Infectious Conditions

Pathogens, disease-causing agents, are found throughout the world. Endemic, infectious disease like a common cold, presented all thought the Earth’s population. Epidemic is when the number of cases of a disease suddenly increases with higher than projected endemic numbers. Pandemic is a globally epidemic like influenza.

Too much stress, inadequate nutrition, a low fitness level, lack of sleep, misuse or abuse of legal and illegal drugs, poor personal hygiene, and high risk behaviors significantly increase the risk of infection in the body. Too much stress, inadequate nutrition, and low fitness level would make me more susceptible to infection. As on the road to a healthier self, I have been doing much better not getting sick. However, before I decide to change I was sicker than I have ever been in a long time. I believe that changing my life styles has help fight off colds and other sicknesses.

Most diseases are multifactorial. This means the disease is caused by the interaction of several factors inside and outside a person. The person or host must be susceptible. An agent capable of transmitting a disease must be present and the environment must be hospitable to the pathogen. Outside or foreign substances capable of causing disease are antigens. Virus, a bacterium, a fungus, a parasite, a toxin, or a tissue or cells from another organism are examples of antigen. A person can become immune to some of these antigens. Immunity is a condition of being able to resist a particular disease by counteracting the substance that produces the disease. This is how the immune system works. The antigens invade the body by breaking through one of our protective barriers. Helper T cells recognize the invading antigens and trigger the production of killer T cells and B cells. Killer T cells destroy infected cells. B cells produce antibodies that attach to antigens and mark them for destruction by macrophages. When the treat is over, suppressor T cells stop the activity of B cells, killer T cells, and macrophages. Memory B and T cells are reserved so the body can respond quickly to future attacks by the same antigen. Some ways to reduce your risk of infectious disease, limit your exposure to pathogens, exercise regularly, get enough sleep, stress less, and optimize eating.

Different types of antigens:

  • Bacteria: simple, single-celled microscopic organisms. Can be treated by antibiotics. However antibiotics are becoming less effective because they are becoming antibiotic resistance. Examples are staphylococci, MRSA, strep throat or streptococcus, meningitis, pneumonia, TB, and tick-borne bacterial diseases.
  • Viruses: smallest known pathogens. A protein structure that contains either ribonucleic acid (RNA) or deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA). Can be difficult to treat. Drug treatments are limited. Examples are mononucleosis, Hepatitis, herpes virus, mumps, measles, rubella, common cold, and the flu.
  • Other pathogens: Fungi are multi- or unicellular organisms that obtain food by infiltrating the bodies of other organism, both living and dead. Edible mushrooms, penicillin, and yeast are all fungus that is not harmful to humans. However candidiasis (vaginal yeast infection), ringworm, jock itch, and toenail fungus are common fungal diseases. Coccidiomycosis (valley fever) is an infection that occurs when humans and pets inhale soil dwelling fungal spores. Protozoans are single celled organisms that cause diseases like malaria, American sleeping sickness, and trichomoniasis. Parasitic worms are the largest of the pathogens. Small pinworms to large tapeworms are the sizes that worms can be. Eating raw sushi can increase the risk of parasitic worms infection. Prion is self-replicating protein-based agent that can infect humans and animals like mad cow disease.

Sexually transmitted infections are infections that a person can get when having unprotected sex, vaginally, anally, or orally. There are 20 known types of STDs. Practicing safe sex is the key to protecting yourself from STDs. Here are the risks for various sexual behaviors.

  • High-risk behaviors: unprotected vaginal, anal, and oral sex. Any activity that involves direct contact with bodily fluids, such as ejaculate, vaginal secretions, or blood.
  • Moderate-risk behaviors: Vaginal, anal, or oral sex with latex or polyurethane condom and a water-based lubricant used properly and consistently can greatly reduce the risk of STI transmission. Dental dams used during oral sex can also greatly reduce the risk of STI transmission.
  • Low-risk behaviors: Mutual masturbation, if there are no cuts on the hand, penis, or vagina, is very low risk. Rubbing, kissing, and massaging carry low risk, but herpes can be spread by skin-to-skin contact from an infected partner.
  • No-risk behaviors: Abstinence, phone sex, talking, and fantasy are all no-risk behaviors.

Some STIs are as followed:

  • Chlamydia- bacterium chlamydia trachomatis. Most commonly reported STI.
  • Gonorrhea- Most common STIs in the U.S. Caused by bacterial pathogen, Neisseria gonorrhea
  • Herpes- simplex virus. Two types of herpes simplex virus are HSV-1 and HSV-2. Only 1 in 6 people in the U.S. currently have HSV-2. But half of adults have HSV-1. HSV-1 is usually appearing as cold sores on the mouth. Both herpes types 1 and 2 can infect any area of the body, producing lesions or sores in and around the vaginal area or on the penis, and around the anal opening, buttocks, things, or mouth. Herpes simplex virus remains in nerve cells for life and can flare up when the body’s ability to maintain itself is weakened. Burning sensation and redness at the site of infections are the precursor phase of herpes. This phase is quickly followed by the second phase. The second phase is when a blister filled with a clear fluid contains the virus forms. One has to be careful that the herpes does not spread to their eyes because it may cause blindness. Over a period of time, the blister will crust over, dry up, and disappear, and the virus will travel to the base of an affected nerve supplying the area and become dormant. Genital herpes is serious to pregnant women because the baby can be infected as its passes through the vagina during birth. Women with a history of genital herpes appear to have a greater risk of developing cervical cancer. Diagnosis involves a blood test or analyzing a sample forms the suspected sore. There is no cure for herpes. However, certain drugs can be used to treat symptoms. Acyclovir and over-the-counter medication such as Abrea will help the keep the disease from spreading. However, most drugs only seem to work if the infection is confirmed during the first few hours after contact. Famciclovir may reduce viral shedding between outbreaks, possibly reducing risks to sexual partners.
  • Syphilis- bacterium, Treponema palladium. Highest in adults ages 20 to 39. Its known as the “great imitator”, its resembles other infections.
  • Genital Warts/ Human Papillomavirus (HPV)- over 100 different types of HPV. More than 40 types are sexually transmitted.

Acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDs) is a global health threat. The virus that causes AIDs is known as human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). Here are ways that HIV is transmitted to an individual. High-risk behaviors of contracting HIV/AIDS are exchanging of body fluids and injecting drugs. Exchanging of body fluids is the greatest risk factor. The exchange of HIV-infected body fluids during vaginal or anal intercourse. Blood, semen, and vaginal secretions are the major fluids of concern. Injecting drugs is the big percentage of AIDS cases in the U.S. This is from sharing or using HIV-contaminated needles and syringes. Illegal drugs are most common use for needles, however people with diabetes who inject insulin can also be affected if the needles are not clean or have been used. Ways to reduce the transmission of HIV/AIDS are use a condom when having sex, if getting a tattoo makes sure the place is clean uses sterilization procedures, never share needles, and make sure everything that is used like needles, piercing tools are all sterilized.

Enters the body of a person who has been infected by HIV. The infected person’s body fluids, semen, vaginal secretions, and blood, often get through a break in the mucous membranes of the genital organs or the anus. Other ways that HIV can be transmitted is uses dirty needles; either by injecting drugs, going to a dirty tattoo parlor or body piercing place, or an infected mother can pass it to their child through labor and delivery or breast-feeding.

This chapter relates to my health aspect by eating clean foods to help keep diseases away, like colds and flus. I have been doing ok. I have gotten back on track after Thanksgiving. It was a little bit difficult. I tried my best, but I LOVE stuffing and it’s hard for me not to a couple of helpings. I went back to my trainer today, boy did she kick my butt! Boy did I need a butt kicking. I have not been to the gym for a week. Happy to report I am back on the stick!

Here is a picture of me and one of the pup pups I dog sit for. She loves giving kisses!




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