Morbidity refers to having a specific condition, illness, or symptom of a disease. While it can refer to an acute condition, it is most often used to describe chronic diseases.
Some common morbidities include:
- Alzheimer’s disease
- Chronic kidney disease
- Heart disease
- High blood pressure (hypertension)
- Infections (e.g., HIV, the flu)
- Lung diseases (e.g., chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), asthma)
Morbidity is often used to define the amount of disease within a population, and it is typically represented using incidence or prevalence.
Incidence refers to the number of new cases of a condition or illness diagnosed within a population over a specified time period. It may be expressed as a rate or proportion.
Prevalence is the proportion of a population that has an illness or condition (both new and existing cases) and is often expressed as a ratio or percentage.