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Glossary of Terms

We know that many of the concepts used on this site can be difficult to understand. For that reason, we have provided you with a glossary to help you make sense of the terms used in Comparative Effectiveness Research. Every word that is defined in this glossary should appear highlighted throughout the Web site. When you come upon a highlighted term and would like to read the full definition, you can either click on the word to visit the glossary or roll your mouse over the word for a pop-up definition.

 

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Risk Factor

Definition: A characteristic of a person that affects that person's chance of having a disease. A risk factor may be an inherent trait, such as gender or genetic make-up, or a factor under the person's control, such as using tobacco. A risk factor does not usually cause the disease. It changes a person's chance (or risk) of getting the disease.

Example: For example, among people taking non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), the risk for stomach bleeding increases with age. This means that higher age is a risk factor. Other risk factors for stomach bleeding with NSAIDs include use of anticoagulant medicines ("blood thinners") and having had stomach bleeding in the past.

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