Tuberculosis is one of the top ten causes of death worldwide. It is an infection caused by a bacteria known as Mycobacterium tuberculosis. It can affect many parts of your body, like bones, the brain, lungs, and the spinal cord. But the most common of them are respiratory tuberculosis, that of lungs.
Tuberculosis is a bacterial infection. Therefore, antibiotics are a mainline treatment for it. Respiratory tuberculosis is contagious. It spreads through respiratory droplets, so the person needs to protect themselves if the patient coughs or sneezes near them. Chronic cough can be a sign of respiratory tuberculosis. Therefore, you must visit an internal medicine specialist in Islamabad if you have a complaint of chronic cough.
Stages of Tuberculosis
The Mycobacterium tuberculosis may enter your body and does not show any symptoms, the state known as latent tuberculosis. In it, the person may remain healthy, and even they may not know about it. Also, they can not transmit tuberculosis to others in this phase. At this stage, your immune system remains active to contain the bacterial load. But you may still need treatment to get rid of germs.
When your immune system weakens due to some reasons, the latent stage of tuberculosis can turn active. It then starts to show signs and symptoms. At this stage, it becomes contagious too, which means one can transmit it to others. Your doctors will treat the infection aggressively at this stage.
Symptoms of tuberculosis
In the latent state, tuberculosis does not show any symptoms. The bacteria remain inactive, in a dormant state in your body. It may not appear on a chest X-ray. But it can be diagnosed through a blood test or a skin prick test.
The signs and symptoms of active tuberculosis are;
nausea and vomiting
loss of appetite
a general feeling of being unwell
pain in neck
Tuberculosis can show some other symptoms too, like;
swollen lymph nodes
Tuberculosis of the lungs may spread via airborne droplets. When the infected person coughs or sneezes, they may leave them on a surface, and a healthy person may catch them by touching it.
The risk factors for getting infected with tuberculosis are
having a weakened immune system
having a tuberculosis infection in the past
not getting the right and complete treatment for tuberculosis in the past
injecting recreational drugs
taking immunosuppressants drugs like prednisolone
living in a closed environment with improper ventilation
Your healthcare provider may perform multiple tests for the confirmation of tuberculosis diagnosis. They may get the following tests done for it.
Physical examination to check swollen lymph nodes.
Listening to lungs sounds
Tuberculosis skin test
Tuberculosis blood test
To differentiate between active and latent state tuberculosis, the healthcare providers may depend on the results of sputum culture and chest X-ray.
Your doctor will prescribe you antibiotics for at least six to nine months for the treatment of tuberculosis. The choice of drugs may vary according to the patient’s age, weight, co-morbidities, allergy history, and the organ where tuberculosis has infected.
You must complete the whole treatment as directed by your physician. If not, it may become more difficult to treat the condition. If a dose is missed or taken in an improper dose, it can result in antibiotic resistance.
To prevent the spread of tuberculosis infection the patient must be kept in isolation. Also, people who are taking care of them must wear a mask while interacting with them.
Tuberculosis is a bacterial infection that can be treated by antibiotics. But one must also get a vaccination against it to keep themselves protected. Moreover, you must maintain a distance from an infected person.
Being compliant with a tuberculosis treatment regimen is an essential thing. One must take all the medicines on time, in the same dose as prescribed by the physician. If you would not do that, it can result in antibiotic resistance, which makes it difficult to treat.
If you are exposed to a person having tuberculosis, you must visit a general physician in Karachi. The healthcare professionals may get your chest X-ray done and may also prescribe antibiotics as prophylaxis.