Most commonly seen in limbs and male genitalia, Elephantiasis is a disease that causes the thickening of skin and the underlying tissues, causing the affected body parts to swell to abnormally large sizes. The disease is carried by microscopic, parasitic worms transferred by mosquitoes. Once present in the body, a chain of reactions can lead to the lymph system to shutting down, causing the swelling characteristic of the disease.
There is no cure, per se, for Elephantitis, nor is there a vaccine currently available. Treatments include prescription drugs, rigorous washing of the affected ares, binding in elastic bandages, and in some cases, surgery.
Flesh Eating Disease
Clinically known as necrotizing fasciitis, the flesh eating disease is an infection that travels across the subcutaneous tissues and lower layers of skin, destroying the healthy tissues as it spreads. The disease typically affects those with already compromised immune systems (those debilitated with cancer or other chronic diseases) and is caused by organisms normally found on the skin.
Treatment early on in the infection is largely guesswork, with antibiotics being administered as soon as there is suspicion of the disease. A high incident of suspicion will lead to surgery and, in extreme cases, amputation.
Improper oral health is to blame for the most common forms of gingivitis, the destruction of the gums due to the presence of bacterial plaque and the body's response to it. When the reaction proves calamitous, bleeding, redness, soreness, and halitosis (bad breath) can all occur in the mouth.
Clinically known as Harlequin Ichthyosis, this severe genetic disorder, which mainly affects the skin, is only found amongst infants. The most common cause of death is systemic infection, and sufferers rarely survive for more than a few days.
The skin develops hard, diamond-shaped keratin scales all over the body, inhibiting the baby's movement. Where skin should fold, it hardens and cracks instead, leaving the baby vulnerable to fatal infections. Additionally, most babies born with Harlequin Ichthyosis are deformed, their body parts being underdeveloped or not existing at all.
There have, however, been improvements in care, most notably the drug Isotretinoin (Isotrex). Some patients have survived into adolescence and, in very rare cases, lived to adulthood.
Liver disease just makes life awful. There are several common varieties (Hepatitis, Fatty Liver Disease, and Cirrhosis, to name a few), which can cause indigestion, reflux, gallstones, hemorroroids, nausea, bloating, constipation, and alcohol intolerance. Aside from the physical effects, there are psychological effects resulting from liver disease that can include depression, headaches, and mood changes.
Treatments include steroid-based therapy, reduction of alcohol consumption, and improving diet and quality of physical activity.
Though an uncommon affliction in the first world (save for dieters desperate to lose weight), a tapeworm infection takes place in the digestive tract where the worm can cause symptoms of indigestion, diarrhea, loss of appetite, and sometimes anemia. Tapeworms are generally treated with one dose of medication, though the worst part of a tapeworm infection is when it is taken out whole, and you see the giant parasite that's been living in your intestine.
Legions and sores are the most common visible symptoms of the herpes virus, which can be present in both the oral and genital regions. Most commonly passed by contact with a sore or through the bodily fluid of an infected person, there is no cure for the disease, which oscillates between active and remission states.
Approximately 95% of people are naturally immune to leprosy, which appears to spread person-to-person by nasal droplets. It is most common in places where living conditions are considered poor and substandard. Skin legions are the first signs of the affliction which, left untreated, can cause permanent damage to the eyes and limbs of the body.
Passed by eye, nose, and throat secretions from affected individuals, Trachoma presents itself as white nodules under the eyelid which, if untreated, can cause the eyelid to turn itself into the eye in which the lashes grow directly into the eye, scratching the cornea and causing eye damage and possible blindness. The affliction can also be passed through inanimate items that have come in contact with fro-mites (carriers of the disease), such as towels, tissues, and cloth.
In most cases, a single dose of antibiotics can be administered to treat the condition, while other cases require surgery to correct the position of the eyelid.
Ringworm is not actually caused by a worm, but by a fungal infection that can affect numerous places on the body, including the feet (athlete's foot), hands, legs, face, and groin. The fungus thrives in moist, warm areas such as pools, locker rooms, and folds of the skin. It can also be transferred via towels, clothing, and sports equipment. The condition is treated most commonly with an anti-fungal ointment, with oral medications administered in more extreme cases.
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