Overview of Tuberculosis

Tuberculosis is an infectious disease and it affects the lung but can affect the other body parts as well. It is caused by the bacterium ‘Mycobacterium tuberculosis’.  As per the recent survey by the World Health Organisation (WHO) 1.7 million deaths were caused due to the infectious disease tuberculosis in 2016. It’s a highly contagious disease which means it can travel from one person(Infected) to another person(healthy) however, its symptoms may vary. If not treated on time it can lead to death as well because infection spread very fast in the body affecting other organs such as liver, kidney, and lungs. Government organizes various drives to control it through doorstep visits to electronic mediums.  Most common diagnostic test for TB is a skin test where a small injection of PPD tuberculin, an extract of the TB bacterium, is made just below the inside forearm.

Symptoms of Tuberculosis

Tuberculosis mainly affects the lungs but it can affect other parts of the body however, it depends upon the severity of the infection or disease. Its symptoms may vary from person to person and we have specified some of the common symptoms underneath:

  • Hemoptysis (Cough with blood or mucus)
  • Shivering
  • Fatigue
  • Fever
  • Loss of Appetite
  • Weight loss
  • Breathlessness
  • Chest pain
  • Swollen lymph nodes

**Above mentioned symptoms is for reference and individual should seek medical advice for the diagnose.

Types of Tuberculosis

Tuberculosis is of many types as reported however most individuals get affected by two main TB termed as Active TB and Latent TB. We have specified the general definition of two major TB underneath:

  • Active TB – It is a contagious disease which produces the active symptoms of the disease such as the presence of TB bacteria in the sputum followed by other symptoms of TB. Multidrug treatment is required to cure active TB due to the severity of the infection else if not treated can lead to multi-organ failure or fatal. Isolation of the patient is suggested as it can spread the infection through airborne bacteria particles transmitted by the individual in a cough
  • Latent TB – Person is affected by Mycobacterium Tuberculosis and generally doesn’t show symptoms of TB. It is difficult to diagnose the latent TB due to the absence of abnormality in chest X-ray however, tuberculin skin test (TST) can be used to diagnose the latent TB. It’s a non-contagious disease but it can lead to immune system failure if not treated timely. Individual suffering through latent TB are prone to get infected by HIV as the immune system is not strong enough to protect the body from the infection or disease

Risk factors for Tuberculosis

Surprisingly, anyone can be affected by TB due to the bacteria in the air which is breathed in and is traveled through an affected person. Several other risk factors can cause tuberculosis which we have specified underneath:

  • Use of Tobacco
  • Excess Alcohol consumption or abuse
  • Diabetes
  • Kidney disease
  • Malnourishment
  • Cancer such as leukemia, head or neck, lung cancer
  • Low body weight
  • Silicosis
  • Medications used to suppress the immune system

As per the recent surveys, TB is spreading in the world through the middle or low-income countries specified underneath:

  • Sub Saharan Africa
  • Mexico
  • China
  • India
  • Islands of Southeast Asia
  • Parts of Russia

**Above mentioned risk factors are only for reference and may not be concluded as the advice.

Causes of Tuberculosis

Tuberculosis causes depend upon the severity of the disease however, we have specified the general causes underneath:

  • Mycobacterium Tuberculosis
  • Sneezing or Coughing by the already infected person
  • Spits or sputum
  • Low immune system
  • Direct contact with the infected person

TB is highly contagious however, it is not easy to get infected by a stranger but you may catch TB with the person you live or meet frequently.

Diagnose Tuberculosis

Tuberculosis can be diagnosed through various test and procedures. Specialist decides the proper diagnose strategy for TB due to different types of TB existence, We have specified the general diagnose procedure underneath:

  • Skin Test – A small amount of tuberculin is injected inside your skin just below the forearm and advised to visit after 3 days to identify the presence of welt over the skin or not. If welt is found over the skin that means you are TB positive and need medical treatment on a priority
  • Blood Test – Specialist may take some blood samples for the test such as Quantiferon and T-spot. If the test shows positive results which usually take 1 or 2 days for the report then you may seek medical advice for the treatment
  • Chest X-ray – It is the most common diagnose procedure for TB and it shows some spots on the lung which reflects the presence of TB infection and indicate that your body is isolating the TB bacteria and you should consult for the treatment to avoid severe complication

Treatment of Tuberculosis

Tuberculosis can be treated by medical procedures and medicines as prescribed by the specialist however, it depends upon the type of TB and severity of the disease. We have specified the general combination of treatment and medicine underneath:

  • Isoniazid
  • Ethambutol
  • Pyrazinamide
  • Rifampin
  • Rifapentine
  • Bedaquilin
  • Linezolid

**Above mentioned treatment if for reference and it is recommended to consult a specialist for the advice.

Prevention of Tuberculosis

Tuberculosis can be prevented by simple lifestyle changes and precautions. We have specified the reported preventions of TB underneath:

  • BCG (Bacillus Calmette Guerin) vaccine
  • Antibiotic course
  • Isolation of the infected person
  • Anti TB drugs
  • Face mask
  • Avoid physical contact with the infected person

Disclaimer: Nothing in this article is to be construed as medical advice, nor it is intended to replace the recommendations of a medical professional. For specific questions, please consult a specialist for the advice.

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