Chlamydia pneumoniae, not to be confused with the sexually transmitted disease with a similar name, is contracted by ingesting the airborne organism from an infected person who has coughed. The organism is thought to play a role in the development of a number of different diseases including rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis, interstitial cystitis and other conditions.
Unlike many types of bacteria, chlamydia pneumoniae cannot survive for long outside of the cells of the body. Since this organism resides inside the cells, it cannot be easily treated with antibiotics. This trait also makes it extremely difficult to diagnose. It is typically diagnosed due to inflammation markers rather than discovery of the organism itself.
The body's natural immune system does not usually recognise chlamydia pneumoniae as a threat because it is camouflaged by residing within the cells. The organism feeds off of the energy generated by the cell, thus it has no need to create its own energy.
Unlike most bacteria chlamydia pneumoniae undergoes three distinct phases in its life cycle. In its early, spore-like elementary bodies stage, chlamydia pneumoniae can spread throughout the body via the bloodstream. Once a spore penetrates a cell it enters the reticulate bodies stage, which is the organism's active stage. At this stage the organism uses the cell's energy to reproduce more elementary bodies. The organism will enter into a hibernation phase call the cryptic stage until conditions are right to kill the host cell and release the elementary bodies into the bloodstream.
Once diagnosed, chlamydia pneumoniae may be treated with a combined antibiotic protocol. This is a complex procedure that has unpleasant ramifications for the patient because chlamydia pneumoniae produces toxins that it releases when it dies. This can result in inflammation that can be quite uncomfortable and may make the patient feel sick.
Treating chlamydia pneumoniae can be a long, drawn-out process that can take months to complete. Inflammation can settle in the joints, particularly in older patients, making continuing with the treatments difficult. Some of the symptoms produced by the combined antibiotic protocol can mimic symptoms of accompanying conditions such as MS. Known as pseudo-relapses, these do not produce any damage to the patient. Before beginning such treatment, the patient should be sure their physician is well versed in this treatment protocol.
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