Malaria

How it affects the body

Types of Malaria

There are over 120 different species of the parasite Plasmodium. However, humans can only be affected by 4 of these species. These are Plasmodium falciparum, Plasmodium vivax, Plasmodium ovale and Plasmodium malariae.

Plasmodium Malariae

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Body systems affected

When you get malaria it enters your blood and travels to your liver. When it gets to the liver, the parasite reproduces and changes form. The parasite then enters the blood again and then begins to infect the red blood cells. The cycle of destroying the red blood cells causes debris and toxins inside the blood. When this happens you get the symptoms, such as fever, chills, nausea and aches.
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What happens

Malaria affects the red blood cells and the liver. When you get bitten by a mosquito with the parasite it travels throughout your bloodstream until it gets to the liver. When you get malignant malaria, which is caused by Plasmodium falciparum, it can cause liver failure, breathing issues, shock and can also lead to affecting the central nervous system. This type of malaria could lead to death. When the liver is working normally it contains vitamins, sugars etc, to help your body produce energy. It also produces “Immune factors” to get rid of any bacteria that is in the blood flow. Your liver helps with many other things throughout your body. When your liver is affected by malaria it can stop producing the “immune factors” and not participate in reducing the bacteria in the blood stream. This is how malaria spreads throughout your body. Your red blood cells make up your blood. Blood is made up of red blood cells, white blood cells, platelets, and plasma. Platelets are cells that help you stop bleeding when your blood is exposed. Plasma is a liquid that has nutrients, proteins and hormones. When the red blood cells are working normally they contain hemoglobin. Hemoglobin is a red substance that is made up of a red “Iron-rich protein”. Hemoglobin helps move red blood cells from the lungs to all parts of your body with oxygen and carbon dioxide so you can inhale and exhale.
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Target Population

Each year about 300-500 million people are infected with malaria. Leading to more than 1 million deaths. More than 75% of these deaths were african children. 40% of the world’s population lives in an area affected with malaria. This parasite is transmitted all around the world by a single bite from an affected female mosquito. Malaria is one of the most common infections in the world.
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How you get Malaria

Malaria arises when you get bitten from a mosquito that contains the parasite. The parasite then travels from your bloodstream to your liver and reproduces. After they reproduce it attacks the red blood cells. These types of mosquitoes do not occur in colder climates.

Diagnosis

Diagnosis of malaria can be difficult. However, doctors use special blood tests to identify malaria. Doctors watch for symptoms of malaria such as dehydration, convulsions, anemia and failures or problems with the liver, kidneys, spleen, and brain. The patient would need fluids, blood transfusions, and help with inhaling and exhaling.


Symptoms

Malaria can cause many symptoms that affect the body. Some early symptoms that occur after having malaria in your body would include fever, shivering, pain in the joints, headache and vomiting. If malaria was not treated in time then it could potentially lead to death. Also, anemia. When the parasite “ruptures” in the red blood cells then it causes anemia. This is the most common reason of death with malaria. Anemia is when red blood cells are not very productive and become weak, therefore not producing enough hemoglobin.
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Treatment

Malaria without treatment can be deadly. However, if you are diagnosed and treated most everybody can make a full recovery. The drugs that can be taken to treat malaria include chloroquine, hydroxychloroquine, Artemether and lumefantrine, Atovaquone, Proguanil, and Doxycycline. To prevent malaria when you travel to higher risked areas, you can take anti-malarial medication. Also, people usually take emergency medication with them if they travel. If you do not treat malaria right away there is no cure. However, if you take anti-malarial medication early into getting malaria it can cure the parasite. Also, to prevent malaria while visiting affected areas, you can purchase a "Malaria Net". This is to keep out the mosquitoes. By keeping the mosquitoes out you can reduce the chances of getting bitten by a mosquito that contains this parasite.
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Prognosis

If you get malaria and is diagnosed early enough it can be cured. However if not treated early enough you could die. In countries with a very poor economy have a lower life expectancy. About 1 million people die each year because of malaria. Most of these deaths are african children under the age of 5. There are about 407 million confirmed infections of malaria each year.

Cites

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