Monday, May 07, 2018 by Michelle Simmons
Also known as Hansen’s disease, leprosy is an infectious disease that is caused by the bacterium Mycobacterium leprae. The bacteria multiplies very slowly. A person with the disease undergoes incubation for an average period of five years. Leprosy is believed to be spread by droplet from the mouth or nose of severely affected people. Contrary to popular belief, leprosy is not particularly contagious. In fact, about 95 percent of the world’s population are naturally immune, and even after chronic exposure, will not contract the disease.
There are two common forms of leprosy: tuberculoid and lepromatous, which is more severe and causes large lumps and bumps. This disease is common in a lot of countries, and in temperate, tropical, and subtropical climates. Around 100 cases each year are diagnosed in the U.S.
The known side effects of leprosy include skin lesions, muscle weakness, and numbness in the hands, arms, feet, and legs. The skin lesions have decreased sensation to touch, temperature, or pain. In addition, they are lighter than the normal skin tone, and do not heal after a few weeks. If diagnosis and treatment are delayed, leprosy can result in serious complications. These can include disfigurement, hair loss, particularly on the eyebrows and eyelashes, muscle weakness, permanent nerve damage in the arms and legs, inability to use the hands and feet, chronic nasal congestion, nosebleeds, and collapse of the nasal septum, iritis, glaucoma, blindness, erectile dysfunction and infertility, and kidney failure.
The body systems harmed by leprosy are the immune and nervous systems, which leads to significant disfigurement. The bacteria that cause leprosy particularly attack macrophages, which are parts of the immune system, and Schwann cells, which are support cells for the nervous system.
There is no information on what foods prevent leprosy. Instead, the best ways to prevent leprosy include avoiding contact with bodily fluids from and the rash on infected people, and avoiding contact with armadillos.
Treatments for leprosy involve the use of antibiotics and with other medicines. People affected by the disease should also closely look out for possible injuries in their hands and feet, as they may go unnoticed for the loss of sensation. Ulcers or tissue damage can result, which lead to skin infections and disability. Proper footwear and injury prevention should also be encouraged when managing the disease. Leprosy patients are also advised to eat foods rich in vitamins A, C, D, E, B-vitamins, zinc, and calcium.
Leprosy, also known as Hansen’s disease, is an infectious disease caused by the bacterium Mycobacterium leprae.
Leprosy primarily causes skin lesions, muscle weakness, and numbness in the hands, arms, feet, and legs.
Leprosy can lead to disfigurement, hair loss, particularly on the eyebrows and eyelashes, muscle weakness, permanent nerve damage in the arms and legs, inability to use the hands and feet, chronic nasal congestion, nosebleeds, and collapse of the nasal septum, iritis, glaucoma, blindness, erectile dysfunction and infertility, and kidney failure.
Leprosy mainly affects the immune and nervous systems.
Leprosy treatments include medications, proper footwear and injury prevention, and a healthy diet.
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