5 diseases that made a buzz in 2021, apart from Covid-19

Health, according to the World Health Organization, is “a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease and infirmity”.[1] A variety of definitions have been used for different purposes over time. Health can be promoted by encouraging healthful activities, such as regular physical exercise and adequate sleep,[2] and by reducing or avoiding unhealthful activities or situations, such as smoking or excessive stress. Some factors affecting health are due to individual choices, such as whether to engage in a high-risk behavior, while others are due to structural causes, such as whether the society is arranged in a way that makes it easier or harder for people to get necessary healthcare services. Still other factors are beyond both individual and group choices, such as genetic disorders.

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2021 was not just about Covid-19 but a lot more. Here are other diseases that made news and noise in 2021, apart from coronavirus.

Year ender 2021: The year 2021 seemed to be the year of diseases in India. Even as an intense Covid-19 wave driven by Delta raged on, other illnesses from dengue, MIS, heart troubles to mucormycosis added to the health woes of people.

An array of post Covid complications affected several people including children while mosquito-borne diseases like dengue and chikangunya saw an upward trend this year with states like Uttar Pradesh registering more than five times the number of dengue cases that were reported last year.

As we bid adieu to 2021, let’s take a look at five diseases that troubled people this year.

1. Mucormycosis

Black fungus or mucormycosis is a rare fatal infection that occurs due to molds called mucormycetes and requires immediate medical attention. It was seen in post-Covid patients due to steroid usage. The combination of inappropriate use of steroids and uncontrolled diabetes leads to development of this disease. The common symptoms of mucormycosis include discoloration over the bridge of the nose, blurred or double vision, chest pain, breathing difficulties, one-sided facial pain and numbness. It also leads to brain damage.

Keep a check on your body’s signs. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

2. Avascular necrosis

This is another post-Covid complication caused due to overuse of steroids in the patients. It is also known as osteonecrosis or the death of bone tissue owing to the lack of blood supply. It can lead to tiny breaks in the bone and the bone’s eventual collapse. While the disease has no symptoms at early stages, in later stages the affected joint might hurt when you put weight on it and eventually one may feel pain even while lying down.

3: Multisystem inflammatory syndrome (MIS)

While children usually show mild symptoms of Covid-19, this post Covid complication is said to be deadly. MIS-C can cause severe inflammation in heart, lungs, blood vessels, kidneys, digestive system, brain, skin or eyes. Symptoms include fever, vomiting, pain in stomach, skin rash, rapid breathing, red eyes, swelling on lips and tongue and headache.

4: Blood clotting and heart problems

There was increase in cases of heart attacks this year as many of the recovered Covid patients experienced cardiac issues. The symptoms ranged from chest tightness, breathing difficulties, pain and sudden palpitations. Complications like heart attack, myocarditis, swelling of the heart, low pumping capacity, heart failure, blood clotting, and arrhythmia (abnormal heartbeat) were seen.

You can’t avoid stress but you can find better ways to deal with it. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

5: Dengue

A mosquito-borne viral infection, spreading to people via the bite of an infected Aedes species (Ae. aegypti or Ae. albopictus) mosquito too gave a tough time to many people. From mild disease to dengue shock syndrome, the symptoms of the disease depend on its type.

In mild dengue fever, the symptoms can range from joint and muscle aches, high fever, body rash, frequent vomiting, and intense headache. In dengue haemorrhagic fever, there is bleeding in the gums, nose, mouth, low blood platelets count, internal bleeding, diarrhoea, convulsions, blood spots on the skin, intense fever, clammy skin and abdominal pain.

In dengue shock syndrome, the most severe and lethal form of dengue, the symptoms include low blood pressure, weak and rapid pulse beat, brain oedema leading to visual or auditory hallucinations, cerebral anoxia (no oxygen reaching the brain), heavy bleeding, high fever, vomiting and acute abdominal pain.

(With inputs from Dr. Bipin Jibhkate, Consultant critical care medicine, and ICU director Wockhardt Hospitals, Mira Road)

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