Clinically, we often keep a list of relevant clinical conditions for a patient that help us frame the patient from a clinical perspective. For example, here are three very different people (clinically speaking):
- 49 year-old male with type 2 diabetes mellitus, hypertension, and history of stroke
- 47 year-old female with active pregnancy, chronic cough, mild intermittent asthma, and history of depression
- 48 year-old with no significant past medical history
Historically, we referred to a “Problem List” to keep a list of relevant medical issues for a patient. Over the past decade or more, “Problem List” was transitioned to “Condition List” since many conditions are not considered “problems” (e.g., people don’t like referring to pregnancy as a problem). So, “Condition” is referring to any medical condition that helps to define the patient’s clinical state. So, in French, if I described a patient with asthma, diabetes, and a persistent cough, you would say they have three ___________. ← that’s the word you need. In English, we fill the blank with “conditions.” Diagnosis doesn’t quite fit, since the list can contain findings and symptoms (that have not been or may never be) fully diagnosed, like “cough” or “big hairy bump on back that has been biopsied and tested and nobody knows what it is, but we want to keep an eye on it to make sure it isn’t growing over time.”
“Active” and “Inactive” or used to determine whether or not something is on the list or not. Note that something could be clinically inactive, but still clinically relevant, so may be “active” to keep it on the list. For example, “recurrent depression” may be clinically quiescent (the patient is currently depressed) for years, but important to keep in mind since it could affect which medicine you choose to treat another problem, so you may keep it “active” (on the list). On the other hand, “presbyopia” (difficulty focusing up close as we age) may be chronically true for the patient, but deemed clinically significant so made “inactive” to get it off the list.
“History of” is used to distinguish between something that is happening now versus happened in the past. While there are many maladies that come & go and, once resolved, are no longer significant (e.g., a brief bout of diarrhea you had three years ago), some things that have resolved even years ago remain clinically significant. For example, a “History of Stroke” or “History of Psychotic Depression” may be kept on the patient’s condition list even if the condition resolved years ago, because they would influence your thoughts & actions if the patient presented today with unusual behavior.