The most common cause of disease is via microorganisms that contain pathogens. There are four types of pathogen: bacterium, virus, fungi and protozoa. The pathogen enters the body from the outside environment through the gas-exchange system, the digestive system, or through breaks in the skin. These pathogens then have two ways of causing disease inside the body; it may damage tissue, by overwhelming and preventing functioning, or by breaking down the membrane of cells. Or the pathogen may release toxins that have an adverse effect on the body. A common example of a toxin producing bacterium, would be Cholera. Cholera is transmitted by ingesting water or food that contain the bacteria; once a bacterium gets to the small intestine, it buries itself within the mucus lining of the intestine wall, and beings releasing toxic proteins. The toxin attaches to two separate things, one being the carbohydrate receptors on the cell surface membrane of the epithelial cells, and the other part actually enters the epithelial cells. The toxin makes the ion channels of the epithelial cell open, causing ions to enter the intestine. There is therefore a loss of chloride ions in the cells, increasing their water potential, and an increase in chloride ions in the intestine, lowering its water potential; water then moves from the cells to the intestine, causing dehydration and diarrhoea, the two common symptoms of Cholera.
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... get older and will become cancerous.
Other diseases can also be caused by faults with genetics. For example, it is common for people to inherit autoimmunity from their parents. This is the common cause of Type 1 Diabetes. The faulty immune system makes antibodies that attack the insulin making cells within the pancreas, therefore meaning blood sugar levels cannot be controlled.
Genetics are incredibly important to us and our health, and sort of fault with them can be problematic for us and potentially cause debilitating diseases.
As science has continued to develop we have learnt the causes of most diseases, all of which fit into the categories above. However, there are some that remain unknown to us. It is thought that the unknowns will also fit into these categories, but until actual scientific evidence is found, some causes will have to remain unknown to us.
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