Survival Of The Sickest

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Many people once thought that diseases were in no way beneficial. However the book, "Survival of the Sickest" by Dr. Sharon Moalem, tells us about how certain diseases had an important role in the survival of our ancestors. Even though diseases are deadly and harmful, they helped our ancestors survive throughout history. Out of the many diseases stated throughout the book, I chose hemochromatosis, diabetes, and favism. Hemochromatosis is a hereditary disease that affects how the body processes iron. Usually, when the body has a sufficient amount of iron, it will reduce the amount taken in from the food you eat. However, if a body is affected with hemochromatosis, the body will continue to absorb iron even when it is completely full of it.…show more content…
Diabetes is related to the blood sugar, glucose. Glucose is formed when our body breaks down the carbohydrates from the food that we consume. It is very important to our survival. Glucose helps to get our brain working, creates proteins that we need, and also provides us with energy when we run out. With the support of insulin, glucose is stored in the liver, muscles, and fat cells. In a diabetic person, the procedure between insulin and glucose is broken. This causes the sugar level in the body to rise to dangerous levels. Diabetes affects the heart, eyes, kidneys, nerves, and skin. If unchecked, diabetes will lead to dehydration, coma, and even death. Even when checked, diabetes can still lead to blindness, heart diseases, strokes, and vascular diseases. Diabetes was first discovered 2,000 years ago in Greek. A Greek physician, Aretaeus, described this disease by giving it the name, siphon. Siphon is the Greek word for diabetes. Diabetes was first diagnosed by sampling the urine of people. If it had a sweet smell or taste, then the person has diabetes. Now, we know that there are two major types of diabetes. The first type, also called juvenile diabetes, is caused when the body 's system destroys the wrong cell. The cell that is destroyed is what creates insulin. Without insulin, the procedure between insulin and glucose is broken. To this day, type 1 diabetes can only be treated with either a surgery…show more content…
Overall, this book made me change my view on diseases. Like many other people, I once believed that diseases such as cancer, diabetes, hemochromatosis, and others had no advantage to humans. From this reading this book, I learned that even though many diseases are deadly and vicious, they also have some advantages to humans as well. A possible future research would have to be on Ebola. Ebola is a malicious disease that first originated in Africa. It would be interesting to see if those with Ebola have any advantages over people who
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