by Kele Thrailkill
Candidia albicans causes several diseases all of which are opportunistic infections. The most sever are in immuno-compromised individuals. Known as Candidias in general, there are several specific names for the various Candida diseases based upon where the Candida has grown out of control.
Oral candidiasis (Thrush) – Mouth and sometimes respiratory system in sever cases.
Perlèche (Angular Cheilitis) - the edges of the mouth where the lips meet.
Candidal vulvovaginitis – Vagina.
Candidal intertrigo/ cutaneous candidiasis – between folds of skin anywhere on the surface of the body.
Candidal paronychia – the fingernails or toenails.
Erosio interdigitalis blastomycetica – on the soft webbing of the fingers and toes.
Systemic candidiasis – in the blood, usually in severely immuno-compromised people.
Candida are commensals for our skin and our mucus membranes including our gut. They prefer moisture and a moderately low pH. They’re growth is usually held in check by microbial antagonism. Candida presence can be confirmed with microscopy or by ELISA. However this is not always useful as it could simply be present as part of the natural fauna, thus making it difficult to pin down as the etiologic agent of a symptom. Candida is the most common fungal biofilm on medical devices. (1) Infection occurs when the natural flora of the area are thrown out of balance, this could be due to a number or reasons; the most common being change in environmental conditions such as excessive moisture, change in pH, or that the competing commensals of the area are killed off, often due to antibiotic usage. The incubation period for a Candida infection is usually between 2-5 days.
Candida was first described by Christine Marie Berkhout in 1923 in the Netherlands.
Each disease has different symptoms based on what area is infected. The mucosal infections appear as white splotchy patches on the membranes. Cutaneous infections are usually red rash like areas with small red satellite marks around the area with small lesions in the surrounding area. Crusting of the skin can also occur; this is seen in Perlèche and in Erosio interdigitalis blastomycetica. If these regions are continually moist this skin can become soft and slough off. When the feel have a candical infection it can often be confused with athlete’s foot. Paronychia usually shows malformation of the toenail and redness surrounding the area of infection. Systemic Candidiasis symptoms are very common such as fever and chills “One form of invasive candidiasis, candidemia (a bloodstream infection with Candida), is the fourth most common bloodstream infection among hospitalized patients in the United States.” (2) It makes it difficult to diagnose, and if left untreated for long can quickly lead to death.
Candida has two forms, the classic yeast form and a hyphea form. The hyphea form is the more virulent form and is much more invasive, its long tread-like nature also makes it much more difficult to phygocytose. (3)
Again, treatment is specific to the type of disease. Topical clotrimazole and topical nystatin are common for cutaneous infections usually applied twice daily for 7-10 days. (4) Oral fluconazole is common for mucosal infections. Amphotericin B, caspofungin, or voriconazole are common for treating systemic cases.
Candidiasis usually clears up on its own given time and a healthy diet; chronic cases are usually caused by another factor such as obesity, malnutrition, or diabetes. Goldenseal Garlic, Lactobacillus (from yogurt), and Lactoferrin can help prevent/fight minor infections.
Recently the mechanism causing Candida to morph from its yeast form to its hypheal form was discovered. The chemical that causes the switch, as well as the receptor for the chemical in the yeast are both being looked into as possible means to prevent the more serious diseases associated with Candida albicans.(3)
Obviously, review of global and local cases would be silly.
The last thing I wanted to mention was the prevalence of unscientifically founded belief in a sub-clinical systemic Candidiasis. The idea is that when Candidiasis occurs in the gut it does not get diagnosed as the symptoms very greatly from person to person and that the effects it have are often subtle and complex in there interaction with a persons health. This train of thought may very well have good merit as little testing has been done to prove its existence or deny it. However, it is not generally accepted by most of the medical community as being a legitimate disease. (5)
1. He, X. Y., J. H. Meurman, K. Kari, R. Rautemaa, and L. P. Samaranayake (2007, January 7). The Fungi – Description – C.albicans. DoctorFungus. Retrieved December 6, 2009, from http://www.doctorfungus.org/Thefungi/Candida_albicans.htm
2. Division of Foodborne, Bacterial and Mycotic Diseases (2008, March 27). Disease Listings - Candidiasis. CDC. Retrieved December 6, 2009, from http://www.cdc.gov/nczved/dfbmd/disease_listing/candidiasis_gi.html#35
3. Institute of Molecular an Cell Biology (2008 July 17). Singapore Researchers Identify Virulence Factor That Induces Fatal Fungal Infection. Agency for Science Technology and Research. Retrieved December 6, 2009, from http://www.imcb.a-star.edu.sg/pressarchive/170708p.pdf
4. A. Damian Dhar, MD, JD (2008 August). Skin Disorders – Fungal Skin Infection – Candidiasis. Merck. Retrieved December 6, 2009, from http://www.merck.com/mmhe/sec18/ch212/ch212b.html
5. Frank Jenners (2004 May 9). The Chronic Candidiasis Syndrome. Frank Jenners. Retrieved December 6, 2009, from http://www.cfs-recovery.org/docdarren2.html
This is not the best website, in fact I think its one guys rant, but I found it to be extremely well thought out for not being a “peer reviewed” site. And was by far the most legit website I could find espousing the ideas of the fringe community.