Sunday, August 31

What is malaria disease? - Definition of malaria

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Nutrition, Health & Wellness

What is malaria disease?
Malaria immunity What is malaria disease - Malaria definition

What is malaria disease?

Malaria is a vector-borne life-threatening infectious disease. It is caused by protozoan parasites from the Plasmodium family and spread by the mosquito of the genus Anopheles. Individuals with the disease have repeated bouts of high fever, chills, shivering and flu-like symptoms. According to the World Health Organization, in 2012 an estimated 207 million clinical cases of malaria occurred worldwide resulting in 627,000 deaths.

The disease is mosquito-borne and can only be transmitted from an affected person to another healthy person by mosquito bite. In some rare cases improperly sterilized injection needles had spread the infection. Malaria disease predominantly affects the red blood cells. The parasites enter the erythrocytes for their growth process. After undergoing development and asexual multiplication, they cause the death of the infected host cell and re-enter the bloodstream to infect more cells. Plasmodium species, P. falciparum, P. vivax, P. ovale and P. malariae are known to affect and infect.

The babies of pregnant women affected by this infection, have low birth weight and decreased survivability.
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Prompt diagnosis and treatment, can cure the disease. A malaria relapse is always possible as the parasite may not get totally eradicated and remain dormant in the liver to get reactivated after months or even years. Vaccines for the infection have been developed and are undergoing trials.
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Malaria definition

image of an Anopheles stephensi mosquito
Image of malaria vector
Anopheles stephensi mosquito
Definition by "It is defined as a serious infectious disease spread by certain mosquitoes. It is most common in tropical climates. It is characterized by recurrent symptoms of chills, fever, and an enlarged spleen."
Definition by "An infectious disease caused by protozoan parasites from the Plasmodium family that can be transmitted by the bite of the Anopheles mosquito or by a contaminated needle or transfusion."
Definition by "a serious disease that causes chills and fever and that is passed from one person to another by the bite of mosquitoes."
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The recorded * history of malaria dates back to circa 1323 BC. DNA analysis conducted in 2010 showed the presence of malaria in King Tutankhamun (ruled ca. 1332 BC – 1323 BC), an Egyptian pharaoh. The * life cycle of malaria parasite passes through two hosts. When an Anopheles mosquito ingests the blood of an infected person, the gametocytes of the parasite enter the mosquito's stomach and go through various stages to form sporozoites. The infected mosquito transmits the disease to a new human host.

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Image source:
Image author:Jim Gathany, CDC.
Image license: Public domain
Current topic in health and fitness tips: What is malaria disease and its definition.

Saturday, August 23

Smoking? - Major diseases caused by smoking cigarettes

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Nutrition, Health & Wellness

Major diseases caused by smoking cigarettes
Quit smoking - major diseases are caused by smoking cigarettes.
Quit smoking. One of the causes of many life-threatening diseases is smoking. Cigarette smoking causes,initiates or promotes chronic obstructive pulmonary diseases (COPD), many types of cancers and cardiovascular Diseases. Even after quitting smoking, the risk of lung cancer may persist for more than 10 years. Cigarette smoke contains hundreds of toxic chemicals. It also contains nearly 70 carcinogens (cause cancer), including arsenic, vinyl chloride and 1,3–butadiene. People usually start smoking cigarettes in their teens just for the heck of it or under peer pressure.

How does smoking become an addiction?

Cigarette smoking becomes an addiction in a very short period of time. Nicotine is the known addictive chemical in cigarettes. Search is still going on for finding other possible addictive substances in the cigarette. Nicotine, a naturally occurring chemical found in tobacco is as addictive as heroin or cocaine.

Nicotine reaches the brain within seconds from the starting of smoking. Nicotine affects the chemistry of brain and the smoker develops physical and psychological dependence.
major diseases are caused by smoking cigarettes
1.diseases caused by smoking
However the effect wears off within a few minutes after putting out the cigarette. The withdrawal symptoms start and the craving for nicotine makes the person to light up again. Treating withdrawal symptoms is much easier than facing life-threatening diseases.

Smoking caused diseases

There is an awareness in the population that smoking can cause many health problems.
Many still continue to light up cigarettes because they do not know the severity of the health hazards. Smoking cigarette does not just end you up with sore throat and cough. Several fatal and devastating diseases will be the outcome of this harmful habit.

Smoking caused malignancy and cancers

Smoking significantly increases the lifetime risk of developing cancer. The direct contact with carcinogenic chemicals in the cigarette, their fumes and heat from cigarette cause mutations in the genes and growth of malignant cells in the oral cavity. The cancers of the oral cavity, including those affecting lips, tongue, floor of the oral cavity, insides of the cheeks and gum, are common among the smoking population.

The carcinogens in the cigarettes find their way into lungs while inhaling and can also cross the tissue barrier and get circulated to other parts of the body. This unfortunate habit can also induce other type of cancers such as:
  • Laryngeal carcinoma
  • Pharyngeal Cancer
  • Pulmonary carcinoma
  • Esophageal cancer
  • nasal cancer
  • Stomach cancer
  • Acute myeloid leukemia

Smoking caused cardiovascular diseases

These are diseases of the cardiovascular system which affect the heart and major and minor blood vessels.
Nicotine in the cigarette increases the level of LDL (bad cholesterol) leading to clogging, narrowing and hardening of the arteries. The narrowing of arteries is atherosclerosis. Cigarette smoking can cause accumulation of degenerative material in the inner layer of arterial walls, known an atheroma. The deposits in the blood vessels can narrow down and close the passage altogether and the disease is known as thrombosis. The clogged blood vessels can affect the individual's function depending upon the blood vessel involved and the degree of obstruction.

Arterial thrombosis, the formation of a thrombus in an artery, and atheroma can cause diseases like coronary thrombosis, cerebral thrombosis, myocardial infarction (heart attack), stroke, abdominal aortic aneurysm and pulmonary embolism. Thrombosis can affect the veins. Venous thrombosis affecting deep veins (femoral veins), portal veins, renal veins, jugular veins, hepatic vein, subclavian vein and dural venous sinuses may cause many vascular diseases.

Respiratory diseases

This harmful habit causes many non cancerous diseases of the respiratory system.
Oral cancer induced by smoking
2.smoking caused oral cancer

The fumes from the burning cigarette can irritate the lining of the lungs and can damage alveoli (air sacs). The fumes also kill the the cilia, hair-like structures present in the lining of the trachea which are involved in the cleaning of the air passage. The air passages may also narrow down due to thickening of the passages and accumulation of mucus. Lung function also gets regressed and hampered by smoking cigarettes. Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), chronic cough, chronic bronchitis and emphysema (a degenerative disease) develop and progress into severity. About 50% of the people diagnosed with COPD die within ten years.

Prenatal and postnatal diseases caused by smoking

Nicotine, toxic fumes and other chemicals inhaled by the mother get passed on to the fetus through placenta and cause decreased fetal growth, premature births, abruptio placentae (placental abruption) and low birth weight.
Maternal cigarette smoking is found to have caused miscarriages, stillbirths and death of the baby during birth. Nursing mothers addicted to this habit can pass on harmful chemicals to the infants. It also found that maternal cigarette use can contribute to sudden infant death syndrome.

Impotence due to cigarette smoking

Smoking cigarettes causes erectile dysfunction (impotence) as the blood vessels get narrowed and sufficient blood supply is not maintained for erection.

Passive smoking

When one or both the parents are habituated to cigarette smoking, other nonsmoking members in the family undergo passive smoking. The family members, especially children are affected with respiratory diseases. They may also be affected by the fatal diseases, depending upon the amount and frequency of inhaled fumes.

This harmful habit also increases the risk factor for developing autoimmune diseases, type 2 diabetes, osteoporosis and loss of bone mass.

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Image:1: Diseases caused by smoking cigarettes
License:Public domain.
Image 2: Oral cancer - a disease caused by smoking
Image source:
Image author: Bionerd | License: CC BY 3.0.
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1.Prabhat Jha, Richard Peto. Global Effects of Smoking, of Quitting, and of Taxing Tobacco. N Engl J Med 2014; 370:60-68 January, 2014.
2.Joshi V, Matthews C, Aspiras M, de Jager M, Ward M, Kumar P. Smoking decreases structural and functional resilience in the subgingival ecosystem. J Clin Periodontol. 2014 Aug 19. doi: 10.1111/jcpe.12300.
3.Kalucka S. Consequences of passive smoking in home environment. Przegl Lek. 2007;64(10):632-41.
Current topic in health and fitness tips: major diseases are caused by smoking cigarettes.