What is a Comorbid Condition? A Bulleted List for Patients
Patients often misunderstand the term comorbid. Let's talk about this frequently used term and eliminate some myths and misconceptions:
Comorbidity vs. primary vs. secondary disease
- A comorbidity is a condition that a patient has in addition to their migraine disease. It is not part of their migraine disease.
- A primary disease or condition is something that is not caused by another disease or condition.
- A secondary disease or condition is something that is the result of another disease or condition.
What causes migraine disease?
Migraine is a genetic disease. Our genetic makeup makes it possible for us to have a migraine attack. Just because we have the genetic capacity for migraine attacks does not necessarily mean we will have them.
Migraine is a primary condition. Another disease or condition does not cause it. Many other diseases or conditions found in migraineurs are also primary.
A comorbid condition does not cause migraine disease. Migraine disease does not cause the comorbid condition. Although each condition is present in a single patient, each is separate and not related to the other.
Complications and treatments
Migraine patients often suffer similar comorbid conditions that other migraineurs also live with. This does not mean that one condition is causing the other. It may mean something is happening in the patient, making it more likely for them to suffer each of the comorbid conditions.
Comorbid conditions may sometimes influence or exacerbate each other. A migraineur may experience migraine attacks triggered by their comorbid condition. Their comorbid condition may be made worse by their migraine attacks.
Treatment for a comorbid condition may complicate or exacerbate a patient’s migraine disease. Migraine treatment or management strategies may complicate or exacerbate the comorbid condition.
In some instances, treatment for a comorbid condition may be helpful for the patient’s migraine disease. Discovering this is how some medicines began to be used off-label for migraine treatment. Some examples are blood pressure medicines, Botox, and anti-seizure medications. Treatment for a patient’s migraine disease may also sometimes be helpful for the comorbid condition.
Migraine.com is currently compiling a list of frequently comorbid diseases and conditions, hoping that when patients better understand these conditions and their interaction with migraine disease, they will become more proactive in discussing their comorbidities with their physicians and work with them as an educated team.
Here is an index of our comorbid articles for patients:
You can help us as we grow... What comorbid conditions would you like to see us address here at Migraine.com?
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