Your small intestine is an organ that is approximately 20 feet long. Your small intestine lies in a coiled position in the center of your abdominal cavity.
The most extensive aspect of the digestion of the food that you eat occurs in your small intestine. A hormone that is known as secretin is secreted by the lining of your small intestine. Your pancreas is stimulated by secretin to make digestive enzymes.
Cryptosporidiosis is a disease in which you have an infection of your small intestine that you get from the parasite cryptosporidium. This disorder is also referred to as cryptosporidium enteritis.
Cryptosporidiosis disease is one of the worldwide causes of diarrhea that takes place in all age groups. This disease has a major impact on people who are afflicted with a weakened immune system. People who have a weakened immune system include:
- People who have had transplants
- Those who are taking medications that suppress their immune system
- People who have AIDS
- Those who are taking chemotherapy treatment for cancer
- People who are on steroid therapy
- Those who are afflicted with Crohn’s disease
- People who are on kidney dialysis.
Cryptosporidiosis disease can result in serious problems for those with weakened immune systems. These problems include malnutrition and the loss of body and muscle mass (wasting) that may prove to be severe and life-threatening.
As has already been mentioned, cryptosporidiosis disease is brought about by the parasite cryptosporidium, which is the second most common infectious agent, behind campylobacter. Cryptosporidium resides in the feces of animals and humans who are infected with the disease.
The way that people become infected with cryptosporidiosis disease is by ingesting the parasite cryptosporidium. This takes place mainly by drinking water that has been contaminated. Cryptosporidiosis is also spread by human to human contact or animal to human contact.
Cryptosporidiosis Risk Factors
There are some risk factors that may increase your risk of getting this disorder. Some of these are:
- Having a job that involves the handling of animals
- Being a man who engages in sexual activity with another man
- Being in close personal contact with someone who has been infected by the disease
- Drinking from a public water supply that has been contaminated
- Swimming in pools and lakes that have been contaminated
- Being a young child
- Drinking cider that has not been pasteurized.
Signs and Symptoms of Cryptosporidiosis Disease
The signs and symptoms of cryptosporidiosis disease usually begin to appear within 12 days after you have been infected by the parasite cryptosporidium. The average time before you begin to experience signs and symptoms is seven days.
The hallmark sign or symptom that is caused by cryptosporidiosis disease is diarrhea that is usually watery, large-volume and that takes place several times each day. However, there are several other signs and symptoms that you may also have with this disease. Some of the other possible signs and symptoms include:
- Weight loss that is not intentional
- Abdominal cramping and discomfort
- Malaise (a general feeling of sickness or that you are not feeling well)
- A loss of appetite