Epidemiological anthropology

Epidemiological anthropology:Health and disease. Infectious and non infectious diseases. Nutritional deficiency related diseases.

Health and Disease:

health could be defined theoretically in terms of certain measured values; for example, a person having normal body temperature pulse and breathing rate,blood pressure height weight acuity of vision,sensitivity of hearing and other normal measurable characteristic might be termed healthy. Biological criteria of normality are based on statistical concepts. Health might be defined better as the ability to function effectively in complete harmony with one’s environment. It involves more than physical fitness,since it also implies mental and emotional well being.

A person may have a disease for many years without even being aware of its presence. Although diseased this person is not ill. Similarly a person with diabetes who has received adequate insulin treatment is not Ill. The term illness implies discomfort or inability to function optimally. Hence it is a subjective state of lack of well being produced by disease.

Disease may be acute,chronic,malignant or benign. An acute disease process actually begins abruptly like acute appendicitis and is over soon if operated. The term chronic refers to long period disease like ulcerative colitis. The term benign and malignant often used to describe tumors. Benign diseases are generally without complications and a good outcome is possible. Malignancy implies a process that,if left alone will result in fatal illness. Cancer is the general term for all malignant tumors.

The most widely used classification of disease are:

1. Physiological, by function or effect ex-respiratory,diabetic etc..

2.topographic, by bodily region or system ex-gastrointestinal,chest..

3.Anatomic by organ or tissue ex-liver and lung …

4.Pathological, by nature of the disease process ex-inflammatory disease.

5.etiologic(casual) ex-sexually transmitted diseases. Pneumonia…

6.juristic,by spread of advent of death

7.Epidemiological ex-study of nutritional and biotic diseases around the world.


Infectious and non infectious disease.

Non infectious diseases are caused by:

1.Genetic 2.malnutrition 3.Environment 4.Lifestyle

1.Genetic diseases

Huntington’s,sickle cell anemia,Down syndrome,Hemophilia.

2. Malnutrition

Kwashiorkar-scaly skin,distended abadomen,swollen ankles. Marasmus-hair loss,old person face,wrinkled skin,severe muscle wasting.

Vitamin deficiency:



Toxins-heavy metals.

Radiation-skin cancer from sun.


Skin contact-poison plant,latex,animal dander, jewellery.

Ingestion-milk,medication,nuts and shellfish.

Injection-medication and bee sting.

Inhalation-pollen,dust,animal dander,mold.



Infectious disease:

infectious diseases are caused by the spread of microorganisms or non living acellular.


1.Parasites e.g. Helminthes disease:Tapeworm

2.Protozoa e.g. Plasmodium disease:Malaria

3.Fungi e.g. Tinea disease:Athlete’s foot

4.Prokaryote e.g Bacteria disease:Leprosy

Some bacteria classified as aerobes require oxygen for growth while others those found in small intestines of healthy person grows only in absence of oxygen called anarobics. Streptococci causes scarlet fever. spirochetes causes rat bite fever. The pneumococcus is the most common cause of lobar pneumonia. Meningococci are inhabitants of throats cuase meningitis after invading into blood stream.

Haemophilus influenzae insputum of patients with influenza. Inhabitants of nose and throat that may invade the blood stream causing pnemonia or meningitis.

Acellular(non living)

1.Virus e.g. HIV disease:AIDS

the varicella zoster virus(vZV),which causes chickenpox and herpes zoster

2.Prion e.g. CJD

We usually get these diseases either through mouth nose eye ear or through sexually transmitted.

Nutritional deficiency related diseases.

Vitamin A: disease: Xerophthalmia symptoms:blindness from chronic eye infections,poor growth. Foods:spinach greens carrots.

Vitamin D: disease: Rickets Symptoms:weak bones, bowed legs. Food:sun exposure,mild,egg,fish.

Thiamin(B1): disease:beriberi symptoms:nerve degeneration foods:pork,grains

Naicin: disease:pellagra symptons:diarrhoea,dementia foods:peanuts chickenpox

Vitamin c: disease:scurvy symptom:delay wound healing internal bleeding food:citrus grapes lemon

Iron: disease:anemia symptom:decreased energy,reduced growth foods:meat spinach seafoods.

Iodine: disease:goitre symptom:enlarged thyroid gland foods:iodized salt saltwater fish.

Vitamin E: nueromuscular dysfunction,hemolysis. Foods:nuts

vitamin K:blood clotting Factors foods:red looking foods,ghee.

Riboflavin(B2): cracked lips and skin foods:milk products.

Vitamin b6:essential in protein metabolism,dermatisis,anemia,immune disorder. Foods:legumes,nuts and seeds,soy.

folic acid(b9): folate together with b12 has many closely related functions,notably participation of dna synthesis. Foods:fresh fruits vegetables.

Vitamin b12:cobalamin deficiency:nerve fibre damage memory loss foods:non veg foods.

Biotin:this may be due to part of synthesis of the vitamin by bacteria in the colon. e.g hair loss.

Zinc:zinc plays a structural role in proteins and regulates gene expression. undeveloped genitals,low sperm count,impotence. Foods:meats,nuts

calcium:weak bones foods:milk products

fluoride:mineralisation of bones and teeth. Foods:grapes, cocoa, tea


potassium:role in hypertension foods:banana oranges


Proteins:severe protein deficiency causes kawsiorkar disease. Other is marasmus which is severe food deprivation. Foods:pulses, meat, diary.

Carbohydrates:body goes in ketosis in absence or prolonged deficient of carbs.

Essential Fatty acids:omega 3 and omega 6. foods:fish and nuts,flaxseeds.

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