Infections are produced by agents known as microorganisms. This denomination comes from its tiny size; they are so small that cannot be seen without a microscope.
Environment is surrounded by these microorganisms, and many of them even live in our body, we actually have more bacteria than cells. In many cases, bacteria that can only live in human beings are transmitted from person to person. Once they get into our body, they can perfectly establish and multiply themselves, originating an infection.
This happens in many occasions without producing a disease, so they would be just colonizing.
Most of these bacteria are beneficial and help us digest food, to manufacture vitamins or even defend ourselves from other bacteria; but some others are not good and get in touch with our body to cause damage, while they try to survive and breed, causing the ailment. Diseases produced as a consequence of infections are called “infectious diseases”.
This capacity of microorganisms is known as pathogenicity, which is quantified by virulence, which is the aggressiveness shown against the host.
For a long time, thanks to the great impact that the discovery of antibiotics had, as well as the feeling that there were no more microorganisms to discover, it was thought that the battle was definitely won, but its ability to generate resistance to antimicrobials (which lose their effectiveness), the growing discovery of new pathogens -such as the virus of human immunodeficiency (HIV)-, and the description of its relationship with new diseases (such as cardiovascular risk), teach us that the fight continues and that it must be addressed from several fronts.
Microorganisms Responsible of Infections
In addition to importance in number and distribution, highlights the great variety of microorganisms that can affect man. It is estimated that there are approximately 1500 different species and that their potential to cause disease and death reaches more than 14 million deaths per year in the world.
Microorganisms divide mainly in bacteria, viruses, fungi and parasites. The first two have been implicated in the increase of cardiovascular risk.
Thanks to bacteria´s capacity of binary division, they can be reproduced widely if the environment is propitious, which favors their wide distribution. Some of them can only live and multiply inside our cells.
Viruses, on the other hand, are smaller than bacteria and are not even composed of cells; they are practically their genetic material wrapped in a cover or protein membrane. Viruses, in order to obtain energy and reproduce, require the help of the cells of our organism. They insert their genetic material inside these cells and they take control of the machinery they will use exclusively for the creation of more viral particles.
New created viruses leave the cell willing to infect others for the same purpose. The infected cells end up dying due to problems of functioning, depletion of resources or when releasing newly created viruses.
Which Microorganisms Pose Cardiovascular Risk?
The microorganisms related to cardiovascular risk are Chlamydia pneumoniae and Citomegalovirus. Nevertheless, there is more evidence in the last years in favor of Helicobacter pylori, Herpes virus, Flu virus, Hepatitis A, B and C and HIV.
Any infection can trigger the inflammatory processes necessary to initiate or maintain the development of cardiovascular diseases.
These microorganisms can get into our bloodstream by the following:
Daily Oral Activities: Brushing your teeth could make your gums bleed and allow bacteria to enter into our body (especially if your teeth or gums are not healthy).
An Existing Infection: Bacteria can migrate from an already infected area.
Catheters: Bacteria can enter our bodies through a catheter, which is a thin tube that doctors use to inject or extract fluids from the body.
Needles that are used for tattoos and body piercings.
Consumption of Illegal Drugs (Intravenously): In general, people that consume these drugs don´t have access to sterile syringes.
Determined Dental Procedures: Some procedures can affect your gums and make the bacteria enter into our bloodstream.
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