Tuberculosis: Causes, Symptoms and Treatment

 


Tuberculosis:

Tuberculosis is an infectious disease that affects your lungs, if left untreated it can infect your brain and spine too.

Currently, it is among one of the top ten causes of death worldwide. And during the 20th century, since there was no cure for it Tuberculosis was one of the leading causes of death all over the world.

Types:

There are two major types of Tuberculosis (TB) :

1.     Latent TB:

People who are infected with this type of TB don’t have any symptoms related to the disease and they are also not contagious. It is because their immune system doesn’t lets the disease infect their bodies. But since the disease is still there in their body it can become active even after years of being dormant.

2.     Active TB:

If you are diagnosed with this type of TB it means that the bacteria in your body is multiplying and is causing symptoms. If your lungs have been infected you can spread TB to others too.

Causes:

Mycobacterium tuberculosis is the name of bacteria that causes Tuberculosis, it is spread through air just like common cold and flu. And since tuberculosis is a highly contagious disease anyone can catch it if they come in contact with someone who has the disease.

How is Tuberculosis transmitted?

This is how tuberculosis is transmitted: when a person with TB speaks, sings, coughs or sneezes they leave infected droplets that get mixed in the air, now when a healthy person inhales that infected air they get the disease.

Symptoms:

Symptoms of Tuberculosis look like:

       a cough that lasts more than three weeks

       blood in the sputum

       fever

       chills

       loss of appetite

       pain in belly or stomach

       nausea and vomiting

       unexplained or sudden weight loss

       weakness and fatigue

       confusion

       headaches

Seek advice from the Best Pulmonologist in Lahore if you are suffering from any of the above mentioned symptoms.

Risk factors:

Following are the factors that make some people more likely of getting tuberculosis than others:

       Having a friend or family member that has TB.

       Living in a community centre, hostel or a prison.

       Being a habitant of Russia, Africa, Asia, Caribbean, Latin America, Mexico and Eastern Europe or travelling to these or other parts of the world where TB is common.

       Being a health worker.

       Being a smoker.

       Being a diabetic.

       Being a cancer patient.

       Having chemotherapy for the treatment of cancer.

       Having HIV (AIDS).

       Having kidney disease.

       Being malnourished or underweight.

       Taking medications for the treatment of psoriasis, lupus, rheumatoid arthritis and Crohn’s disease.

Diagnosis:

Common diagnostic procedures performed to diagnose Tuberculosis are:

1.     Blood tests:

Blood tests used for diagnosing Tuberculosis are called IGRAs (interferon-gamma release assays). They measure the response of your blood when Tuberculosis proteins are mixed with it.

2.     Skin test:

Skin test used to diagnose Tuberculosis is called Mantoux tuberculin skin test. For this test lab technicians inject PPD tuberculin into your forearm’s skin. If you have TB a red bump will develop at the site of injection and if you don’t have the disease your skin won’t react.

3.     Chest X-rays, CT scans and ultrasounds:

Chest X-rays, CT scans and ultrasounds are also recommended to diagnose TB. These imaging procedures look for the changes in the appearance of your lungs to tell if you have TB or not.

Treatment:

       Here is how latent TB is treated:

People diagnosed with latent TB are prescribed medications that they need to take regularly for 6 to 9 months. These medications work as preventive therapy to stop the disease from becoming active.

       Here is how active TB is treated:

For patients who have active TB, antibacterial medications are prescribed that they need to take for 6 to 12 months.

The Best Pulmonologist in Karachi advises active TB patients to continue taking medications for the time instructed by their pulmonologist to avoid falling sick again.

       Here is how drug resistant TB is treated:

If you have drug resistant TB, it means that the medications that were being used to treat TB in the past are no longer working for you.

To treat this condition, your doctor will prescribe you with a combination of different medications that you will have to take for upto 30 months. 

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