Diseases- Communicable and Non-Communicable

Communicable and Non-Communicable Diseases

A disease is any abnormal condition which obstructs the normal bodily functions and often leads to a feeling of pain and weakness. It is usually associated with symptoms and signs. It is a pathologic condition in which the normal functioning of the body is impaired or disrupted, resulting in distress, or death. We can say that good health is the state where we are physically, mentally, and socially fit, and the disease is a factor which affects health. A condition can be either due to structural disorder or functional abnormality in the body. In this part, we will talk about infectious disease and non-communicable disease. 

We can call diseases as those abnormalities in our body, which cause discomfort as a result of organs or organ systems being affected. It is essential to know that there is a condition that is responsible for the improper functioning of body systems. We realise that something is wrong when we notice the signs and symptoms. A proper diagnosis of the disease is possible by visible signs that our body exhibits. These signs are called symptoms. It is these symptoms that help in the accurate diagnosis of the disease. The study of disease is called pathology.

Non-Communicable Diseases 

Non-communicable diseases or NCDs are generally are long-lasting and progress slowly, and thus they are sometimes also referred to as chronic diseases. They can also result from exposure to adverse environments or from genetically determined abnormalities, which may be seen at birth or which may become apparent later in life.

Examples of Major Non–Communicable Disease Include:

1 - Cancer

2 - Cardiovascular Disease (Heart Attack, Stroke),

3 - Chronic Respiratory Disease (Asthma), and

4 - Diabetes Mellitus.


Causes – Social determinants to health, tobacco, alcohol, poor nutrition, physical inactivity, and family history, age and gender.

Symptoms – the signs and symptoms of NCD differ in each case. Diabetes is a condition that can affect many other systems in the body. The symptoms of diabetes include- feeling very thirsty, frequent urination, feeling very hungry or tired, weight loss, sores that heal slowly, dry and itchy skin, tingling in the feet, and blurry eyesight.

Treatment – There is no permanent cure for NCDs. Medications and therapies help in relieving most of the symptoms. NCDs are lifestyle diseases. Prevention and management are better than cure in case of NCDs. In the case of cancer, early diagnosis helps in treatment. Lifestyle changes such as giving up on smoking and alcohol can bring about improvements in the case of NCDs. Fig.1


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Communicable Diseases 

Infectious or contagious diseases are those transmitted from one organism to another. An infectious disease spreads from one person to another through a variety of ways that include contact with blood and bodily fluids, breathing an airborne virus or by an insect bite.

Examples – Flu, Mumps, Measles, TB, HIV/AIDS, Hepatitis A, B, and C. 

Causes – Animal parasites, bacteria, fungi, virus, and contact with an infected person.

Symptoms – Fever, weakness, muscle and body ache, diarrhoea, congestion and coughing.

Treatment - Antibiotics for bacterial infections, viral infection with antiviral medication, rest and therapies, fungal and parasitic infections are treated with antifungal and antiphrastic medications.Fig.2

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What is Asymptomatic Transmission? 

Sometimes we hear a lot about the asymptomatic condition, particularly concerning the spread of COVID19. Asymptomatic transmission refers to a transmission of the virus from a person who does not develop or show any symptoms. People who are infected with COVID19 could likely transmit the virus before they develop any signs or symptoms. It is vital to know that pre-symptomatic transmission requires the virus to spread through infected droplets or through touching of contaminated surfaces.

Nearly fifty per cent of infections of regular seasonal flu may be asymptomatic. It may be in part due to pre-existing partial immunity. It may also be the case when asymptomatic patients shed their virus presence and can transmit the disease but not at the same rate as symptomatic persons. Now, it becomes a case of an invisible transmission for the virus.

It is important to note that 75 per cent of people who have flu show no symptoms till a long time. 

It is tough to call this situation good or bad. It can be good that many people with flu do not experience symptoms and hardship. However, to limit the spread of a pandemic, this can be a stressful situation as it would be unclear who is infected and who is not.

FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)

Q1.What is Pathology?

Ans: Pathology is a study that helps in the determination of the cause of the disease, the understanding of the mechanisms of its development (pathogenesis), the structural changes associated with the disease process (morphological changes), and the potential consequences of those changes.

Human beings, other animals, and plants are all susceptible to diseases of some sort or the other. Correct identification of the cause of a disease is necessary to identify the proper course of treatment. Pathology is the science that studies the cause and effects of diseases and deals with the laboratory examination of samples of body tissue for diagnostic purposes.

Q2.What are Group II Diseases? 

Ans: Non – infectious diseases are a group of chronic diseases that you cannot catch from another person. They are a major cause of adult mortality and morbidity worldwide. Non – communicable diseases marked by WHO as Group II Diseases include the following: diabetes mellitus, endocrine disorders, psychiatric conditions, sense organ diseases, cardiovascular diseases, respiratory diseases (Asthma), digestive diseases, gynaecological diseases, skin diseases, musculoskeletal diseases (rheumatoid arthritis), congenital anomalies (cleft palate, Down syndrome), and oral conditions are Group II diseases. These are all distinguished from Group I diseases (communicable, maternal, and nutritional conditions) and Group III diseases (unintentional and intentional injuries).