Tuberculosis is a deadly disease, it is one of the top ten causes of death. According to records, in 2017, 10 million people were affected by Tuberculosis and 1.6 million died. TB is a disease that affects your lungs. It has the potential to affect other parts of the body as well such as the brain, kidney, and spine, etc. It is caused by bacteria called Mycobacterium tuberculosis. The presence of bacteria does not always harm the person. These bacteria harm persons who have a weak immune system. Otherwise, the immune system protects from becoming sick. Once the immune system of the person is weakened then this bacteria can harm the person. A weak immune system can be due to HIV, Diabetes, Cancer Treatment (Chemotherapy) and Malnutrition, etc. It is also a contagious disease, which means it spread from person to person.
Types of Tuberculosis
There are two types of TB based on severity.
- Inactive TB (Latent TB)
- Active TB
This type of TB is also known as Latent TB. This is the very first stage when the bacteria are found in your body. The bacteria remain ineffective and you cannot see symptoms in this type. The immune system of the person protects him. After some time, it changes into Active TB and shows its symptoms when the immune system becomes weak. Inactive TB can be cured, and it does not harm others. There is no danger from a person infected with Inactive TB. Since there are no symptoms, this type of TB is very hard to catch. It can be diagnosed by the Skin test and Blood test.
This type of TB shows symptoms and it is contagious as well. When a person infected with this disease sneezes or coughs or talks, the air is polluted with the bacteria. The person who inhales such bacteria polluted air has a high risk of getting infected. If the person inhaling the air has a weak immune system, then he can be affected. The infected person should avoid meeting people and carry treatment in a hospital.
Symptoms of Tuberculosis:
There are symptoms of tuberculosis, but these symptoms only appear when the person is affected with Active TB or Inactive TB has changed to Active TB due to a weak immune system. The common symptoms of tuberculosis are,
- Cough: If you have a cough for more than three weeks then it can be a sign of Active TB. Never underestimate it and see a doctor as soon as possible.
- Chest Pain: Since tuberculosis affects your lungs in most of the cases; therefore, you’ll feel pain in your chest. There will be a pain in inhaling and exhaling the air.
- Fever: Due to the presence of Mycobacterium tuberculosis, the patient can have fever most of the time.
- Coughing up blood: The infected person will see blood or mucus in the mouth while coughing.
- Fatigue : The person will feel tired, exhausted or lethargic.
- Weight Loss: The infected person will lose weight without any reason. Even if the daily calorie intake is correct, the person will lose weight.
- Loss of appetite: In this condition, the patient does not want to eat. He will not feel hungry. Instead, he will fell nauseous (feeling inclined to vomit).
- Night Sweats: These sweats are not due to environmental conditions. It can drench your clothes and bed sheet.
- Chills: The person might feel cold irrespective of the temperature of the surrounding.
Diagnosis of TB:
The three most common diagnosis of Tuberculosis are,
TB skin test (PPD test)
A small amount of PPD is injected below the inside forearm. PPD is a protein from Mycobacterium tuberculosis. If the injection site is found with red bumps or swelling after 2-3 days, then the person is likely to be infected by Tuberculosis. It is not always 100% true. It can give false results as well.
TB blood test (IGRA test)
The blood test can indicate the presence of Tuberculosis bacteria. Its result is better than the skin test, it is not 100% correct as well. Although it is less likely to give a false result.
Tuberculosis mostly affects the lungs, so it can be diagnosed by Chest X-ray. The infected lungs can be seen in the X-ray result.
If the infected area is other than lungs, then this test is done. A sample of tissue is taken from the affected area to check for Tuberculosis.
Prevention of TB:
There are numerous preventions of Tuberculosis because it’s a contagious disease.
Stay away from the infected person
You need to stay away from the infected person. If he is your relative or sibling, then do not sleep together and make the distance to avoid infection.
Use mask while attending the patient
If you have to attend or take care of the patient, then never forget to put a mask on your mouth. It’ll help you avoid the infected air.
Keep room ventilated
The room of the infected person must be ventilated. This will make the passage of fresh air into the room and it will decrease the density of germs in the air of the room.
TB Skin test and blood test
If you think you might be infected with Tuberculosis, then you should have a TB skin test or blood test. If you are a medical worker in a hospital, then you should have these tests at least once a year.
Treatment of TB:
Tuberculosis can be treated with Antibiotics. Both Active and Inactive TB can be cured with the use of antibiotics. It takes several months to cure the disease. There can be the use of multiple antibiotics in the case of Active TB. The active TB patient is treated in the hospital to avoid the spreading of disease. The most important thing with the treatment is the dosage and the schedule of the medicines. If the patient is not taking the antibiotic carefully on schedule, then the chances of successful treatment are less.
The commonly used medicines are,
These medicines can have several side effects as well. The result of these treatments can be observed by Chest X-ray. The person who has taken the medicine correctly and completed the treatment is less likely to be infected by TB again. The patient has to take care of the treatment to avoid getting it again.