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Causes of Non-Infectious Diseases

Causes of Non-Infectious Diseases
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  • 0:00 What Is a…
  • 0:51 Inherited Diseases
  • 2:00 Nutritional Disorders
  • 3:31 Environmental Disorders
  • 5:18 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Artem Cheprasov
In this lesson, you're going to learn about three kinds of non-infectious causes of disease. They are inherited disorders, nutritional deficiencies, and environmentally triggered disorders.

What Is a Non-Infectious Disease?

Some of the most common diseases are infectious in nature. That is to say, they are caused by things like viruses, bacteria, parasites, and fungi. As a result, it's not unusual for us to associate the term disease with the term infectious. After all, we do get sick with the cold and flu relatively often and both are caused by viruses.

However, there are a ton of non-infectious diseases and disorders. These are diseases and disorders caused by something other than a microscopic infectious organism. The ways by which these non-infectious diseases and disorders can be classified are many. This lesson takes a look at them from the inherited, nutritional, and environmental perspectives.

Inherited Diseases

Inherited disorders are those that are genetically determined and passed down from parent to offspring. In other words, they have to do with something going amiss with respect to our DNA.

Please don't get an inherited disorder confused with a congenital defect. They are not exactly the same. A congenital defect is one that is present at birth, like a cleft lip. That is to say, a congenital disorder is commonly referred to as a birth defect. An inherited disorder may also be evident at birth, but it doesn't have to be. Certain inherited disorders take years to show up.

Some inherited disorders and their causes include:

  • A monogenic disorder is caused by a mutation in one gene. An example of this is sickle cell anemia.
  • A multifactorial inheritance disorder involves mutations in multiple genes. One example of this is type 2 diabetes.
  • A chromosomal aberration, that is to say, there's something wrong with the structures that actually house our genes (the chromosomes). One example of this is Down syndrome.

Nutritional Disorders

Another major cause of a non-infectious disease is a nutritional deficiency, meaning we are missing or not getting enough of an important compound such as a protein, vitamin, or mineral. There are too many nutritional-based diseases and disorders to list here but we'll zero in on a few as examples.

One of these examples is quite famous. Iron is a metallic mineral that can be found in meat. It is also a very important part of your blood cells. If you have an iron deficiency in your diet, you are at risk of developing anemia, which is a term for a condition where the blood is unable to carry enough oxygen to the tissues. This is because iron is necessary for the production of healthy red blood cells.

Another good example of a nutritional deficiency tied to a disorder has to do with vitamin A. One form of vitamin A can be found in things like carrots and spinach. Vitamin A is critical for the formation of photoreceptive (light-receptive) pigment in the retina. The retina is a structure all the way at the back of the inside of your eye that helps collect visual information. If you have a vitamin A deficiency, you'll be at risk of developing vision problems like night blindness.

Green leafy vegetables not only contain vitamin A, they also contain another important vitamin called vitamin K. Vitamin K is critical for the formation of coagulation (clotting) factors. So what do you think would happen if you had a lack of vitamin K in your body? Well, your blood wouldn't clot very well. This means you're at risk for serious blood loss!

Environmental Disorders

Finally, for our lesson at least, are the environmentally triggered disorders. Environmental disorders are those initiated by some sort of non-infectious particle or substance initially located outside of our body.

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