Public Health Issues

At the conclusion of Plagues and People, a magisterial account of epidemics and their impact on history, William McNeill asserts, "Infectious disease, which antedates the emergence of humankind, will last as long as humanity itself and will surely remain, as it has been hitherto, one of the fundamental parameters and determinants of human history" (McNeill, p. 291). In the mid-1970s, this observation seemed overdrawn, especially in relation to economically advanced societies, where chronic diseases had displaced infectious threats to communal well-being. Yet just five years later, McNeill's comment seemed prescient.

In June 1981, the first cases of what would ultimately be called acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) were reported by the U. S. Centers for Disease Control

(CDC). Within three years of the first CDC report, human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), the viral agent responsible for AIDS, was identified. Although those who were infected could experience a long disease-free state—50 percent remained symptom-free for up to ten years—in the end the virus attacked the immune system, resulting in a series of ultimately fatal opportunistic disorders. By the beginning of the twenty-first century, it was estimated that approximately 900,000 Americans and more than 42 million people worldwide were infected. Although found on every continent, AIDS had made its most stunning impact on Africa. Projections by the World Health Organization (WHO) forecast a grim picture, with catastrophic spread of HIV in Asia and the former Soviet Union.

Diabetes 2

Diabetes 2

Diabetes is a disease that affects the way your body uses food. Normally, your body converts sugars, starches and other foods into a form of sugar called glucose. Your body uses glucose for fuel. The cells receive the glucose through the bloodstream. They then use insulin a hormone made by the pancreas to absorb the glucose, convert it into energy, and either use it or store it for later use. Learn more...

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