Tuberculosis or “TB?”



Tuberculosis was a common and very deadly infectious disease that luckily is affecting fewer people since the world has available to it now a vaccine for it. Unfortunately, there are still a high number of people dying from this infection yearly. This disease, often abbreviated TB, is caused by mycobacteria such as Mycobacterrium tuberculosis. It most commonly attacks the lungs which is why it is associated and classified with other lung diseases and conditions. However, TB can also attack other parts of the body such as the central nervous system, circulatory system, bones, joints, skin and even the lymphatic system.

It may be shocking to know that over 1/3 of the world’s population has been exposed to the bacteria that cause TB at some time. However, not everyone who is exposed will contract TB. Some also have asymptomatic or latent tuberculosis infections. One in ten of these latent infections will develop into active TB. Untreated tuberculosis will kill more than half of people infected with it so if you know or suspect you have it, prompt treatment is crucial.

You should get to a doctor right away to be tested and treated for your TB infection before it worsens and causes death or severe, irreversible lung damage. TB also commonly affects people with AIDS, HIV and other immune-declining conditions. When the immune system is weakened, such as with these conditions, it makes it easier for the person to contract TB and harder for the body to fight it.

Symptoms of TB

Some symptoms of TB are chest pain, prolonged cough for more than three weeks, coughing up blood, fever, chills, night sweats, appetite loss, weight loss, pallor and fatigue. These symptoms are also common in other conditions and diseases and other lung conditions so if you think you may have been exposed to TB and are now showing these symptoms, you will need to see your doctor for a definite diagnosis.

How do you get tuberculosis?

There are different ways of contracting TB. It is contagious if you are around someone else who has it. The person with TB may expel the bacteria when they breathe, cough, sneeze, talk, kiss or spit. It can also be contracted from sharing needles with a person who is infected. People in high risk conditions such as health-care workers or those people on immune-suppressant drugs will need to be extra careful of contracting tuberculosis.

Treatment for tuberculosis involves an antibiotic to kill the bacteria that are causing the disease. You may also be given medications to ease your symptoms until the bacteria is gone. You many be quarantined until the active stage is passed and you are no longer contagious. Treatment is very important to ensure you can live a long and healthy life, even after you’ve had tuberculosis.

There have been numerous peoples who have fully recovered from this disease called TB.

Sourced and published by Henry Sapiecha 24th August 2009


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