Many chronic, long-term health problems caused by food poisoning

The list of chronic, long-term health problems caused by food poisoning illustrate how dangerous food poisoning can be. These health problems arise and persist far beyond the time that initial symptoms of infection have subsided. Such chronic health problems can include reactive or chronic arthritis, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) or other digestive problems, such as Chron’s disease, high blood pressure, kidney problems, cardiovascular disease and Guillain-Barré syndrome.  Long-term health problems caused by food poisoning can, and have, destroyed lives in the United States.

Reactive Arthritis

Reactive arthritis is an inflammation of the joints that results in pain and swelling caused by infection in another part of the body. The areas of the body most commonly affected are the knees, feet and ankles.  At times, the inflammation can also affect the eyes and the urethra. Reactive arthritis may become chronic and can last for many years.

Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)

IBS causes chronically unpredictable bowels.  To individuals who suffer from IBS, it is particularly noticeable during stressful periods.  When experiencing stress, the nerves become more active and may cause the intestines to be more sensitive. Symptoms can remain mild or severe over time.  Common symptoms include abdominal pain, gas, bloating, diarrhea, constipation and loss of appetite.

Chron’s disease

Chron’s disease is an autoimmune disorder, where the body’s immune system attacks healthy body tissue.  Individuals who suffer from Chron’s disease have chronic inflammation of the intestinal tract.  The affected areas can include the small intestine, large intestine, mouth and rectum. Common symptoms of Chron’s disease include abdominal pain, fever, fatigue, loss of appetite, persistent diarrhea, constipation and weight loss.

High Blood Pressure

Blood pressure measures the force of blood being pumped through the artery walls. When it stays high for an extended period of time, it can be damaging to associated parts of the body, such as the heart, kidneys and blood vessels.  High blood pressure generally presents with no signs or symptoms, but it can lead to coronary heart disease, stroke, heart failure and kidney failure.

Kidney Failure

The proper function of the kidneys is to remove excess liquid, waste, and minerals from the blood.  When the kidneys fail, they are unable to remove these excesses and toxins that build up in the body, and severe complications may result.  Symptoms include lethargy, swelling and shortness of breath. Treatment for kidney failure includes dialysis and kidney transplant.

Cardiovascular Disease

Cardiovascular disease is caused by a narrowing of the arteries, restricting blood flow. The narrowing is often caused by a substance termed “plaque.” Symptoms include chest pain, shortness of breath, fatigue and heart palpitations. The disease can lead to heart attack or stroke.

Guillain-Barré Syndrome

Guillain-Barré syndrome is a rare, but serious disorder.  The immune system attacks an individual’s nervous system, most often affecting the nerve’s covering, the “myelin sheath.” Damage to the myelin sheath causes nerve signals to move more slowly. When other parts of the body’s nerves become damaged, the nerves may stop working altogether.  Symptoms include tingling and muscle weakness before paralysis sets in. Paralysis can be short-term, but it commonly lasts for weeks.