Tuberculosis (TB) is an infectious respiratory disease caused by the bacteria called Mycobacterium Tuberculosis. It usually infects the lungs and may also spread to other parts of the body like your brain or spine.
Mycobacterium Tuberculosis gets transmitted from person to person through tiny droplets released into the air via coughs and sneezes. Tuberculosis can be fatal if not treated properly. According to World Health Organization, three lakh people lost their lives to this lethal disease every year in India. This fatal disease infects nearly 40 percent Indian population.
Types of tuberculosis:
Tuberculosis is classified into two types:
- Latent TB: In this type of infection bacteria is present in the body but in an inactive form and cause no symptoms. It is also known as inactive TB. Though it is in an inactive state it can become active and thus require proper treatment.
- Active TB: In this type of infection bacteria present in the body multiply and make the person sick. A person suffering from active TB can spread the disease to others.
Sometimes active TB and latent TB may become drug resistant which means that certain medications don’t work against them.
Signs and symptoms of Tuberculosis:
Latent tuberculosis does not show any signs or symptoms. It can only be figured out through a blood or skin test. Active tuberculosis on the other hand may show various signs and symptoms which are as follows:
- Pain in the chest while breathing or coughing
- Cough that lasts] for more than two weeks
- Blood in the cough
- Sudden weight loss
- Night sweats
- Loss of appetite
Causes of Tuberculosis:
When a person with an active form of TB sneezes, cough, speaks, spits, etc. They release microscopic droplets in the air which carries germs and spread the bacteria from an infected person to a healthy person.
Risk factors for tuberculosis:
Here are some of the risk factors which increase the chances of getting tuberculosis:
- A healthy person may get the disease from a friend, coworker, or family member who has active TB.
- If a person has traveled or lived in an area where TB is common like Russia, Africa, Asia, Eastern Europe, and the Caribbean.
- A person might get the disease if they live or work in a hospital or nursing home.
- A healthcare worker is also at high risk of TB.
- Use of certain substances like tobacco, drugs, excessive alcohol, or even smoking.
A person with a healthy immune system can fight the disease but here are some conditions and medications which can weaken the immune system:
- Several kidney diseases
- Cancer treatment such as chemotherapy
- Drugs to prevent rejection of transplanted organ
- Certain drugs are used to treat Rheumatoid Arthritis, Crohn’s disease, or Psoriasis
- Malnutrition or low body weight
- Very young or advanced age
Diagnostic Tests for Tuberculosis:
Here are some of the diagnostic tests used to diagnose tuberculosis:
- Skin test also known as Mantoux tuberculin skin test is used to diagnose tuberculosis.
- A blood test also known as Interferon-Gamma release assay (IGRAs) is used to measure the response of TB when mixed up with the blood.
- Sometimes a chest X-ray or CT Scan can also be used to look for changes in the lungs
- Acid-fast Bacillus (AFB) Test can also be used to find the presence of TB bacteria in the sputum of the patient.
Treatment of tuberculosis:
Tuberculosis is treated in the following ways:
- In the case of latent TB, doctors generally prescribe medications that kill the bacteria so that the infection does not become active.
- Active TB is treated with the help of a combination of medicines.
- In the case of drug-resistant TB, the doctor may prescribe one or more different medicines.
Complications involved in Tuberculosis:
Tuberculosis infection can cause certain complications which are as follows:
- Joint damage
- Lung damage
- Infection or damage of the bones, spinal cord, brain, or lymph nodes
- Liver or kidney problems
- Inflammation of the tissue around the heart
- Meningitis (Inflammation or swelling of the covering of the brain)
Prevention from Tuberculosis:
Some ways through which we can prevent or stop the spread of Tuberculosis are as follows:
- Take all your medicines on time as prescribed by the doctor in case of latent infection so it does not become active and contagious.
- Try to cover your mouth while you talk, sneeze, or cough.
- Limit contact with the people during the first week of treatment.
- Always wear a surgical mask when around people.
- Avoid spending time in crowded areas, especially with sick people.
Vaccination for Tuberculosis:
Bacilli-Calmette-Guerin (BCG) is the vaccine often used to vaccinate children in the countries where tuberculosis is common. Doctors generally recommend the use of the BCG vaccine only for children who live with someone who has an active TB infection.
What is the cure for TB?
In India DOTS (Direct Observed Treatment) is the strategy under the Revised National Tuberculosis Control Programme (RNTCP) used to control tuberculosis. DOTS strategy is considered to be cost-effective and is being implemented in more than 180 countries. Since 1993 India has adopted and tested the DOTS strategy in various parts of the country with excellent results. The country achieved nationwide DOTS coverage by March 2006. Modern anti-TB treatment can cure the disease effectively if followed properly for the prescribed duration which in this case is a minimum of 6 months.
Some of the best pulmonologists in Delhi NCR
Dr. Brijesh Prajapat has experience in treating pulmonary medicine, sleep medicine, and critical care medicine. He specializes in treating pulmonary infections, tuberculosis, allergy, etc. with great precision and care.
Dr. Mohan Bandhu Gupta is one of the best pulmonologists in Delhi NCR. He has a great experience of 17 years as a lung specialist.
Dr. Neerav Tyagi has an experience of more than 29 years and specializes in treating tuberculosis, asthma, bronchiectasis, and pneumonia.
Book an appointment at Yashoda Hospital to get the best treatment for tuberculosis.