Medical Topic Research Blog

Topic: Leprosy by Amanda Burns

Definitions and Analyses (Word Parts) of Five Medical Terms

1. Word analysis of Paresthesia

par- (P) = around, beside

-esthesia (S) = feeling

Definition: a sensation of tingling, tickling, pricking, or burning of a person's skin

2. Word analysis of Neurolysis

neur/o (CF) = nerve

-lysis (S) = destruction, breakdown, separation, loosening, dissolution

Definition: The breaking down of nervous tissue from a disease or injury

3. Word analysis of Xerosis

xer/o (CF) = dry

-sis (S) = state of, condition

Definition: Dry skin that can become flaky and itchy

4. Word analysis of Neuropathy

neur/o (CF) = nerve

-pathy (S) = disease, emotion

Definition: disease or dysfunction of one or more peripheral nerves, typically causing numbness or weakness

5. Word analysis of Necrosis

necr (R) = death

-osis (S) = condition

Definition: form of cell injury that results in the death of cells.



There are reported to be around 700,000 new cases of leprosy every year, a disease in which person to person transmission remains a problem. The bacterium Mycobacterium Leprae is the culprit for this chronic infectious disease. On the surface, skin lesions manifest and the skin may become thickened. Skin Lesions are flat or raised patches on the skins surface. Another common symptom is peripheral neuropathy which is the inflammation of nerves in the extremities. The loss of sensation and the ability to sweat can arise from the Neurolysis in the body. The eyes, palms of the hands, and soles of the feet are common sites on the body for leprosy to take place. A doctor can diagnose someone with leprosy by feeling for thickened peripheral nerves and anesthetic skin lesions that cannot detect stimuli. It can take three to five years for symptoms to appear after coming in contact with the bacteria.

Due to therapeutical problems with leprosy control, a combination of drug therapy has brought an expected cure for those with leprosy and a decrease of leprosy as a public health problem. Over the past decades, there has been a significant reduction in leprosy rates but the modes of transmission are not changed. Treatment varies depending on which type of leprosy a patient has. The two forms are Tuberculoid, Borderline, and Lepromatous. Tuberculoid Leprosy is a less severe and mild form. This results in a few patches of pale colored skin and may have areas of numb skin. This form of leprosy is less contagious. People with Lepromatous leprosy have widespread bumps and rashes (multibacillary leprosy), muscular dystrophy (muscle weakness) and hypoesthesia (numbness). This form is more contagious than Tuberculoid. Patients with Borderline leprosy have symptoms of both Tuberculoid and Lepromatous leprosy. The World Health Organization provides free treatments to those with leprosy (WebMD). Antibiotics are prescribed to treat the infection and anti-inflammatory drugs such as steroids are given to control nerve pain and damage caused by leprosy. Those who ignore their symptoms may experience other complications due to neglecting treatment. This can include Glaucoma, kidney failure, infertility in men, permanent nerve damage (neuropathy), and disfiguration. "Most countries that were previously highly endemic for leprosy have achieved elimination at the national level and are intensifying their efforts at regional and district levels." (WHO).