In today’s modern world we have a lot to worry about. Everything from war to poverty has its own way of screwing us over. But there’s one particular catastrophe that cripples humanity unlike any other: Diseases. For as long as recorded history goes back, diseases have always been one of mankind’s greatest foes. The overwhelmingly infinite possibilities the world of diseases can have on your body will more than likely never be understood entirely, but through the godsend that is modern medicine we can prepare ourselves. Yet, spite all the advancements in medicine and science, there are still threats that baffle us today.
Here are some examples of history’s most renowned diseases.
We start off with one of the heavy hitters from late last century. Since jumping onto the scene in the 1970’s, HIV/AIDS has claimed millions upon millions of lives. Accounts of the disease in North America were noticed during the 1980’s when the number of infected sexually active gay men and drug users spiked. As of 1982 the term ‘AIDS’ (Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome) was put into effect and an epidemic was born. Over the years HIV has put up quite a fight, but through research we’ve managed to put a dent in its threat level.
Right before the birth of antibiotics, Bubonic Plague invaded Europe in the 14th century and took out a portion of the population at an alarming rate. Catching The Plague was almost as easy as dying from it due to an unmatchable level of contagiousness. Once infected, it became very clear that you were in for a bumpy ride. As if nearly inevitable death wasn’t bad enough, an infected person’s remaining time on Earth was spent writhing in pain due to symptoms such as continuous vomiting and urination of blood. Most of the pain came from a person’s skin as it deteriorated from the body. Thankfully doctors developed treatments before the genocide could spread any further.
The Spanish Flu
Even though the 1918 flu pandemic lasted only a year, nearly 100 million people fell victim to what’s been called one of the worst natural disasters in human history. Research came to the conclusion that the flu was an uncommon influenza pandemic unlike we were used to. The entire world suffered helplessly as people of all ages and health conditions, primarily healthy young adults, became casualties. As if it weren’t enough, a deadly second wave washed over the planet that dwarfed the first wave’s severity. The mutated strand ultimately brought the death count to where it stands present day. Oddly enough, it didn’t pay to be exceptionally healthy during this time. The disease attacked the immune system directly, which research suggests would explain the amplified effect in healthy victims; the stronger the immune system, the higher risk of fatality. What really leaves people confused is the departure of the epidemic. Almost as quickly as it had popped up on the radar, new cases of The Spanish Flu simply ceased to be.
Speaking of genocide, this particular world-ender will always be remembered by its defeat, although the number of lives it claimed still sends a chill down the spine. Without a vaccination, Smallpox was released to run rampant through society. The disease slowly infected the body one step at a time until the patient practically looked like death. The infection attacked the skins cells directly, which, among other things, caused horrific deformations all over the body. Over a period as brief as a month, an infected person was expected to eventually die. Though Smallpox has made its mark throughout history, some excellent teamwork from the entire world made it possible to eradicate the disease altogether.
Not many cases can hold a flame to the big ‘C’. Millions of people continue to die every year from an intimidating number of various cancers that seem unstoppable. While the immediate threat measured by known cancers depends on the diagnosis, every case should be taken seriously. The human body is a playground for this disease and its many schemes. Cancer starts in a specific part of the body and has the capability of spreading at a fearsome rate. Occasionally, it’s also referred to as “The Silent Killer” due to the fact that Cancer usually remains undetectable until much later stages; but with proper examination by a doctor can it be spotted early on. Today, the fight against cancer has grown exponentially through awareness and treatment. With high hopes and painstaking dedication, perhaps one day we can rid of Cancer once and for all.
Viruses, infections, diseases and everything between will continue to give us a run for our money. Recent happenings like H1N1 or Swine Flu go to show you Mother Nature is nowhere near finished experimenting. There’s absolutely no telling what will hit us next, but I’ve got the feeling we’ll put up a good struggle. Mankind has lasted this long in the race so what’s stopping anybody from saying we still have a fighting chance? We can only improve our defenses from here.