Millions of Americans are unsuspecting victims of the parasite epidemic affecting our nation. It is an epidemic that knows no geographic, economic or gender boundaries. It is a silent epidemic of which even most doctors are unaware. Many chronic health disorders are being solved as these mysterious guests are being eliminated.

The misconception that parasitic infections occur only in tropical areas and among the poor who live in unsanitary conditions is dangerous in that it has resulted in a lack of awareness of both the risk factors and the symptoms associated with this insidious public health threat in America. Since most of our doctors have little training or experience with parasitic diseases, they are not alert to the clinical symptoms which has left the general public totally unaware of the scope of this problem. One of the most outstanding parasitic hazards is contaminated water. Diaper-changing practices in our daycare centers have posed yet another threat of parasitic infection. Add to these an increase in international travel, the rising immigrant population, the widespread use of antibiotics, high-sugar diets, the introduction of exotic foods and the common practice of having multiple sexual partners and its no wonder our people are at risk for parasitic infections. Since there is sometimes no effective treatment for these infections, prevention is most important.

We need more knowledge in this area for parasites can only persist when they have a suitable environment. Diets high in sugars, refined carbohydrates, and fiber-depleted highly processed foods, along with immune systems that have been weakened by these diets and other environmental factors, provide the ideal feeding ground for parasites. So, the problem is not so much “out there” as it is within us.

Worms, from the microscopic amoeba to the feet-long tapeworm, are a fundamental root cause of disease and are associated with health problems that go far beyond gastrointestinal-tract disturbances. Many unexplained health conditions often disappear when parasites are eliminated from the body. Also. Parasitic infections commonly mimic diseases familiar to our doctors and are thus misdiagnosed. Americans today are host to more than 130 different kinds of parasites. Practically every imaginable kind of exotic parasite disease has been found on our shores. A nationwide survey conducted by the Center of Disease Control (CDC) in 1976 revealed that one in every six people selected at random had one or more parasites. What must the percentages be today, 30 years later!

A number of seemingly unrelated factors unique to our age have contributed to the unrestrained parasite epidemic and added to the increased risk of parasite infection. Some of these factors include:

Human beings become a host through four pathways. The first is infected food and water, the second is via a vector (flee, fly, mosquito), the third is from sexual contact, and the fourth through the nose and skin. The airplane could also be considered a vector since extensive foreign travel has exposed Americans to exotic diseases never encountered in their homeland.

Most parasites inhabit the gastrointestinal tract but the circulatory system is also a common host. Many organisms can invade the lungs, while organs like the heart, liver, spleen, eyes, and brain are not exempt from attack. Basically, parasites create damage in your body in six ways. They destroy cells faster than your body can replace them. They produce toxic substances that harm your delicate tissues. They also irritate tissues causing inflammation. They penetrate the skin and intestinal lining causing wounds. The size and/or weight of parasitic cysts can produce pressure effects on organs or obstruct tissues. They exhaust the immune system by disrupting its functions.

The traditional method of diagnosis of parasitic infection is both inaccurate and misleading. Old ideas have been proven wrong and new testing methods are needed. Recent research has produced several excellent options. Many parasites have proven difficult to detect and even more difficult to evict.

If you suspect parasite involvement in your life, read Ann Louise Gittleman’s Guess What Came To Dinner? You will find her checklist and her resources particularly helpful.

 Copyright 2006 Mrs. C.


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