There are many diseases and illnesses that affect various forms of life. Right from disruptive bacteriophages to carcinogenic agents that cause cancers, diseases are all around us.
Some diseases are even caused by organisms that live inside us – called parasites. These can be as minuscule as a tick, or a tapeworm taller than a man. Diseases which specifically affect humans are a cause for concern as it has the potential to wipe us out from the face of the earth. Following are some devastating diseases you should know about:
Cardiovascular Disease (CVD)
Cardiovascular diseases are one of the deadliest diseases in the world. In fact, it is now the leading cause of death, accounting for more than 17 million deaths worldwide. Cardiovascular diseases include all diseases that affect the heart and blood vessels. In developing countries such as India, stroke and heart disease are the primary cause of death among adult women and men. Most cardiovascular diseases have been contracted as a result of adopting an unhealthy and sedentary lifestyle. Smoking is also considered as a significant risk factor for cardiovascular diseases as it increases the levels of blood clotting factors, especially fibrinogen.
Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)
Abbreviated as COPD, it is a group of long term progressive lung diseases that makes the process of breathing quite difficult. Emphysema and chronic bronchitis are one of the most common COPD. One of the most significant risk factors of COPD is smoking and second-hand smoke. Moreover, a history of respiratory illnesses during childhood can also increase the risk of COPD. Exposure to toxic chemical fumes that act as lung irritants can also increase the risk of COPD. Unfortunately, there is no cure for COPD, but its effects can be controlled through medication. Furthermore, one of the most effective ways to prevent COPD is to stop smoking and avoid exposure to second-hand smoke. COPD will also drastically increase the risk of developing lung cancer. It can also hamper the treatment of the diseases, thereby increasing the mortality rate.
Parasitic diseases are infectious diseases caused by parasites. However, most parasites typically do not cause diseases as it may kill the host, consequently leading to the death of the parasite itself. There are many organisms capable of causing parasitic diseases, sometimes the organisms themselves do not cause diseases, but the toxins they secrete do affect the host. Filariasis is one such parasitic disease caused by worm-like organisms called nematodes. Most filariasis symptoms manifest themselves as highly swollen, fluid-filled limbs. Nematodes are also responsible for causing a grotesque form of this disease, called the heartworm disease. The name of the disease hints the organ it affects – the heart. Fortunately, heartworm disease is more prevalent in pets rather than humans. Animals such as dogs are particularly prone to the disease. However, there have been cases where humans were diagnosed with the disease.
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