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natural history of disease


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Applied to the description of a disease, this term means the way the disease evolves and progresses, particularly in the absence of intervention. Abundant information about the natural history of many chronic, long-term, progressive and recurrent diseases reveals that they have several stages: stage of pathological onset; presymptomatic stage; and clinical stage when the disease is manifest. The use of screening tests in the presymptomatic stage enables early detection of some conditions including certain cancers and cardiovascular diseases, and this may provide opportunities for effective interventions to improve chances of reversing or retarding the disease process and reducing the adverse impact of complications.

Subjects: Public Health and Epidemiology.


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