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Diseases And Medical Tests

Submitted on March 27, 2012

What is a disease?

A disease refers to any anomaly or disturbance in the body's normal functioning that has identifiable symptoms and a specific cause. It could be a result of external factors or due to internal dysfunctions. In humans, the term is used to mention conditions that cause dysfunction, pain, social problems, distress, and sometimes even death to the afflicted individual. In a broader sense, the term 'disease' at times includes injuries, disorders, disabilities, infections, syndromes, deviant behaviors, isolated symptoms, and unusual variations of function and structure. Many disorders and diseases can be prevented through a number of means such as proper nutrition, sanitation, vaccinations, adequate exercise, and other public health and self-care measures.

Medical tests play a very important role in the early detection of diseases in an individual. Instead of looking for medical help once the symptoms are detected, early detection tests can help one identify the problem and decide on a course of action. Prenatal screening, for example, can help detect abnormalities in a woman and the baby, and these abnormalities can accordingly be treated. One of the most common test that doctors may recommend as part of a person's routine check-up is a blood test. Other types of tests include imaging test and genetic test.

What are the main causes of disease?

With a few exceptions, dysfunction and disease do not develop very quickly. They tend to show up slowly over many years as overt and subtle signs of health loss that are ignored by an individual. One of the quickest ways through which an individual can restore his/her well being and health is by avoiding indulging in things that may have caused the problem in the first place and providing the body with missing nutrients so that it can rebuild and restore itself to optimal health. Some of the main causes of acceleration of dysfunction and disease can be differentiated as follows:

  • Injury: There happen to be four different kinds of injuries that accelerate disease and dysfunction. These include cellular damage caused from unhealthy foods, emotional injury, repetitive or gross stress injury, and electromagnetic injury.
  • Toxicity: Exogenous and endogenous toxicity are the two main kinds of toxicity that contribute to dysfunction and disease.
  • Deficiency: Disease and dysfunction are caused when an individual is deficient in emotional and physical rest, nutrients, fresh air and sunlight, and other essentials in life.

Types of Disease

In a broad sense, disease can be categorized or differentiated as communicable and non-communicable disease. Disease can also be classified into the following categories, though one might find a great deal of overlap among the various classes.

  • Infectious diseases: Infectious disease also commonly known as communicable disease is due to the presence, infection, and growth of infectious pathogens that include bacteria, virus, multicellular parasites, protozoa, aberrant proteins, and fungi.
  • Environmental diseases: Environmental diseases are conditions and illnesses caused from certain environmental factors such as chemicals, pesticide, water pollution, air pollution, and radiation. Environmental diseases also include lifestyle diseases resulting from substance abuse such as smoking and drinking alcohol.
  • Hereditary diseases: Hereditary diseases are those that are passed on within a family from one generation to the other.
  • Physiological disease: Physiological diseases are those that involve the physical body of an individual as opposed to mental diseases.
  • Deficiency diseases: These diseases are due to a lack of certain nutrients in an individual's diet.

Tests

Medical tests refer to a type of medical procedure that helps detect, evaluate, or diagnose disease, processes vulnerability of an individual, and helps an individual as well as his/her health care providers determine the right course of treatment. Medical tests and procedures are extremely important to help diagnose a disease. It is important that one is able to detect health problems before it is too late to cure them. Some testing procedures have risks involved and may require general anesthesia. On the flip side, tests such as a pap smear or blood tests have very little risks involved. As mentioned earlier, tests are important for early detection and doctors' advice regular check-ups (including blood tests as well as imaging tests) after a certain age.

Types of Tests

There are a number of tests that are available. These tests could be specialized tests that are conducted for a particular type of disorder or a group of disorders that are related. Some other tests are generally used for a range of disorders. There are three types of tests, namely, diagnostic, screening, and evaluation.

  • Diagnostic test: A diagnostic test helps determine the presence of a disease in a person who is suspected of suffering from it. Diagnostic tests not only help a doctor decipher which therapies or treatments are most appropriate for an individual but also help monitor the effectiveness of a particular course of treatment.
  • Screening: This helps predict or detect diseases in an individual who is at a risk of getting the disease within a particular group, such as a family, workforce, or population.
  • Evaluation: This refers to medical tests that help evaluate the response of an individual to medical treatment. These tests also help monitor the course of a disease.
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