What happens if parasites are left untreated?

Answered by Robert Flynn

If parasitic infections are left untreated, they can have serious consequences for the infected individual. While it is true that parasitic infections are not as common in developed countries like the United States, they can still occur, and their impact should not be underestimated.

One of the reasons why parasitic infections can go unnoticed or undiagnosed is that they often present with few symptoms or symptoms that are easily mistaken for other illnesses. This can lead to delays in seeking medical attention and ultimately in the initiation of appropriate treatment. However, even if the symptoms are mild or non-existent, the parasites are still present in the body and can continue to cause damage over time.

One of the potential complications of untreated parasitic infections is seizures. Some parasites, such as the tapeworm Taenia solium, can migrate to the brain and cause seizures if left untreated. These seizures can be debilitating and can significantly impact a person’s quality of life. In severe cases, they can even lead to permanent brain damage.

Another serious consequence of untreated parasitic infections is blindness. Certain parasites, such as the eye worm Loa loa, can infect the eyes and cause visual impairments if not treated promptly. This can result in partial or complete loss of vision, greatly affecting a person’s ability to perform daily tasks and function independently.

Heart failure is also a potential complication of untreated parasitic infections. Some parasites, like the heartworm Dirofilaria immitis, can infest the heart and blood vessels, causing damage to these vital organs. Over time, this can lead to heart failure, a condition in which the heart is unable to pump blood effectively. Heart failure can be life-threatening and may require immediate medical intervention, including surgery.

In some cases, untreated parasitic infections can even lead to death. Severe infections, particularly in individuals with weakened immune systems or other underlying health conditions, can overwhelm the body’s defenses and cause multiple organ failure. This is especially true for parasitic infections that affect multiple organ systems or release toxins into the body.

It is important to note that the consequences of untreated parasitic infections can vary depending on the type of parasite, the severity of the infection, and the individual’s overall health. However, it is always better to seek medical attention and receive appropriate treatment as soon as possible to prevent potential complications.

While parasitic infections may not be as common in developed countries like the United States, they can still occur and have serious consequences if left untreated. These consequences can include seizures, blindness, heart failure, and even death. Therefore, it is crucial to seek medical attention and receive appropriate treatment to prevent these complications and protect one’s health.