What Is Leprosy? Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis, Treatment, and Prevention

For centuries, leprosy was considered a highly contagious and dangerous disease that killed only and only bad people – who were unlucky and cursed. People with leprosy were evicted and left to live in solitude. (1)

While leprosy and some of the unfortunate emotions surrounding it (also called Hansen’s disease) have faded, there is still a lot of confusion and misinformation about the ancient condition. For example, in the non-false state of the state, many people have the misconception that leprosy is a disease of the past. And the term leprosy is still widely used in our vocabulary because it is extremely offensive to the hundreds of thousands of people affected by the disease. (2) The legendary Gray Scale in the HBO hit drama Game of Thrones may also be based on old ideas about the disease.

Increased Confusion: The term leprosy in the Bible is not leprosy as we know it today. According to a 2015 report in the journal Clinics in Dermatology, biblical leprosy refers to the condition of the skin, but also “the condition of formal impurity” and the punishment for sins. The real meaning of leprosy was lost somewhere in the translation. (3)

What Is Leprosy and Does It Still Exist?

Despite some long-standing lies, the medical community now understands that leprosy is a chronic and progressive infectious disease caused by a slow-growing bacterium called Mycobacterium leprae. The bacterium attacks the skin, eyes, lining of the nose, and peripheral nerves (nerves outside the brain and spinal cord). Every two minutes, another person is diagnosed with leprosy worldwide, and about 150 people in the United States are diagnosed with leprosy each year. (2)

Most people with leprosy suffer from skin lesions and peripheral neuropathy, which means that the nerves in the hands and feet have difficulty working. And while leprosy is a contagious disease, but not as close as previously thought, it means that infected people never need to be isolated. (4)

Signs and Symptoms of Leprosy

There are usually no immediate symptoms of leprosy that indicate that you have been infected with Mycobacterium leprae. Instead, it can take at least a year for symptoms to develop, with most people only showing signs of leprosy for five to seven years after contracting the disease. (5)

In general, leprosy affects the skin (through rashes, sores and lumps) and the peripheral nerves. Numbness of skin spots, loss of sensation in the hands and feet, and muscle weakness are all symptoms of high nerve endings. The symptoms of leprosy usually depend on how far the disease has progressed. In some severe cases, where leprosy is not treated in a timely manner, stigma and blindness can occur. ()) The review of many symptoms of leprosy includes:

Blemishes on the skin usually appear on the arms, legs or back. They can be darker or lighter than normal skin, or slightly red. (2) They do not burn or hurt, but may increase and form nodules. (1)
Hair loss can lead to skin blemishes, (2) and eyebrows or eyelashes. (6)
Numbness and tingling will make the skin spots feel numb. Feelings of deprivation can also occur in the hands, fingers, toes or fingers. Sometimes conflict arises. (1)
Injury to the extremity can increase the chances of injury by losing sensation due to irritation, cuts, and destructive pressure on the hands and feet. (1)
Muscle weakness can be experienced in the hands and feet. (6)
Dry, cracked skin (1)
If the cancerous fingers are not treated for leprosy symptoms, the small muscles in the hands may become paralyzed, and the fingers and toes may rotate. (2)
Foot ulcers can occur on the soles of the feet. (6)
Eye Diseases If the disease has spread to the facial nerves, the reflex may be lost in the blink of an eye, which can lead to cataracts, ulcers and even blindness. (2)
Facial Disorders If left untreated, bacteria can enter the mucous membranes of the nose, causing internal blemishes that can break the nose. (2)
Sexually transmitted diseases in people with high leprosy can lead to severe leprosy and infertility. (7)

Causes and Risk Factors of Leprosy

Mycobacterium leprae is a slowly growing bacterium behind leprosy. If a person’s immune response to the bacterium is weakened – or not at all – Mycobacterium leprae can spread to the skin, kidney nerves and sometimes deeper tissues. ()) Fortunately, more than 95% of people worldwide are naturally protected from Mycobacterium leprae, so they cannot cure leprosy. Although this fact makes leprosy a rare disease, in 2016 more than 214,700 new cases of leprosy were reported worldwide. () They include the highest risk of contracting leprosy.

People living in high-risk areas In 2017, most new cases of leprosy were in Africa and Asia, including, but not limited to, high-risk nations, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, Madagascar, Mozambique, Nigeria. , Bangladesh, India, Philippines and Sri Lanka. Brazil, which is not particularly in Africa or Asia, is also considered a high-risk nation. (8)
Gene Sensitivity It is thought that people with leprosy have genes that become infected once they are exposed. ()) Leprosy is more likely to occur in families, but the nature of the inheritance is not yet known. (4)
In children they are more susceptible to leprosy than in adults. (9)
People with weakened immune systems are more likely to develop leprosy in people with chronic diseases such as diabetes, HIV, or heart disease. (5)

Treatment and Medication Options for Leprosy

Yes. Leprosy is actually a highly treatable – and even curable – disease, especially when diagnosed before the permanent damage to the nerve is done. Leprosy is usually caused by a combination of two or three antibiotics, including axon (dopson), rifadine or remictin (rifampin), and lymphene (calfazimen). (7)

This action plan, called Multidrug Therapy (MDT), is proposed to help prevent antibiotic resistance. After just a few doses – usually given at home – people become non-infectious. (1,2) From start to finish, treatment can last between six months and several years. ()) But only one skin lesion can be treated with a single dose of antibiotics. Unlike in the past, when quarantine was given, lepers today do not need solitude. (1)

Complications of Leprosy

Half of all people with leprosy react to multidrug therapy. These reactions may include pain and swelling in the skin and nerves, fever, muscle aches, and pain and redness in the eyes. (2) This type of reaction, however, does not mean that the disease is progressing or that the medication is not working. Instead, they are a sign that multidrug therapy is succeeding: these symptoms are a physiological reaction to the now dead Mycobacterium leprae in the system. (It can take years for the body to completely rid itself of all dead bacteria.)

Some people experience these reactions even before they start multidrug therapy. In these cases, the body is reacting to bacteria that have been killed by its own resistance. The duration of the reaction. Or may remain closed, and (1) reactions may vary depending on the type of leprosy. For example:

People with paucibacillaryleprosy may experience type 1 reactions or reactions, including swelling or reddening of pre-existing lesions. (12)
People with multibacillary leprosy may experience type 2 reaction or erythema nodum leprosy (ENL), (12) which is characterized by fever. Standing, red, painful skin noodles. And possible nervous pain and tenderness. (There may be joint problems, swelling in the eyes, and inflammation of the testicles.) (1)
People of Mexican descent can experience something called Lucio’s manifestation. This is a rare reaction that involves hard-to-cure ulcers, affecting people with chronic leprosy. (12)
Whether the reaction is experienced before or after MDT, it is important to treat them immediately, as it increases the chances of nerve damage to the eyes, hands and feet. Some reactions can be counteracted with antidepressants, such as aspirin or telenol (acetaminophen), while others require a prescription for prednisone or thalidomide. (1)

What Is Leprosy?
What Is Leprosy?

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