What is tuberculosis?
Tuberculosis is an infectious bacterial disease that impacts the lungs and their tissues thereby impairing their functioning. Mycobacterium tuberculosis, a kind of bacteria, is the chief cause of this infection. The bacteria spread from person to person through the air and primarily target the lungs, though they can also harm other parts of the body.
If you have the infection but no symptoms, then you have latent tuberculosis infection (also called latent TB). The TB might appear to have subsided, but it still lies within.
If you have active tuberculosis or tuberculosis disease, you are infected, experience symptoms, and are spreadable (TB disease).
These are the three stages of TB:
What causes tuberculosis?
Tuberculosis is spread through mycobacterium tuberculosis bacteria. The bacteria is airborne and typically affects the lungs, though they can also affect other body areas. TB is contagious and although it doesn’t spread quickly, it can be quite fatal. To contract it, you typically need to be close to an infectious person for an extended period.
How is tuberculosis spread?
When a person with active TB disease coughs, sneezes, talks, sings, or even laughs, they might release bacteria into the air and transmit the disease. Only those with an active lung infection are contagious. Most people who inhale TB bacteria can combat it and prevent it from spreading. Some people have a latent TB infection because the bacteria become inactive.
Symptoms of tuberculosis?
Most patients who are exposed to the bacterium don’t immediately develop tuberculosis symptoms. There are three stages to the infection each with its symptoms.
Primary TB Infection – The bacteria first enter your body at this point. The majority of people affected by this have no symptoms, although a few may develop a fever or pulmonary problems. Most individuals with a strong immune system will not show any signs of infection, but in a small number of cases, the bacteria may spread and result in actual disease. The majority of original TB infections are asymptomatic, and a latent TB infection develops later.
Latent TB – Tests can be used to locate the bacterium in your body, but it is dormant. At this point, you don’t have any symptoms and cannot transmit the illness to others.
Active TB – TB bacteria spreads rapidly in this stage. You’ll feel ill and may spread illness to others. It’s critical to get treatment to prevent problems and spread the infection to others.
Other common symptoms of TB include:
- Heavy cough
- Coughing blood
- Chest Pain
- Weight Loss
How is tuberculosis most commonly diagnosed?
The tuberculin skin test, commonly known as the Mantoux test or PPD (purified protein derivative), is the initial TB test performed. In this procedure, the forearm skin is injected with a TB bacteria-based solution. After 48 or 72 hours, the injection spot will be examined to understand the severity of the situation. Results can occasionally be inaccurate, displaying false positives or false negatives hence other methods are also used to diagnose TB. Blood tests, sputum tests, and biopsy are other common tuberculosis diagnosis methods
How is tuberculosis treated?
Consult a doctor for treatment and medication. Several medications are prescribed the world over for TB treatment. You will be required to take these medications for the duration specified by your doctor, which may be up to nine months. Certain TB strains have developed drug resistance. It’s really important, and your doctor may likely treat your TB with more than one medication. It’s crucial to follow your prescription exactly.