What is AIDS And Symptoms?

AIDS And CD4 Cells

The CD4 cells are abundant in the blood to help fend off rogue bacteria and viruses from the body. A person in good health will usually contain about 500 to 1500 of CD4 cells per cubic millimeter of blood. This is also known as the CD4 count.

When HIV starts attacking the immune system, this number will naturally go down. As it goes down, infections start to take place and this taxes the body. Without seeking treatment for the root cause of these symptoms, the HIV virus will continue doing what it does best.

At a CD4 count of below 200 per cubic millimeter or blood, a person is said to have developed full blown AIDS. It is the most advanced stage of a HIV infection and is characterized as a disease. A disclaimer though. Just because a person is infected with the HIV virus, that doesn’t mean that they will develop AIDS.

Without treatment, HIV will cause a person to develop AIDS within a decade of infection. From this point, if no treatment is administered, then that person will only have a life expectancy of three years. Three agonizing years.

Symptoms Of Aids

When a person is diagnosed with AIDS, this is an indication that the immune system is completely compromised and can therefore not fight infection without outside intervention. At this point, there are a variety of diseases, opportunistic diseases that the person suffering from AIDS can develop:

Pneumonia

This is a contagious disease that is caused by bacteria and viruses. This disease can affect both lungs, or just a single one. It is mostly spread through inhalation of air that has droplets from the coughing or sneezing from a person who has been infected. A third type, fungal pneumonia, can be contracted from the environment. This type is not contagious.

This disease causes the small pockets of air in your lungs, called the alveoli, to fill up with either fluid or pus, and this makes it difficult to breathe. Symptoms can vary in age and overall health of the person affected. They can also be mild or even life threatening. They include:

• Fever, sweating and chills.
• Productive coughs (production of phlegm).
• Pain in the chest, whether by simply breathing or by coughing.
• Nausea and vomiting, followed with a lack of appetite.
• Headaches and fatigue or general feelings of tiredness.

Tuberculosis

It is also known as TB, and as Consumption before the 20th Century. TB is a preventable disease, curable, but has still managed to kill over 2 million people worldwide, with 1.7 million dying from it in 2016. Similar to pneumonia, it is also spread by droplets in the air.

Although TB is primarily a respiratory disease, it can affect other parts of the body such as the kidneys, the brain and the spine. Some people could be carriers of the TB bacteria but will never experience any symptoms. This can go on for a number of years before developing into TB the disease.

TB is characterized by a cough that can last well over three weeks and production of phlegm mixed with blood. It can also result in chest pains when coughing, and also when attempting to breathe normally. Other symptoms include:

• Fever and night sweats.
• Loss of appetite accompanied by loss of weight.
• Feelings of general tiredness or even fatigue.

Oral Thrush

This condition goes by many other names including thrush and oral candidiasis. The main cause is when a yeast infection develops in the mouth. Although thrush is mainly contracted by toddlers and infants, it can also be a condition that develops as a result of AIDS. It often appears as whitish or yellowish bumps that appear inside the mouth.

Thrush is caused by an abnormal abundance of the bacteria that causes it. This bacteria is normally present in the mouth and is usually kept in check by the immune system. When immunity is compromised, the bacteria then begins to multiply without being checked.

Symptoms of thrush can include:

• Whitish or yellowish bumps and patches inside the mouth, mostly on the tongue, inner cheeks, gums, and tonsils.
• Difficulty with swallowing.
• Bad taste in the mouth, or even a loss of the sense of taste.
• Soreness or even sensation of burning inside the mouth.
• Bleeding due to scraping of the bumps.
• Cracks at the corner of the mouth.

If left unchecked, thrush can travel further down the throat and affect the esophagus. From here, it can lead to more serious complications.

HCMV

This is a type of herpes infection and like most herpes infections, this is a lifelong condition one will have to live with. In comparison to the other forms, this one may seem milder, but it can still lead to serious complications if left unchecked.

It is a cause of infectious mononucleosis, also known as glandular fever. This disease can present itself with symptoms similar to those of other throats infections like pharyngitis. As such, symptoms can include:

• Sore throat.
• Swollen glands.
• Fever and night sweats.

Treatment is fairly simple. It is easily treatable with amoxicillin and ampicillin. In those with HIV infections, the effects are usually magnified.

Cryptococcal Meningitis.

This is an inflammation, usually caused by infection, of the meninges, which is a membrane present around the brain and the spine as covering for the two vital organs of the body. The cause has been traced to a variety of sources, including bacteria, viruses and even fungi.

The disease is a very common feature for people who have compromised immune systems. It is an opportunistic disease that rarely affect people in robust health. Symptoms can include:

• Changes in mental states. These include confusion, changes in personality and even hallucinations.
• Nausea and vomiting.
• Sensitivity to bright light, or even general lighting in advanced cases.
• Headaches.
• Lethargy.

If left untreated, CM can have catastrophic effects such as hydrocephalus, cause hearing loss, and cause persons to fall into commas as well as leading to permanent brain damage.

Cancer

The term cancer encompasses a wide variety of diseases that affect the cells of the body. These diseases cause the cells to divide uncontrolled and also cause growths. The growths can include tumors. Other types like leukemia, however, do not cause any growths as they affect the blood and the bone marrow.

The two common cancers that can be developed by people suffering from AIDS are Kaposi’s Sarcoma and Lymphoma.

Kaposi’s Sarcoma

Kaposi’s Sarcoma is characterized by cancerous growths. These are the mouth, nose, genital area and the anal area. The cause of KS is another member of the Herpes viruses that affect humans. KS is usually the indicator that someone has developed full blown AIDS. A lack of KS doesn’t main that AIDS hasn’t developed.

There are several types of KS that endemic to certain populations. These are:

• Classic KS, which is endemic to people of Southern and Eastern Europe.
• AIDS related KS, which develops as a result of suppressed immunity as a result of AIDS.
• African Cutaneous KS, which is mostly due to the prevalence of the herpes virus that causes KS.
• And Immuno-suppression related KS, develops in people who are under immune-suppressive medication, mostly as a result of transplants.

Lymphoma

Lymphoma is a cancer that affects the immune system by attacking the cells, as well as the system of organs that produce T cells. These organs are known as Lymph nodes and they are connected via a system of vessels that help distribute the lymph fluids around the body. The se lymph fluids are known as white blood cells.

The lymph system usually protects the body. However, their cells, known as lymphocytes, could become cancerous. This now becomes classified as lymphomas, of which there are over 70 different types and affect various organs of the body. These organs include the lymph nodes, the bone marrow, the spleen, tonsils and the thymus.

Symptoms of lymphoma can include:

• Fever and night sweating.
• Pain after consuming alcohol.
• Itchy rashes that may appear in skin folds.
• Weight loss,
• Stomach pain.
• Coughing and shortness of breath.
• An enlarged spleen.

Lymphoma does not generally cause symptoms in the early stages, and most times the symptoms can often be overlooked by healthcare givers. The symptoms may also change when the cancer begins to become worse in the body.

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