6. The Acute Phase of Chagas Disease
In some cases, the first few weeks of Chagas disease may present no symptoms. However, it is possible to experience mild symptoms of fever, body aches, rash, diarrhea, and vomiting. Since these symptoms resemble many other conditions, the affected individual may not realize Chagas is the cause. If bug poop containing the Chagas disease parasite is rubbed into an individual’s eye, the eye may become swollen. While a patient may feel better a few weeks after an infection, it is essential to use medication to kill the parasite, or it will remain present in the body.
5. The Chronic Phase of Chagas Disease
If parasites remain in the body, a person enters the chronic phase of Chagas disease. This phase lasts for years. Again, some individuals experience no signs or symptoms of infection. However, the CDC reports that 20-30 percent of infected individuals will suffer from heart disease or gastrointestinal (GI) disorders. Cardiac complications may include heart failure, heart rhythm disorders, heart attack, and sudden death. GI complications may consist of an enlarged esophagus or colon. This can cause difficulty in eating or having bowel movements.
4. Diagnosis of Chagas Disease
According to the Mayo Clinic, if your doctor suspects Chagas disease, he or she will use a blood test to confirm infection with the Trypanosoma cruzi parasite. Also, your doctor may use additional tests such as x-rays, electrocardiograms, and echocardiograms to determine the effects of this infection on your organs. Furthermore, your doctor may use an endoscope to check for damage to your esophagus. These tests will help your physician to determine if you are in the acute phase of infection or the chronic phase of infection.Related: 13 Everyday Items That May Help You Banish Ants from Your Home