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Various Types of Diarrheal Diseases

Apr 07, 2017

Various Types of Diarrheal Diseases

Diarrheais the condition of having at least three loose or liquid bowel movements each day. Diarrhea may be secretory, exudative, osmotic, inflammatory, and dysentery. In secretory diarrhea there is little or no structural damage with an active increase in secretion, or a decrease in absorption. The most common cause is cholera. Osmotic diarrhea is caused due to excessive water absorption into the bowels. This happens due to consumption of liquid which has excessive sugar or salt. Osmotic diarrhea may also happen due to celiac disease of diseases of pancreas or osmotic laxatives. In healthy people, excessive magnesium/vitamin C/ lactose malabsorbtion/fructose malabsorbption can cause osmotic diarrhea. Exudative diarrhea happens due to Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis or E.Coli infections or food poisoning. It is characterized by existence of pus and blood in the stool. Inflammatory diarrhea is caused due to damage of the mucosal lining or brush border which results in loss of proteins and disturbed absorption of fluids. It is usually caused by viral, bacterial and autoimmune diseases like inflammatory bowel disease or tuberculosis or cancer, or parasitic infections. Dysentery or blood in stool is caused due to shigella/ salmonella/ entamoebahystolytica infection.

Open defecation is a leading cause of diarrheal diseases and may even lead to death. Dwelling in poorcrowded housing, dirty floors, and lack of clean water or to sanitary disposal of fecal waste, cohabitation with domestic animals carrying human pathogens, a lack of refrigerated food can cause diarrhea. Zinc deficiency or vitamin A deficiency may cause diarrhea especially in children.

Improvements in drinking water and sanitation, habit of hand washing, avoiding open defecation, and immunization against diarrheal pathogens, breast feeding in babies, vitamin A/zinc supplementation, and use of probiotics are steps to prevent diarrheal diseases. 

Various studies have been conducted on diarrheal diseases and prevention. a recent meta-analysis of showed that  improving water supply and sanitation results in 22–27% reduction in incidence diarrheal diseases and  21–30% reduction in mortality rate . Also hand washing, using soap and water reduces the incidence of disease by about 42 to 48%.

Disclaimer: The information given in this write-up is purely for educating the reader. It is not meant to be a substitute for any advice from a medical expert.

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