Tuberculosis – Causes, Treatment, Symptoms, and Diagnosis

Tuberculosis - Causes, Treatment, Symptoms, and Diagnosis
Tuberculosis – Causes, Treatment, Symptoms, and Diagnosis

Tuberculosis, referred as TB, is a severely infectious disease that affects your lungs. It is caused by bacteria called Mycobacterium tuberculosis. These bacteria can attack your lungs and other body parts as well.  Tuberculosis is one of the most common diseases in today’s era. It can spread very easily just like flu. A mere sneeze or cough can infect the surrounding people. Although it is easy to spread, it is still difficult that it will develop in a person very quickly. Tuberculosis is both preventable and curable, given that action is taken on it in due time.

Symptoms of Tuberculosis

Some people may be infected with TB bacteria, but they may not feel any difference for years. Such kind of TB is known as latent Tuberculosis .This is when the bacteria are inactive and it may stay silent for years. Active Tuberculosis is the dangerous one where the bacteria are active and it damages you and the people around you. Many of the common symptoms of tuberculosis are chest pain, fever and night sweat. You will experience severe coughing that can last for more than three weeks. You may also face appetite loss, weight loss or feel lethargic more often. If any of the conditions prevail, consult a doctor for further attendance. Tuberculosis not only affects your lungs but it can also affect other parts of your body such as the kidney or brain.

Causes of Tuberculosis

Tuberculosis is caused by the bacteria called Mycobacterium tuberculosis. TB bacteria can move through air in the form of droplets and transfer from person to person through coughing, sneezing, speaking and singing. You may easily catch the bacteria, but it may remain inactive for years and be harmless for a very long time. For this reason, if a person is to catchy tuberculosis, he would have been around the infected person for a very long time, e.g. a working mate or family member, where interaction is frequent .People who have tuberculosis and are on a treatment for two weeks, may not be contagious.

Diagnosis of Tuberculosis

There are many ways in which a doctor can diagnose if you have tuberculosis. He will examine you and listen to your lungs through his statoscope. He may do a skin test to see if you are infected. A small amount of substance will be injected in your skin and the nurse will check it later on to see if there has been any swelling indicating Tuberculosis. However this test result can sometimes be misguiding. For this reason, there are blood tests and other imaging tests such as chest X-Ray or CT scan .The doctor may also check your sputum to test for TB.

Treatment of Tuberculosis

Treatment of Tuberculosis is a very long procedure as compared to other bacterial infections. You have to take the full course of your medications that is most likely to be six to nine months long. The medications will depend on your health conditions, age, weight and your other medical history if any. Some of the medication for Tuberculosis can mess with the liver function as well so you need to monitor your health very carefully to minimize other injuries. In case of latent TB, you may be prescribed to only a single drug to help you. The names of these drugs are Isoniazid, Rifampin, Ethambutol and Pyrazinamide .The doctor may also add in other antibiotics for you. There may be side effects such as vomiting, darkening of urine color or nausea.

Point to Ponder It is a must that you take the medications for the whole course even though you start feeling better earlier. By doing this, it will prevent the TB bacteria to get active again in the future. Missing out on dosage will affect your Tuberculosis. Make sure that you do not stop your course earlier or skip out on any extra details that are given by the doctor.