09 Nov 2011

Sample Essay: Genetic Disease: Elephantiasis

Elephantiasis is noted to have been researched to come from particular condition caused by parasitic worms. Often following the infection comes the thickening of the skin and the tissues found usually in the legs and private genitals. The inflammation of the body parts are considered to be caused by extensive infection that continues to affect the areas that have already been under attack by the parasitic worms. The parasitic worms usually come from being bitten by an infected mosquito. Most often than not, the parasites include round worms and nematodes. These worms often inhabit the lymphatic vessels that makes it impossible for the inability of the said body part to function well which makes it impossible to drain the extremities that have been affected by the infection. There are two particular types of elephantiasis:

(a) Lymphatic filariasis [which is characterized by the infection of the lymphatic area] and

(b) nonfilariar elephantiasis [which is noted to be common among members of the African society due to their regular contact with the volcano ash. As of now, the main target of this ailment is the African society and the Southeast Asian residents. These particular facts impose on the idea that both the genetic sources of the ailment and the incurring course of effect that the red soil has on African individuals who are in direct contact of the said substance.

Symptoms

Most often than not, elephantiasis affects the lower extremities of the body, other infections occur in the upper extremities but this is less likely to happen. It usually depends on what particular worm entered the body. The symptoms often start with skin rashes and abdominal pain due to the occurrence of worms deeply dwelling within the tissues. Usually, enlargement of the genital areas specifically mark the onset of elephantiasis. The occurrence of fever and chills and the mere feeling of being unwell due to the inner inflammation of the parts of the body that are infected. (Price, 1974)

Causes

The inflammation is adapted to have been explained by the occurrence of the infection and the actual fight that the immune system is putting up against the infection. However, due to the deep effect of the worm’s impact on the areas affected, the inflammation may affect other areas of the body therefore spreading the impact of the medical situation. The weakness of the immune system further creates a chance for the infection to move further. The death of the issues further makes it hard to work especially on the part of the function of of the lymphatic node. The blockage caused by the infection causes the release of the infectious substance to be released out of the system. With this occurrence, obstruction of the flow of blood supply also happens making the affected area slowly die of function.

On the other end, when it comes to the occurrence of the African elephantiasis, it is assumed that such matter is caused by the red soil coming from the volcano  which the African society usually gets in contact with as they walk barefoot along the said type of soil. The particles of the soil gets lodged in the lymphatic tissues therefor irritating the entire system. With this streptococcal infection could also be sourced out from.

Another cause of elephantiasis is the genetic disorder which is more known as the hereditary lymphedema. The symptoms of this particular ailment comes the same as that of the regular elephantiasis. The underdevelopment of the lymph vessels often create the blockage opening the doors to the occurrence of inflammation within the said vessels.

Prevention

As of now, only the course of identifying the development of research on elephantiasis is considered to be the source of an ideal form of prevention. Increasing knowledge about this ailment hence equipping the people with the idea on when to be checked for early diagnosis is exposed as the most effective source of prevention. Other than this, no vaccinations have been developed yet which means that it is only the occurrence of careful consideration upon one’s health that could protect one from incurring the ailment.

Ones the ailment has already been developed, it is strongly advised that constant cleaning and of the area infected be imposed so as to prevent the distribution of the infection to other parts of the body. Like other ailments, it is also considered that early diagnosis of the disease could be the course taken into consideration hence lessening the health dilemma that   shall affect the individual already suffering from the ailment. Preventing the infection from spreading is the primary course of defense that doctors suggest so as not to further deepen the effect of the said ailment on the individual.

Treatments and Therapies

During the onset of the ailment, it is best that early diagnosis be served. At the first stage of the infection, antibiotics could be prescribed by the doctors. The most common form of antibiotic suggested by doctors is doxycycline. This further kills the bactria that lives within the worms which means that the treatment affects the operational function of the foreign substances from the roots of the problem. This then slows down the growth of the worms likely weakening the capability of the worms to reproduce. Another possible prescription could include albendazole which is a combination of diethylcarbamazine and ivermectin. This medication is directed towards killing the spreading young worms that are expected to be released by the old worms which are likely the ones spreading in the affected area. These medications however cannot kill the full grown worms hence making it hard for completely stopping the disease from spreading.

In more serious cases, standard therapies could include chemo therapy which are designed to attack the adult worms hence serving as a symptomatic treatment that could repair the damage that the infection has already caused in the decay of the different parts of the body. Revitalizing the immune system through killing the foreign elements in the system could further increase the capability of the body to fight the effects of the impending infection from the worms. Along with the therapy comes the implication of applying medication that supports the process.

During the current years of further researching on the development of therapies that could provide more effective support for the need of the suffering patients to recover from the matter, it has been realized that a particular consideration on massage therapy could alleviate certain developmental progression of the infection. Strengthening the muscles of the infected area apparently also improves the process of protection that the lymphatic vessels establish against the impending effects of the worms in the system (Desta, et al, 2003).

Conclusive Implications of Research

The manner by which elephantiasis develops is specifically dependent on how one considers good hygiene. Prevention as always is better than cure and the same thing applies with the case of elephantiasis. Avoiding genetically passing on the medical case starts from the need of parents to be specifically concerned about how they deal with their hygiene. No matter what sort of elephantiasis is being avoided, it is important to consider proper hygiene and if in case the ailment’s symptoms have already been identified, early diagnosis and treatment could help in reducing the course of dilemma that the ailment puts the sufferer in.

References:

Desta K, Ashine M, Davey G (2003). “Prevalence of podoconiosis (endemic non-filarial elephantiasis) in Wolaitta, Southern Ethiopia”.Trop Doct 2: 217–220.

Price EW (1974). “The relationship between endemic elephantiasis of the lower legs and the local soils and climate. A study in Wollamo District, Southern Ethiopia“.Trop Geogr Med 32:26–230.

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