Comorbidity Meaning: Here’s What It Means and How to Use It?

Have you seen the word comorbidity in the news and not known what it meant? Today, we’re teaching you the meaning of comorbidity.

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With all the medical talk currently happening in the world, you may have stumbled across the word comorbidity; you may have even heard your own medical professional use comorbidity, but what exactly does it mean? Keep reading to find out not only the definition but so much more. 

What Does Comorbidity Mean?

As per the Cambridge Dictionary, comorbidity is defined as a condition, disease, or illness that occurs at the same time as another varying illness, condition, or disease. For example, obesity and IBS may be comorbid.

These two medical conditions usually exist independently of one another, but they may interact with one another; these conditions, however, are always simultaneous. Comorbidities are oftentimes chronic. At a minimum, they are usually long-term conditions.

Are There Differences Between the Words Complication and Comorbidity?

While they may seem quite similar at face value, it is important to note that complication does not have the same meaning as comorbidity. Comorbidity, as we have talked about, is a separate disease or illness that one may have along with your original health concern. 

On the other hand, a complication is a medical condition or side effect that you may develop after a procedure or during disease. A complication could be caused by the treatment, procedure, or disease; however, it could be unrelated to the disease itself.

What Are Some Examples of Comorbidities?

Many different mental health conditions, substance use disorders, anxiety disorders, and mood disorders can cause comorbidity.

From the physical illnesses diabetes and high blood pressure to the mental illnesses depression and anxiety the list of possibie comorbitities is vast and abundant.

One of the most common examples and perhaps most well-known in the mental health field is anxiety and depression disorder. Either one of these has its own list of mental health disorders as well, such as:

  • Generalized anxiety disorder
  • Schizophrenia
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • Major Depression

What Is the Etymology of Morbidity?

To better understand comorbidity, we first need to begin with the word morbidity. Morbidity was first used in 1721 when the word-forming element “-ity” was combined with (adj.) morbid (indicative of disease or in reference to the nature of disease). 

In 1985, comorbidity was first documented when “co-” (17th century English living prefix, meaning “in common,” “together,” or “mutually”) was combined with morbidity to form comorbidity.

What Are Antonyms and Synonyms of the Word Comorbidity?

Antonyms and synonyms not only help us grasp a better understanding of the English language, but they really come in handy when you’ve repeated yourself numerous times in a letter to a peer, or better even when you are simply looking to grow your vocabulary.

While there are no categorical antonyms currently in the English dictionary for the word comorbidity, there are a few similar words we can use as synonyms for comorbidity. 

When we are looking for the synonym (a word with the same or similar meaning to the root word) of comorbidity, we have a few options: co-diagnosis, co-existing, and co-occurring.

How Can We Use the Word Comorbidity in a Sentence?

While the noun comorbidity may see common use in conversations and written documents in the medical field, that doesn’t mean it’s common practice every day. 

To better understand the definition of comorbidity and to get a better general grasp of the word, try using comorbidity in sentences on your own. 

Below you will find a short list of examples:

  • Johny told me that he was reading a pretty in-depth study on comorbidity and the covid-19 vaccine, listing out all its effects on your immune system.
  • My doctor informed me that due to his drug abuse, substance use,, and mental health conditions, my husband was at the highest risk for comorbidities. 
  • I believe it was in January when the CDC released a document about public health, severe illness,, and the current rise of comorbidity.
  • Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease or COPD has a wide variety of comorbidities, such as cardiovascular disease, heart disease, and lung cancer.
  • A national institute conducted a study and found older people are far more likely to have comorbidity than at a younger age.


In summary, comorbidity simply means you have more than one illness at any given time. 

Be it a physical illness or mental health issue, both can be associated with a comorbid case. While there are many theories as to the why, we now know that many different conditions cause comorbidity, from depression and anxiety to diabetes and obesity; these are all common comorbid conditions. 


  1. Obesity and IBS as likely associated comorbidities | Mayo Clinic
  2. Defining Comorbidity: Implications for Understanding Health and Health Services | NCBI
  3. COMORBIDITY definition |  Cambridge English Dictionary