A disease is an abnormal health condition that has an adverse effect on the body of any living being. It is generally interpreted to be a medical condition related to distinctive signs and symptoms. Diseases may be attributed to external factors, for instance contagious ailments, or they may even be a result of internal failure of the body organs to perform normally, as in the case of autoimmune diseases. In the case of the humans, in general, the term ‘disease’ is mostly denoted as any condition which results in distress, pain, social problems, dysfunction and/ or even death to the affected individual or comparable problems for people who are in touch with the afflicted individuals. In such a wider viewpoint, it occasionally comprises disabilities, injuries, disorders, infections, syndromes, isolated symptoms, aberrant behavior as well as abnormal variation in arrangement and functioning. On the other hand, in other perspectives and for other reasons these may be taken into account as discernible groups. Normally, diseases or ailments have an effect on individuals physically as well as emotionally, since contracting and enduring several ailments has the aptitude to change an individual’s perception regarding life as well as their persona.
It may be noted here that when an individual succumbs to his/ her diseases, it is generally known as death due to natural causes. Precisely speaking, diseases can be classified into four main types – pathogenic disease, hereditary disease, deficiency disease and physiological disease.
When people suffer from diseases attributable to microorganisms, it is called pathogenic diseases. The term ‘pathogen’ has been derived from a Greek word that translated into English literally means ‘giving rise to afflictions’. Pathogenic diseases may be attributed to several agents, such as bacteria, fungi, viruses, prions, and others. All such pathogenic agents have the aptitude to result in various diseases and health conditions. In this write-up we will mainly focus on the pathogenic diseases attributable to bacteria.
Several so called good bacteria inhibit our body and sustain on the human body system. Such good bacteria assist our immune system in avoiding pathogenic bacteria. Hence, many people often question whether any infection by bacteria is contagious. Replying to such queries, it may be said that bacteria are truly communicable and people across the globe are affected by diseases caused by several pathogenic bacteria. Any type of adverse affect on our immune system as well as the beneficial bacteria may enable the pathogenic bacteria to harm the body and result in diseases. These circumstances are called opportunistic infection. In fact, bacteria may be responsible for food poisoning, bacterial pneumonia, anthrax, tooth decay and may even cause different forms of cancers in humans.
Basically, there are four major sources of pathogenic bacteria – places from where bacteria enter the body and infect it. Most raw foods, such as meat, egg, poultry, rice, dairy products and others form the primary source of pathogenic bacteria. In addition to these, there are other starting places of pathogenic bacteria, for instance pets and pests. It may be noted that pests, such as mice, rats, cockroaches and others transmit bacteria. In additions, pets infected with fleas and ticks also set off disease in humans owing to tick or flea bites. People themselves comprise the third source of bacteria. Individuals may transmit an infection to others by means of sharing foods, clothes, utensils and also kissing. In addition, they also transmit bacteria via the contaminated body fluid as well as respiratory drippings. The ultimate or final resource of such contagious ailments is via the soil. Remember, the soil is high in concentration of pathogenic bacteria that may result in poisoning, contagion and even develop gangrene. In addition, pathogenic diseases causing bacteria may also be found in stagnant water beneath the coolers, in sewage as well as open water tanks.
On the other hand deficiency diseases are attributed to the absence of necessary vitamins and proteins within our body. There are various types of vitamins that are lacking within the human bodies and are commonly observed by the physicians. The shortage of dissimilar vitamins and proteins is becoming more common every day encouraging the deficiency disease. It may be mentioned here that one or more ailments might be owing to the absence of a number of specific nourishments and not the entire nutrients. In this article, we shall discuss the different types of ailments/ diseases that are a result of scarcity of one or more vitamin types in our body. Remember, every time we are not being careful we are developing a deficiency disease and may also be involving ourselves in several diseases.
Hereditary diseases, also referred to as genetic disorders or inherited diseases, are ailments that are transmitted from one generation to another by means of flawed genes. Such hereditary diseases are generally passed on within the same family. In a number of instances, one generation of the family might just be the carrier of the flawed gene, while the next generation may be afflicted by the disease. Chromosomes present in the humans are liable for transmitting the attributes from the parent to the offspring. In effect, there are several thousand genes on each pair of chromosomes – X and Y, and every gene carries a particular characteristics.
In normal conditions, genes actually carry typical characters but owing to reasons that are yet to be ascertained, the genes are modified leading to a ‘mutant’ or malformed gene. Children take over a copy of gene from both parents and in case either one or both the duplicates of the gene are malformed or mutated, the offspring faces the risk of developing an inherited disease. In most cases, the parents are now aware of the fact that they themselves are enduring a specific disease and have passed the flawed gene to the child, at least till the time the child becomes afflicted by the disease.
Any physiological disease is actually an ailment wherein the organs or the systems within the body malfunction resulting in ailments.
In addition to the above types of diseases, they can also be categorized into communicable or infectious and non-communicable diseases (NCD).
Non-communicable diseases are actually an ailment or health condition which is not infectious. Generally, NCDs are diseases that one endures for long and progresse slowly. Such diseases include asthma, heart ailments, stroke, diabetes, cancer, osteoporosis, cataracts, kidney ailments, Alzheimer’s disease and many more. NCDs are frequently denoted as chronic diseases and are differentiated by means of the non-contagious nature. On the other hand, a number of chronic diseases, for instance AIDS and HIV, despite being long duration diseases, are contagious and can be spread from one individual to another by several means. In fact, people suffering from these health conditions or diseases require similar health care as those needed by patients enduring chronic ailments.
Certain factors like the lifestyle and environment of an individual as well as his/ her background are known to enhance the risks of developing specific non-communicable diseases. Such risk factors may include the individual’s age, genetics, sex, their contact with air pollution, diet, smoking and lack of physical activities. All these may result in high blood pressure or hypertension and overweight and these, in turn, enhance the risk of several non-communicable diseases. In effect, most of the non-communicable diseases are regarded as preventable since they are caused by risk factors that can be changed.
Infectious diseases are also referred to as contagious or communicable diseases. Often they are also called transmissible diseases and include clinically proven ailments, i.e. typical medical symptoms or indications of disease, caused by some kind of infection, existence and development of pathogenic organic or natural agents in any individual host organism. In specific instances, contagious diseases are likely to be asymptomatic or do not show any signs or symptoms of the disease for most of or the entire duration of the disease. Pathogens that result in infectious diseases comprise a number of bacteria, viruses, fungi, multi-cellular parasites, protozoa as well as abnormal or deviant proteins called prions. It may be noted that the pathogens mentioned here are responsible for outbreak of epidemics. In other words, no infectious epidemic can take place without the active role of pathogens.
Transmission or spread of pathogens from one individual to another may take place in different manners, counting physical contact, body fluids, infected food, contaminated objects, airborne breathing and even by means of vector organisms (organisms that do not cause diseases, but carry disease bearing pathogens). Contagious diseases that are particularly infective are occasionally known as contagious and they can be transmitted or spread by coming in contact with an ailing person or their discharges very easily. Contagious ailments have further specific means of contagion, for instance vector transmission or infections transmitted through sexual activities, are generally considered as infectious, but in such cases it is not necessary to keep the patients in medical isolation.
The expression infectivity or contagion actually explains the capability or aptitude of an organism to go into, stay alive and reproduce within the body of the host, while when we use the term ‘infectiousness of a disease’ it denotes the relative effortlessness with which the disease is transmitted or passed on to another host. Hence, it may be said that a contagion is not one and the same as an infectious disease, since a number of infections do not result in any type of disease in the host.