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What are communicable and non-communicable diseases?
What Are Diseases
Let's say you're sitting at a gate in a major American airport, waiting to board a flight. At a neighboring gate, a flight arrives and several people exit the plane wearing surgical masks. You assume that you should probably avoid these people. They must have some illness and are trying not spread it to a planeload of people. Then, your plane starts loading. You strike up a conversation with someone who's describing their difficulty getting through security with insulin and syringes. They're diabetic, yet not wearing a surgical mask. You aren't worried about catching diabetes, but why? Diabetes is a life-threatening disease after all. To answer this question, we need to examine the main difference between common illnesses.
A disease is any abnormal condition that causes a disruption in the functions of a body tissue, organ, or entire organism. Diseases are recognized by a specific set of symptoms. Think about the diseases you know: a cold, the flu, measles, cancer, stroke, or diabetes, just to name a few. These diseases all disrupt the body in very characteristic ways. Now think about what causes these conditions: viruses, bacteria, fungi, smoking, genetic defects, etc. There are countless diseases, each with its own unique and characteristic cause. But why can you 'catch' some diseases but not others? This is due to the two different types of disease: communicable and noncommunicable.
What Are Communicable Diseases
Communicable diseases are spread from person to person or from animal to person. The spread or transfer can happen through the air, through contact with contaminated surfaces, or through direct contact with blood, feces, or other bodily fluids. A cold is an example of a communicable disease (a cold is the general term given to a viral infection of the upper respiratory tract).
This is probably why those airline passengers mentioned at the start of this lesson were wearing masks. Viruses in the respiratory passageways can easily be coughed or even just breathed out. So, if the inconsiderate cold-carrier sitting next to you on the plane coughs, viruses are spewed into your vicinity. You breathe, and suddenly those viruses have found a new respiratory tract to call home (yours!). That cold has now been passed from one infected person to another uninfected person, spreading the communicable disease.
You can probably identify other communicable diseases. If a disease is caused by viruses, bacteria, fungi, or protozoa it's likely, although not always, communicable. Rabies, HIV, malaria, influenza, and athlete's foot are just a few examples of communicable diseases you may be familiar with.
What Are Noncommunicable Diseases
A non-communicable disease (NCD) is a medical condition or disease that is not caused by infectious agents (non-infectious or non-). NCDs can refer to chronic diseases which last for long periods of time and progress slowly. Sometimes, NCDs result in rapid deaths such as seen in certain diseases such as heart attack, and others. While sometimes referred to as synonymous with "", NCDs are distinguished only by their non-infectious cause, not necessarily by their duration, though Some chronic diseases of long duration, such as , may caused by . Chronic diseases require as do all diseases that are slow to develop and of long duration.

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