman et al, 1986, p. 433)
For example, psoriasis (a disease of the skin)
has a significant co-morbidity with several other illnesses including
arthritis, headache, heart disease and depression. In psoriasis,
Edgar Cayce explains co-morbidity by linking all the various syndromes
to a common causal factor - toxicity within the body. As the body
seeks to eliminate toxins, the internal pollution affects various organs
producing a variety of symptoms diagnosed as separate illnesses.
Cayce's treatment recommendations for psoriasis were intended to address
the basic cause of toxicity and thus eliminate the psoriasis and any other
For example, in reading 943-17, Edgar Cayce observed
that toxins were leaking out of the intestines (see psoriasis).
He noted that the body was attempting to eliminate the toxicity through
the skin, which was producing the psoriatic symptoms. However, he
went on to observe that if the toxicity were to settle in some other part
of the body, tuberculosis, heart trouble, cirrhosis of the liver, dementia,
goiter, or cancer could result. In other words, these other illnesses
would be considered as co-morbid with the psoriasis. Incidentally,
this is also an excellent example of "nonspecificity."
The Cayce readings contain numerous examples
of co-morbidity. Cayce's sophisticated systems approach to the body
readily accommodates this concept. His penetrating analysis of cause
and effect holds great potential for bringing insight into this complex
problem which baffles modern medical science.
Furthermore, the relatively safe and natural
treatments he commonly recommended may be effective for all the various
symptoms and disease manifestations linked to one or more common causes.
(See also "nonspecificity," as in nonspecific causes and treatments.)
- Weissman, M. M., Merikangas, K. R., Wickramaratne, P., Kidd, K. K., Prusoff,
B. A., Leckman, J. F. & Pauls, D. L. (1986). Understanding
the clinical heterogeneity of major depression using family data.
Archives of General Psychiatry, 43, 430-434.