Examples: Cancer, Diabetes, Epilepsy, HIV/AIDS, Multiple Sclerosis

Cancer

In all types of cancer, some of the body’s cells begin to divide without stopping and spread into surrounding tissues.

Cancer can start almost anywhere in the human body. Normally, human cells grow and divide to form new cells as needed. When cells grow old or become damaged, they die, and new cells take their place. When cancer develops, however, this orderly process breaks down. As cells become more and more abnormal, old or damaged cells survive when they should die, and new cells form when they are not needed. These extra cells can divide without stopping and may form growths called tumors.

 
Diabetes

When a person eats, the body turns food into sugars, or glucose. At that point, the pancreas is supposed to release insulin.

Insulin serves as a “key” to open your cells and allow the glucose to enter, turning the glucose into energy. But with diabetes, this system does not work.

 
Epilepsy

Epilepsy is defined as recurrent and unprovoked seizures.

Although the symptoms of a seizure may affect any part of the body, the electrical events that produce the symptoms occur in the brain. The location of that event, how it spreads, how much of the brain is affected and how long it lasts all have profound effects. These factors determine the character of a seizure and its impact on the individual.

 
HIV/AIDS

HIV/AIDS is a disease of the immune system.

HIV is a lot like other viruses, including those that cause the “flu” or the common cold. But there is an important difference—over time, the immune system can clear most viruses out of the body. That isn’t the case with HIV—the human immune system can’t seem to get rid of it. That means that once a person has HIV, they have it for life.

AIDS is the final stage of HIV infection. Not everyone who has HIV advances to this stage. People at this stage of HIV disease have badly damaged immune systems, which put them at risk for opportunistic infections (OIs). A person is considered to have progressed to AIDS if they have one or more specific OIs, certain cancers or a very low number of CD4 cells.

 
Multiple Sclerosis (MS)

Multiple sclerosis (MS) involves an immune-mediated process in which an abnormal response of the body’s immune system is directed against the central nervous system (CNS), which is made up of the brain, spinal cord and optic nerves.

The exact antigen—or target that the immune cells are sensitized to attack—remains unknown, which is why MS is considered by many experts to be “immune-mediated” rather than “autoimmune.”

Sources: The National Cancer Institute; The Epilepsy Foundation; HIV.gov; Diabetes Research Institute Foundation; National Multiple Sclerosis Society

Related Stories

Brain Injuries

From cerebral palsy to traumatic brain injury to post traumatic stress disorder, learn more about different types of brain injuries.

Examples: Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI), Post Traumatic Stress Injury (PTSI) Brain Injury or Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) Brain Injury or Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) may result from a blow or…

Read More

Learning Disabilities

Learn more about learning and attention issues, such as ADHD, Dyslexia, Dyscalculia, Dysgraphia, and Executive Functioning Issues.

Examples: ADHD, Dyslexia, Dyscalculia, Dysgraphia, Executive Functioning Issues ADHD (Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder) ADHD (Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder) is a biological condition that makes it hard for many individuals to sit still…

Read More

Deaf/Hard of Hearing

Learn how the terms deaf, deafened, hard of hearing and hearing impaired are typically used.

Examples: Deaf, Deafened, Hard of Hearing or Hearing Impaired Deaf “Deaf” usually refers to a hearing loss so severe that there is very little or no functional hearing.   Deafened…

Read More