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Difference between Infectious and Non-Infectious Disease

We have heard a lot about infectious and non-infectious diseases. Infectious diseases can spread from one person to another, but non-infectious diseases do not spread. There are other differences, too, between the terms. Unfortunately, many kids die from these infectious diseases every year. Therefore, it is better to know more about the kinds of diseases.

Infectious vs Non-Infectious Disease

The basic differences between infectious and non-infectious diseases are given below.

S.NO. INFECTIOUS DISEASE NON-INFECTIOUS DISEASE
1. Infectious diseases are also called communicable diseases that can spread from one person to another. Non-infectious diseases do not spread from person to person; somewhat it is restrained within one person.
2. Infectious diseases are caused by micro-organisms called pathogens. Examples of pathogens include bacteria, protozoans, and viruses. Non-infectious diseases are also caused by pathogens, but there are other factors that affect non-infectious diseases. These factors are lifestyle, age, gender, and nutritional deficiency of a person.
3. For Example: Cholera, Chickenpox, Common Cold, Flu, etc. For Example: Asthma, Cancer, Diabetes, etc.

So, these are the primary differences between infectious and non-infectious diseases. As we have seen above, an infectious disease is caused by a microscopic germ that enters the body of an individual and causes problems. But it is interesting to note that not all infectious diseases spread from one person to another. When an infectious disease spreads, then it is called a communicable/ contagious disease. Not all infectious diseases are transmissible.

Our body is made of microbes. A micro-organism reacts in our body when our immune system is weakened. There are different kinds of pathogens that cause problems in our system. These pathogens can be transmitted from one body to another, depending upon their type. Now, how can an infectious disease spread? Well, an infectious disease can be spread through body contact, airborne particles, and touching a contaminated surface that the infected person has already touched. These are some of the ways through which these pathogens enter our bodies and weaken our immune system. There are a few types of pathogens that react with our bodies.

1. Virus:

Viruses are made up of DNA and RNA, which have a protein layer to shield them. Once we are infected, these viruses allow the host cells to enter the body. Then these host cells replicate and double themselves, thereby producing more and more viruses. There are several cases wherein these viruses are dominant before multiplying. In this case, a person gets sick again even after recovering. People take antibiotics to kill such viruses, but antibiotics do not work on such dominant viruses. These dominant viruses can only be stopped by antiviral medicines that help in controlling the virus from spreading.

2. Bacteria:

The micro-organisms that are made of a single cell are called bacteria. Bacteria have several shapes and characteristics. They can remain alive in any environment. Not all bacteria are infectious. The bacteria that affect the body are called pathogenic bacteria. When a virus enters our body, we become susceptible to various bacterial infections. Well, bacteria can be killed by some doses of antibiotics. But one thing has to be kept in mind, i.e., one must not take excessive doses of antibiotics as the bacteria will not be affected or killed.

3. Fungi:

There are many species of fungi. Out of these, 300 are said to be the ones that can cause sickness to the human body. Fungi can be seen everywhere, and the infection is caused when they overgrow on any surface. Well, the structure of fungi contains a cell wall, a membrane, and a nucleus, which makes it much harder to kill. Candida Aurus is one of the fungi species (infection) that is very hard to kill. Antifungal medications and antibiotics are given to people having fungal infections in their bodies.

4. Parasites:

Parasites are the organisms that feed on the things that the host cell provides. The infections regarding the parasites can be found anywhere, but they are commonly found in tropical and sub-tropical areas. The parasites that can cause sickness to the human body are:

  • Helminths: These organisms are also called worms that live inside or outside the human body. They are larger and are multi-celled.
  • Protozoa: These organisms are single-celled that replicates themselves in the human body.
  • Ectoparasites: Ectoparasites include insects, mosquitoes, etc., that feed on the human skin. They are also multi-celled structures.

So, these are the types of infectious diseases that can cause serious illness to the human body. Various antibiotics can heal these diseases, but one must not take overdoses of these medicines. This makes the disease harder to kill. Now, having discussed about infectious diseases, let us take a look at the types of non-infectious diseases. There are four significant kinds of non-infectious diseases, i.e., cardiovascular diseases, chronic respiratory diseases, cancer, and diabetes. So, let us discuss them in detail.

1. Cardiovascular diseases:

Cardiovascular diseases are caused by zero physical activity and malnutrition. There are chances of high blood pressure, increased blood lipids, obesity, etc. These conditions lead to several heart diseases. There are certain cases where some people are born with cardiovascular diseases. Some of the cardiovascular diseases include:

  • Heart attack
  • Stroke
  • Cerebrovascular disease
  • Congenital heart diseases

These diseases can be cured if proper treatment is given to the patient. People must take care of their health so that such ailments do not reach their bodies.

2. Cancer:

Cancer is the second-most common disease that can happen to a person of any age and gender. Some cancers are genetic, while others occur due to various reasons. According to WHO, only 30% - 50% of the cancers are preventable and curable. We can prevent cancer by limiting the use of alcohol, avoid eating tobacco, and focus on increasing immunity. The most common types of cancer are lung cancer, breast cancer, cervical cancer, liver cancer, prostate cancer, and stomach cancer.

3. Chronic Respiratory Diseases:

As the name suggests, chronic respiratory diseases affect the windpipe and the structure of the lung. People who smoke or are exposed to air pollution, poor air quality suffer from this ailment. Chronic respiratory disease cannot be cured, but it can be taken care of through medicines.

4. Diabetes:

A person suffers from diabetes when the body cannot produce insulin (a hormone which helps regulate blood sugar). Diabetes affects the body by damaging the vision, kidney, and heart. There are two kinds of diabetes, namely Type1 Diabetes and Type 2 Diabetes. In Type 1, the ailment is diagnosed in childhood. When the immune system becomes dysfunctional, it leads to Type 1 diabetes. Type 2 diabetes occurs in adulthood. This happens because of poor lifestyle, obesity, malnutrition, etc.

So, these are the significant kinds of non-infectious diseases that cannot be transmitted. But such chronic ailments can seriously damage a person's body.

Both infectious and non-infectious diseases can seriously damage the human body. Therefore, it is necessary to take care of our health by practicing physical fitness, exercising, and playing various outdoor sports. It is essential to keep ourselves fit so that no chronic ailment enters our body. Thus, the best way to prevent such diseases is to exercise regularly and have a healthy diet.


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