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Diseases That Affect Human Body Systems

author image Norene Anderson
Norene Anderson has been a writer since 2003. She is also a registered nurse with expertise in a wide range of medical conditions and treatments. Anderson received her associate degree in nursing from Lincoln University in Jefferson City, Mo.
Diseases That Affect Human Body Systems
A man is talking to his doctor. Photo Credit takasuu/iStock/Getty Images


Diseases and illnesses target all body systems, such as the circulatory, digestive, reproductive, endocrine, neurological, skeletal and muscular systems. Sources of diseases include genetics, bacteria, poor nutrition, viruses, parasites and fungi. Disease types include contagious, noncontagious, gender-related and age-related diseases. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report that heart disease, cancer and stroke are the causes of over 50 percent of the deaths each year in the United States.

Liver Diseases

A healthy liver helps your body fight infections and cleans the blood of toxins. When the liver becomes damaged or diseased, it puts your life in danger. Inherited liver diseases include Alagille syndrome; galactosemia—prevention of the processing of sugar galactose; hemochromatosis—too much iron storage; and Wilson disease. Viral infections of the liver include hepatitis A, B, C and autoimmune hepatitis—a potentially life-threatening disease where the body attacks the liver and causes inflammation. The American Liver Foundation reports that primary liver cancer is on the increase in the United States, with about 21,000 new cases diagnosed every year. Factors that increase the risk for developing liver cancer include cirrhosis of the liver, long-term hepatitis B and C, obesity and diabetes.

Autoimmune Diseases

The body's immune system works to keep germs from overtaking the cells and organs. In autoimmune diseases, the body fails to recognize the parts of the body as belonging and attacks itself. As reported by The National Women's Health Information Center, more than 80 types of autoimmune diseases affect almost 24 million Americans. Symptoms of autoimmune diseases include fatigue and dizziness and range from mild to severe. Autoimmune diseases that affect both men and women include diabetes type 1, Graves' disease, celiac disease, inflammatory bowel disease, multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis and systemic lupus erythematosis.

Thyroid Diseases

The thyroid gland, located in the front of the neck, is an endocrine gland that secretes hormones to help the functions of the heart, brain, muscles, reproductive system and intestines, as reported by the Cleveland Clinic. An overactive thyroid, known as hyperthyroidism, produces symptoms such as irritability, excessive sweating, rapid heartbeat, hair thinning and weight loss. Symptoms of an underactive thyroid, or hypothyroidism, include depression, weak muscles, coldness, moderate weight gain and constipation. An enlarged thyroid, or goiter, can be associated with hyperthyroidism or hypothyroidism. Other diseases of the thyroid include thyroid nodules, cancers and inflammation of the thyroid gland.

Prostate Diseases

The prostate gland, about the size of a walnut, surrounds part of the tube that carries urine from the bladder through the penis. Signs of an enlarged or infected prostate include difficulty passing urine and an increase in the urgency to pass urine. There are four types of prostatitis, which is inflammation of the prostate: acute bacterial, chronic bacterial, chronic prostatitis and asymptomatic inflammatory prostatitis. Benign prostatic hyperplasia, commonly known as BPH, or an enlarged prostate, affects more men over the age of 60. The American Cancer Institute reports that most men in their 70s and 80s will have enlarged prostate symptoms, and about 3 percent of American men die from prostate cancer.

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