Tuberculosis (TB) is an infectious disease which is resulted by two organisms, including Mycobacterium bovis and Mycobacterium tuberculosis.
Recent days, tuberculosis still continues to be a main health problem all over the world. Regarding to signs and symptoms of tuberculosis, they range from no symptoms (latent tuberculosis) to the symptoms of active disease. In reality, people might not even be aware that they have latent tuberculosis till it is exposed through a skin test, maybe during a routine checkup. TB is caused by bacteria which spread through the air from person to person. If left untreated, TB disease could be fatal. The TB bacteria often attack the human lungs, yet could also attack many other body parts like the spine, kidneys, and brain.
Tuberculosis, however, is not spread by sharing drink or food, shaking the hands of someone, touching toilet seats or bed linens, sharing toothbrushes, and kissing.
The fact is, not everybody impacted by TB bacteria becomes sick with TB disease. People becoming infected, yet are not sick have latent TB infection, as mentioned earlier. Those have latent TB infection do not get sick, have no signs, and could not spread TB bacteria to other people. The symptoms of tuberculosis disease depend on where in the human body the TB bacteria are developing. TB disease symptoms might contain:
- Pain in the chest when breathing
- A bad cough lasting over 3 weeks
- Coughing up sputum or blood
- Weakness and fatigue
- No appetite
- Shortness of breath
- Weight loss
- Low-grade fever
- Night sweating
If you suspect that you have TB after considered the symptoms of tuberculosis disease above, you should call your doctor. Or, if you have been exposed to an active TB sufferer, you should visit your doctor instantly.
Nearly all of the symptoms of tuberculosis could be misunderstood with symptoms of other diseases. For instance, bloody mucus could also be a symptom of pneumonia or bronchitis. Thus, the evaluation of your doctor is very important to confirm whether you have latent TB disease, active TB infection or other conditions. [Read: symptoms of seasonal allergies]
Who Is At Risk Of TB Most?
Not everyone needs a TB test. You had better get a TB test if you are at enhanced risk. In general, people at higher risk of developing TB infection fall into 2 groups:
- People who have been infected with TB bacteria recently
- People with medical problems that might weaken the immune system.
The conditions/ activities that place you at a higher risk:
- You have spent time with a TB disease sufferer
- You have HIV infection or other conditions that might increase your risk of TB
- You have symptoms of tuberculosis
- You come from a country in which TB disease is popular
- You work or live in the place where TB is common, like migrant farm camp, homeless shelter, several nursing homes, jail or prison
- You take illegal drugs or alcohol
- You were not treated precisely for TB disease or TB infection in the past
Whilst anyone could suffer from TB disease, some individuals who are infected with TB might be more likely to feel sick. There are two types of tests used to determine if an individual whether or not a person has been infected with TB bacteria: TB blood tests and the tuberculin skin test. The TB blood test measures how the immune system reacts the bacteria resulting in TB. It just tells an individual has been impacted by TB bacteria, but it does not tell if he/she has latent TB infection or has active TB disease. Besides, other tests like a chest X-ray as well as a sample of sputum are essential to see if a person has TB infection or disease.
How Is Tuberculosis Treated?
Treatment for TB depends on whether an individual has just TB infection or active TB disease.
The most popular remedy for active TB is INH along with 2-3 other drugs containing pyrazinamide, rifampin, and ethambutol. You will start feeling better only several weeks after taking the drugs.
It is very crucial for you to continue to take the right medicine precisely for the full length of remedy. If you take the medicine incorrectly or stop taking it, you might get sick again and will be able to get infected others with TB. That case, the TB might be more difficult to cure if it has become drug resistant. That means some familiar drugs which are used to previously treat TB could not fight the TB bacteria within the body. The TB which is resistant to over one type of drug named multi drug-resistant TB is extremely dangerous.