Learn everything about Etiology

If you are wondering what Etiology means, then continue to read this article to know the explanation and details. It is a study of the origination or causation.

Definition of Etiology:

In the philosophical theories, Etiology is used for referring to the studies of why things occur. Also, it tries to explain the reasons for the occurrence of things in the way they occur. It is greatly used in the fields of Physics, Biology, Philosophy, Psychology, Geography, Government, Medicine, Theology etc. It can also be termed as the study of the origins or the study of the causes of disorders and diseases.

There is another definition for this term and that explains that it pertains to the symptoms or diagnosis that is presented by the patient. Every disease or disorder will have a certain cause or origin for it. These are the factors that produce that disease. This study of the causes and the origin is known as etiology.

Etiology and Medicine:

In the medical terms, etiology is used for referring to factors which come together and cause an illness. This term is really important in the field of medicine. It explains the causes of various disorders and diseases. If the etiology cannot be ascertained, then the disorder is known to be idiopathic.

The events can happen together by coincidence or chance and that can be quite confounding. One event might cause the happening of the other event. Or, multiple events can cause the occurrence of a particular event. So, a careful measurement and sampling is required for doing the statistical analysis for determining the causes. There are experimental evidence which involve interventions and give some of the most compelling evidence for etiology.

Etiology can also be a part of the chain of causation. There could be an etiological agent of the disease which might require independent co-factors. These could also be subject to the promoters for causing diseases.

Some of the studies of the causes of diseases are detailed below:

Peptic Ulcer: As per the etiological studies, Peptic Ulcer disease can be caused due to stress. For the ulcer to occur, there should be a presence of the acid secretion in the stomach.

Diabetes and Hepatitis: Some of the diseases like diabetes and hepatitis are syndrome defined. There are certain signs and symptoms which will occur, but there would be other conditions too, which would be included in the etiologies. Similarly, a virus named as Epstein-Barr, can cause various diseases like mononucleosis, lymphoma, nasopharyngeal carcinoma, among other things.

Obesity and Overweight:

A balanced energy is required for regulating the gain and loss of weight. The bodies will stock up the fat while absorbing energy. If this energy is more than what is consumed during the physical activities, then the person will gain weight and become obese. Also, if a person reduces the intake of calories, and the physical activity is increased, then it will lead to a loss of weight. So, a person should avoid taking too many calories and should get enough physical activity too.

The main reason for obesity is the imbalance between intake and expenditure. For getting into the root of this problem, one will need to do a research on the behavioural, physiological and the environmental factors. This will be essential for development and implementation of treatment and prevention programs that are quite effective. Obesity and overweight happen to be chronic disorders. And, it can also be caused because of behaviour, metabolism, genes, culture, environment and the socio-economic status.

Scurvy: It is the main focus of the epidemiological studies. For example, there is a study or the etiology of Scurvy. This explains that the sailors who travel on the sea have a deficit of Vitamin C in their food. And, this is usually caused due to the lack of fresh vegetables. So, this study confers that a lack of Vitamin C can cause Scurvy in people.

Tuberculosis, Anthrax: Other than Scurvy, there are other diseases too, whose causes were found out. Robert Koch was able to demonstrate that the disease tuberculosis was caused due to tubercle bacillus. Anthrax was caused due to Bacillus Anthrac, Cholera was caused by Vibrio Cholerae. These were major epidemics and the causes were found out by suitable evidences and thinking. But, for the infectious diseases, there are no proofs of causation. There are only some individual cases which provide some sort of experimental evidences. In the field of epidemiology, various evidences are required for inferring the causation. As per Sir Austin Bradford, there was a relationship between cigarette smoking and lung cancer.

Other diseases: There are other chronic diseases which do not have known causes. And, these can also be studied within this framework. This will help in explaining multiple epidemiological associations that may be casually related or might not be casually related.

Etiological Myth:

It is a myth which is intended to give explanations of the origins of the cult practices. Also, it gives explanations on the natural phenomena and other proper names. It explains why certain things happened and why some names are given to certain things.

Etiology Vs Pathophysiology:

Both of them are quite similar and it is difficult to differentiate between them. They both are intertwined. Etiology describes and explains all those causes and conditions which develop the symptoms in a patient. It gives an idea of the development of pulmonary embolism like sedentary lifestyles, overweight, immobility, surgeries, traumas, dehydration, extended sitting etc. Pathophysiology explains how the causes alter and affect the normal functioning of the fbody. It describes how it can harm the patients. It explains how it can lead to shortness of breath, acute pains, mortality etc. So, in short, Etiology is the cause and Pathophysiology is the effect. In fact, if the cause was not there, the disease would not have occurred at all.

Hope you understood what etiology actually means. It is nothing but the study of the causes of things, diseases or disorders. So, if you hear somebody saying that the etiology is unknown, then it means that the cause is not known.

Leave a Response

The team is composed of doctors and few students in their final year of medicine who have decided to popularize and share their knowledge.