Syndromes and associated conditions
The description of a syndrome usually includes a number of essential characteristics, which when concurrent lead to the diagnosis of the condition. Frequently these are classified as a combination of typical major symptoms and signs—essential to the diagnosis—together with minor findings, some or all of which may be absent. A formal description may specify the minimum number of major and minor findings respectively, that are required for the diagnosis.
In contrast to the major and minor findings typical of the syndrome, there may be an association with other conditions, meaning that in persons with the specified syndrome these associated conditions occur more frequently than would be expected by chance. While the syndrome and the associated conditions may be statistically related, they do not have a clear cause and effect relationship, i.e., there is likely to be a separate underlying problem or risk factor that explains the association. An example would be Down syndrome, which has the associated condition of diabetes mellitus. A knowledge of associated conditions would dictate that they are specifically looked for in the management of the syndrome.
A medical condition is a broad term that includes all diseases and disorders. While the term medical condition generally includes mental illnesses, in some contexts the term is used specifically to denote any illness, injury, or disease except for mental illnesses. The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), the widely used psychiatric manual that defines all mental disorders, uses the term general medical condition to refer to all diseases, illnesses, and injuries except for mental disorders. This usage is also commonly seen in the psychiatric literature. Some health insurance policies also define a medical condition as any illness, injury, or disease except for psychiatric illnesses.
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