Bacteria, single celled microscopic organisms, are omnipresent in the universe. They live in the soil, on plants and trees, on animals and humans and are present in the atmosphere. Since they are microscopic, we cannot see them with our naked eyes and this makes us feel that bacteria can only be present where there is infection.
Bacterial infection is the cause of a vast number of diseases. Normally, a robust immune system offers adequate protection against bacterial infection. However, it is useful to have a fundamental and clear understanding of how bacterial infections and resulting diseases take place. Such knowledge is the key to knowing how to successfully treat them. Successful treatment will largely depend on early detection and diagnosis.
Bacterial infection can progress from moderate to life-threatening diseases if not detected and treated early enough. The vast majority of bacterial infections are either respiratory or gastrointestinal. Other types of commonly known bacterial infection are associated with the skin and in the urinary tract.
The normal risk factors associated with bacterial diseases are
a) Age; people over the age of 60 are particularly susceptible to respiratory tract infections.
b) Poor nutrition; affects people with a poor immune system consequent on malnutrition. These are largely people whose diets are lacking in minerals, vitamins and proper nutrients essential to a robust immune system.
c) Genetic; certain people are genetically predisposed to bacterial infection. This aspect is being closely studied with a view to developing specific antibiotics to counteract such situations.
The keystone in treatment of bacterial related infections is the use of antibiotics. These are designed to destroy the invading bacteria without affecting the host. Some antibiotics work by stopping bacterial formation in the cell wall and others by stopping bacterial metabolism. When in the early 40s, antibiotics were discovered, the success rate was astonishingly high. However, since then increasing drug resistance consequent on indiscriminate use of antibiotics has resulted in compromised effectiveness against commonly encountered bacterial infections.
In the final analysis, a good balanced diet that results in a strong and robust immune system is the most effective method of combating bacterial infection as the first line of defense.
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