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 co-morbid diseases.
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.