The History of Disease
Running Head: The History of Disease
The History of Disease
Disease has dated back sense the beginning of time and is one of the leading factors that have wiped out several civilizations. Diseases are abnormal changes or symptoms that occur in the body. Diseases are closely related to homeostasis because during homeostasis the body is trying to remain stable; but the disease will not allow it. In addition, disease goes hand in hand with disorders, as well as syndromes. Many diseases were discovered in fossils and are now being prevented by immunizations and several other technical advantages.
Among these fossils, signs of osteomyelitis, tuberculosis, arthritis, rickets, and bone tumors were present diseases. According to history, the early Egyptians had many remedies which they practiced to treat illness. Spells, incantations, and magic were important parts of their medicine. Many of the remedies Egyptians practiced are still used today. Egyptians are recognized as the first to practice disease systematically. Common drugs used during this era were castor oil, olive oil, opium, and saffron. Egyptians considered the heart to be the vital organ and respiration to be the most important function. The treatments used by the early Egyptian doctors were based on what they perceived as the cause of the disease. Chinese medicine also contributed to the remedies in use today. Like the Egyptians, the Chinese used magic and superstition as a part of the development of medicine in China. Over 100 remedies and the invention of the acupuncture technique was identified and credited. The Chinese used iron to treat anemia and the use of opium as a narcotic to reduce pain.
Hippocrates had a great contribution to medicine and is considered the father of medicine. He believed that the body contained four fluids or humors. The four fluids are blood, yellow, bile, phlegm, and black bile. If these humors or fluids were not in balance Hippocrates believed it could cause disease. The respect of the human body was shared by the Romans and Greeks which shared similar beliefs. Romans adopted health measurements that prevented some diseases. Marcus Terentius Varro was able to describe small creatures that were invisible to the eyes. An imperial physician by the name of Galen wanted to use dissection to prove his theories, however, the religion did not believe in this. The fall of Rome affected the scientific knowledge which caused many diseases such as the Bubonic Plague, leprosy, cholera and syphilis. During the Renaissance era, Leonardo da Vinci and Andreas Vesalius contributed to the advances in medicine. During the renaissance modern anatomy was developed and the most significant invention of the sixteenth century, the microscope, was invented.
Throughout the history of disease, new infections have suddenly appeared. Three diseases that have emerged in the past twenty years are AIDS, H1N1, and tuberculosis. Of these three emerging diseases the most rapidly growing disease is AIDS. AIDS is the final and most serious stage of HIV disease, which causes severe damage to the immune system. The first cases of AIDS were reported in 1981. Since then, this devastating infection has been found to be caused by a virus that attacks the core of the body??™s defense system. There is still no known cure for the immune deficiency that AIDS causes. However, some success of treating the drug has been met by treating the disease with drugs that stops the replication of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV).
According to statistics, AIDS is the fifth leading causes of death among people ages 25-44 in the United States. About 25 million people worldwide have died from this infection since the start of the epidemic, and in 2006, there were approximately 40 million people around the world living with HIV/AIDS. Almost all people infected with HIV, if not treated, will develop AIDS. There is a small group of patients who develop AIDS very slowly, or never at all. These patients are called nonprogressors, and many seem to have a genetic difference that prevents the virus from damaging their immune system.
Ways that the CDC and WHO are addressing the problem of emerging disease is through the objectives of the Healthy People 2010 and making sure all citizens are receiving the necessary vaccinations to help prevent the spread of these infectious diseases. Some technologies and techniques used to diagnose and treat disease today would be early detection through skin tests, blood tests, etc. For AIDS, a new technique used to detect the disease would be the 20 minute cotton swab test.
In conclusion, science has always been around and was first noticed by the arrival of diseases. Also, diseases are constantly on the rise; but if we take a look back into the past, we might be able to figure out the problems of the future. Knowing the origin of a disease or infection can help determine future outcomes of possible treatments for cures towards such diseases.
Hamann, R. (2007) Disease. The McGraw-Hill Companies, Columbus, OH
Neighbors, M., Tannehill-Jones, R. (2006) Human Diseases, Thomson Delmar Learning, Florence, KY
Goldman, L, Ausiello D., eds. Cecil Medicine. 23 ed. Philadelphia, PA: Saunders Elsevier; 2007: sect XXIV. http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/000594.htm