What is Leprosy Disease?
What is Leprosy Disease? Leprosy, also known as leprosy or Hansen’s disease, is a disease that affects the skin, the peripheral nervous system, the mucous membranes of the upper respiratory tract, and the eyes. The nervous system that is attacked can cause the sufferer to numb.
Leprosy is caused by a type of bacteria that takes 6 months to 40 years to develop in the body. Leprosy signs and symptoms may occur after bacteria infect the patient’s body for 2 to 10 years.
Although it had once become a dreaded disease, leprosy is currently classified as an easily treatable disease. Ironically, so far some areas in Indonesia are still considered as endemic areas of leprosy by the World Health Organization or WHO.
The symptoms and signs of leprosy are difficult to observe and appear very slowly. Some of them are:
- Numb. Can not feel the temperature change to lose the sensation of touch and pain in the skin.
- Enlargement of blood vessels, usually around the elbows and knees.
- Changes in shape or deformity of the face.
- Nasal congestion or nosebleed.
- Appeared wound but did not hurt.
- Eye damage. Eyes become dry and rarely winks are usually felt before the big ulcer appears.
- Weak muscles or paralysis.
- The loss of fingers.
WHO classifies leprosy into two types based on the conditions of injury on the patient’s skin, namely:
- Paucibacillary. There are skin wounds without bacteria that cause leprosy in leprosy on the skin.
- Multibacillary. There are skin lesions with leprosy bacteria in leprosy in the skin.
Causes of Leprosy and Risk Factors
Mycobacterium leprae bacteria is a major cause of leprosy. These bacteria grow rapidly on the cooler body parts such as hands, face, legs and knees.
M. leprae is a type of bacteria that can only grow in certain human cells and animals. The mode of transmission of this bacteria is through the fluid from the nose that usually spreads into the air when people cough or sneeze.
In addition to the underlying cause, there are also factors that may increase a person’s risk for developing the disease. Some of these risk factors include:
- Make physical contact with animal spreader leprosy bacteria without gloves.
Some of these are armadillo and African chimpanzees.
- Perform regular physical contact with leprosy patients.
- Living in a leprous endemic area.
- Suffers from genetic defects in the immune system.
Most cases of leprosy are diagnosed based on clinical findings, because patients usually live in areas with minimal laboratory equipment. White or red spots on the numbing skin and peripheral nerve thickening (or nerves located under the skin can be palpable enlarged and even visible) are often used as a basis for clinical diagnostic considerations. In a leprosy endemic area, a person may be considered leprosy if it shows one of the following two main signs:
- The presence of patches on the numb skin.
- Samples from a positive skin smear contain leprosy bacteria.
Treatment of leprosy
The majority of leprosy patients diagnosed clinically will be given a combination of antibiotics as a treatment step for 6 months to 2 years. Doctors should ensure the type of leprosy as well as the availability of medical personnel who supervise the patient to determine the type, dose of antibiotics, and the duration of treatment.
Surgery is generally performed as a follow-up process after antibiotic treatment. The purpose of surgical procedures for leprosy patients include:
- Normal function of damaged nerves.
- Improve the shape of the disabled body.
- Restores limb function.
The risk of leprosy complications can occur depending on how quickly the disease is diagnosed and treated effectively. Some complications that may occur if leprosy is treated late are:
- Numb or numb. Loss of sensation feels pain that can make people at risk of injury without being aware and vulnerable to infection.
- Permanent nerve damage.
- Muscles weaken.
- Progressive deformity. For example, loss of eyebrows, defects in the toes, hands and nose.