Word of the Week: Sequelae

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Alex Dos Diaz / Verywell

Each week, Verywell explains a term from health, medicine, science, or technology.


How to say it: Sequelae (see-quell-lay).

What it means: Conditions or diseases that follow another.

Where it comes from: From Latin sequela meaning "sequel."

Close up of a white person's hands writing on a clipboard, filling out a medical form. An unseen patient is blurred in the background.


Where you might see or hear it: Sometimes, one medical condition can lead to another. For example, if you have rheumatic heart disease, your doctor might have made a note in your medical record that the condition is the sequelae of a case of rheumatic fever that you had as a child.

When you might want to use it: If you wanted to explain to someone that a new diagnosis you have been given is related to a medical condition that you already had, the term sequelae can help you show the relationship between the two conditions. It's sort of like the "sequel" to a movie, If you developed chronic pain after you broke your shoulder, that chronic pain turned out to be the (not well-liked) sequel to your injury—or even the surgery that you had to repair it.

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