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Health & Diseases

Biological war and Biodefense Biological war and Biodefense Biological warfare is the use of biological toxins or infectious agents such as bacteria, viruses, and fungi with intent to kill or incapacitate humans, animals or plants as an act of war. Biodefense involves medical measures to protect people against biological agents producing medicines and vaccinations from bioterrorist attacks. In this chapter, we explore different types of diseases that are common to humans.

Learning Objectives

After completing the topic, the student will be able to:

  • Define the terms Health, Disease and identify the different causes of diseases.
  • Assess symptoms to diagnose common bacterial and viral diseases.
  • Classify some of the common diseases of humans.
  • List some of the examples of infectious and non–infectious diseases.
  • Describe some of the bacterial, protozoan and viral diseases with their precautions.
  • Define the term "vaccines" and explore how vaccines provide long–term protection against infectious disease.
  • Apply and analyze the tools used to diagnose the common diseases.
  • Evaluate the management and treatment plans for patients infected with HIV.
  • Predict the causative agents for some of the common infectious diseases.
  • Identify early detection of disease and implement the better preventive measures of that particular disease.
Balanced diet for good health Balanced diet for good health Fresh fruit and vegetables should make up the largest part of the diet, followed by carbohydrates, proteins and dairy products. Fats and sugars should make up the smallest part of the diet. Oily fish such as the sardines and salmon seen here are a rich source of vitamins A, D and B6. Recent research has shown that fish oil in the diet can reduce the risk of heart disease. Lentils also provide fibre and contain a large proportion of vegetable protein.

Health is a state of well–being and is essential for a Purposeful existence. "Health is wealth" aptly said reflects the importance of being healthy to lead a happy, harmonious and purposeful life with a healthy balance of the mind–body and spirit. The feeling of well being for one and all depends on social, economic and cultural environment with an understanding that well being of an individual depends on well being of all those around us. Life style which is nature friendly with love and respect for all beings ensures that we are healthy and happy. The quality of life and general well being depends on genetic factors, environment, lifestyle and health care services. Healthy habits include clean living with hygiene, nutritious food with balanced diet, exercise and play, taking time to relax, early diagnosis and treatment for any ailment.

Cells are the fundamental units of living organisms and the health of the body depends on health of the cells. The various organs of the body perform critical functions and all the activities of these organs are interconnected. The heart is beating to pump blood to all body parts, the lungs are breathing to exchange gases, the kidneys are filtering urine from blood and brain is thinking. Anything that prevents proper functioning of the cells, tissues and organs of the body will lead to a condition in which the normal functioning of the body is disturbed. Disease is a departure from normal health through structural or functional disorder of the body. Science looks at every disease to be a condition, which has a definite cause and thereby making it possible to prevent it or cure it.

Diseases are caused by infection through microorganisms, insects and parasites. Infection develops when germs/microbes (viruses) or some–pathogenic (disease–producing) organisms such as bacteria, fungi, protozoans, helminthes, nematodes enter human body. Therefore, for avoiding the infection of diseases we have to keep our environment clean and hygiene. Thus, personal hygiene and community hygiene help in the prevention and spreading of the causes of diseases. Diseases are also caused due to lack of balanced diet and hence poverty is one of the reasons for ill health affecting millions of people living in poor communities.

Health care is the prevention, treatment and management of illness and the preservation of mental and physical well being through the services offered by the medical, nursing and allied health professions. According to the World Health Organization, health care embraces all the goods and services designed to promote health, including preventive, curative and palliative interventions, whether directed to individuals or to populations.

Disease (Tuberculosis) Preventive health care measures Vaccination, Immunization, Antiseptics etc protect us from diseases.
Public health

Public health is "the science and art of preventing disease, prolonging life and promoting health through the organized efforts and informed choices of society, organizations, public and private, communities and individuals". The focus of public health intervention is to prevent rather than treat a disease through surveillance of cases and the promotion of healthy practices such as Vaccination programs.

At community level, our surroundings should be kept clean with no accumulation of garbage or stagnant water, etc., so that the disease–spreading insects and pests do not thrive. There are several preventive health care measures like vaccination and immunization, antiseptics and disinfectants to protect us from diseases. There are also several medical treatments to restore the health from a disease condition like use of medicines such as antibiotics besides surgical procedures and radiation treatments.

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