Know the Causes, Symptoms and Diagnosis of Leprosy
Infectious diseases should be treated without wasting time. Failure to do so may increase the risk of spreading diseases. One such infectious disease is leprosy which affects the person's skin, eyes, respiratory system and peripheral nerves. It is a disease that spreads through air or breathing which is caused by bacteria called Mycobacterium leprae. This bacterium was discovered in 1873 by a Norwegian physician Gerhard Hansen. It is also called 'Henson's disease' after his name.
How is Leprosy spread?
Leprosy is a disease that spreads through bacteria called Leprae present in the air. These bacteria come into the air only from a sick person. It takes about 4 to 5 years for this bacteria to grow in the body of a healthy person. In many cases it takes up to 20 years for the bacteria to grow (incubation). Ignoring the symptoms of leprosy at the primary stage can lead to disability. It is a contagious disease but it does not spread through human touch but staying with an infected person for a long time can cause this infection. If the patient is given medicine regularly, then there is no possibility of infection.
Causes of Leprosy
- Weakening of the body's immune system.
- Lack of nutritious food.
- Long-term use of contaminated food and beverages.
- Consuming spicy and oily food.
- Loss of blood in the body.
- Consuming drugs.
Symptoms of Leprosy
The most important identification of leprosy is that it causes white rashes on the body. These marks are numb i.e., they do not have any kind of sensation. Apart from this, there are some other symptoms as well. These other symptoms are listed below-
- Change in skin color.
- Loss of touch, pain and feeling on the skin.
- Wounds do not heal for weeks and months.
- Discharge of pus and fluid from the affected part.
- Continuous bleeding.
- Gradually wilting and destruction of organs and skin.
- Muscle weakness.
- Dry skin.
- Stuffy and bleeding nose.
- Ulcers on the soles of the feet.
Types of Leprosy
It is mainly of three types, which are as follows-
Tuberculoid Leprosy, also known as paucibacillary leprosy is a mild and less severe form of leprosy in which a person has only a few patches of pale and flat colored skin. The affected area of skin may have absence of sensation because of nerve damage. Tuberculoid leprosy is usually less contagious than the other forms of leprosy.
Lepromatous Leprosy, also known as multibacillary leprosy, is a more severe form in which there are skin bumps and rashes on the whole-body including numbness and muscle weakness. It may also affect the nose, kidneys, and reproductive organs in men.
This is a mixed form in which the symptoms of both the tuberculoid and lepromatous leprosy exist.
Ways to avoid Leprosy
- Avoid coming in contact with a person infected with leprosy.
- Keep yourself clean to avoid any kind of infection.
- Eat nutritious food like pulses, gram, milk, green vegetables, and fruits which keeps the immunity of the body strong.
- Do not take astringent things like potato, brinjal, lentils, red chili, kachalu, meat-fish etc.
- To avoid leprosy, get the Bacillus Calmette-Guerin vaccine.
Home remedies for Leprosy
- Taking bath after boiling neem leaves in water and grinding neem leaves in cow's milk and applying it on the infected area cures leprosy. Apart from this, sleeping under neem leaves is very beneficial for leprosy patients.
- Taking the juice of henna leaves containing honey every morning purifies the blood. It is beneficial in skin diseases i.e., leprosy.
- Taking Chaulmoogra oil regularly with hot milk is beneficial.
- Mixing equal quantities of neem and chaulmoogra oil and applying it on the affected part cures skin diseases within a few days.
- Leprosy is destroyed by regular consumption of decoction (Kwath) made from Vijayasar wood.
- Grinding the leaves of Nirgundi and mixing it with water, taking it on an empty stomach in the morning is beneficial. Apart from this, applying the paste of its leaves on the affected area cures skin diseases.
- Taking the powder made from the bark of Champa thrice a day helps in all types of skin disorders.
- Taking equal quantities of amla and neem leaves with honey is beneficial in leprosy.
- Grinding the bark of Aak root with vinegar and applying it on the affected part is beneficial in leprosy.