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Tuberculosis
27 Jan' 21

Tuberculosis

 


Tuberculosis (TB) is a life-threatening infectious disease that mostly affects the lungs. Coughs and sneezes release minute droplets into the air, which spread tuberculosis bacteria from person to person. In 1985, tuberculosis infections began to surge in affluent countries, owing largely to the introduction of HIV, the AIDS-causing virus. HIV weakens a person's immune system, preventing it from fighting tuberculosis bacteria. The most commonly used antituberculosis drugs are resistant to several tuberculosis strains. Patients with active tuberculosis must undergo a series of treatments over several months in order to clear the infection and avoid antibiotic resistance.

Symptoms  

Despite the fact that tuberculosis-causing microorganisms can live in your body, your immune system can typically keep you from getting sick. As a result, doctors make the following distinctions: 

Latent Tuberculosis. You have tuberculosis (TB), but your bacteria are dormant and you have no symptoms. Latent tuberculosis, also known as dormant tuberculosis or tuberculosis infection, is a type of tuberculosis that is not contagious. Because latent tuberculosis can progress to active tuberculosis, treatment is essential. 

Active tuberculosis .Tuberculosis is a disease that makes you sick and, in most circumstances, can spread to others. It could happen weeks or years after the tuberculosis bacterium has infected you.

Active TB has the following signs and symptoms:

  • Coughing for three weeks or more  
  • Coughing up blood or mucous is a common symptom.  
  • Pain in the chest, or pain during breathing or coughing  
  • The weight reduction that occurs unintentionally  
  • Fatigue  
  • Fever  
  • Sweats at night  
  • Chills  
  • Appetite loss.  

Tuberculosis can also harm other body parts like the kidneys, spine, and brain.When tuberculosis affects organs other than your lungs, the signs and symptoms differ. Tuberculosis in the spine, for example, can cause back discomfort, while tuberculosis of the kidneys can produce blood in the urine. 

 

When should you see a doctor?  

Consult your doctor if you have a fever, unexplained weight loss, drenching night sweats, or a persistent cough. Although these symptoms are often linked to tuberculosis, they can also be caused by other conditions. Consult your doctor if you fear you've been exposed to TB.  People who are at an elevated risk of tuberculosis should be screened for latent TB infection, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. People who fit this description include those who:  

  

  • You have HIV/AIDS 
  • IV medicines should be used.  
  • You are in contact with infected persons. 
  • You are from a country where tuberculosis is common, such as various Latin American, African, and Asian countries  
  • Work or live in a setting where tuberculosis is prevalent, such as prisons or nursing homes. 
  • Work in health care and treat those who are at high risk of contracting tuberculosis.  
  • children exposed to adults  

  

Causes 

Tuberculosis is caused by bacteria that travel through the air in tiny droplets from one person to the next. This can happen when someone with untreated active tuberculosis coughs, speaks, sneezes, spits, laughs, or sings. Disease is difficult to get tuberculosis, despite the fact that it is contagious. Tuberculosis is much more likely to spread among the individuals with whom you live or work than it is among strangers. Most tuberculosis patients who have been on effective treatment for at least two weeks are no longer contagious.

 

AIDS and tuberculosis    

Because of the development of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, TB cases have climbed considerably during the 1980s. The immune system is suppressed by HIV, making it difficult for the body to handle TB bacteria. As a result, HIV-positive people are substantially more likely than non-HIV-positive people to get tuberculosis and advance from latent to active illness.  

  

Drug-resistant tuberculosis  

Because of the rise in drug-resistant forms, tuberculosis remains a major killer. Some tuberculosis germs have evolved the ability to persist despite medicines over time. This is largely due to people failing to take their medications as prescribed or failing to complete the course of treatment. 

 

Factors that are at risk  

Tuberculosis can affect anyone, however, certain circumstances can raise your risk, such as:  

  

Immune system dysfunction  

A strong immune system may typically defeat tuberculosis bacteria. However, your immune system can be weakened by several illnesses and drugs, including:  

  

  • HIV/AIDS 
  • Diabetes  
  • Kidney failure is a serious condition.  
  • a few types of cancer  
  • Chemotherapy is one type of cancer treatment.  
  • Anti-rejection drugs for transplanted organs  
  • Some rheumatoid arthritis, Crohn's disease, and psoriasis medications  
  • Low body weight or malnutrition  
  • Age, whether very young or very old 
  • Traveling or living in certain areas 

  

Your risk of getting tuberculosis is higher if you live in, emigrate from or travel to areas with high tuberculosis rates. Areas include: 

  

  • Africa 
  • Asia 
  • Eastern Europe 
  • Russia 
  • Latin America 
  • Other factors 

  

Using substances. Your immune system is weakened by IV medications or heavy alcohol consumption, making you more susceptible to tuberculosis. 

Tobacco use. Tobacco smoking dramatically raises the chances of contracting tuberculosis (TB) and dying from it. 

Working in the medical field. Contact with sick persons on a regular basis increases your chances of contracting tuberculosis. Wearing a mask and washing your hands frequently can drastically lower your risk. 

Being a resident or employee of a residential care institution. Overcrowding and poor ventilation put those who live or work in jails, homeless shelters, psychiatric hospitals, or nursing homes at an increased risk of tuberculosis. 

Living with a tuberculosis (TB) patient. You are more likely to contract tuberculosis if you are in close proximity to someone who has it.

Complications  

If left untreated, tuberculosis can be fatal. Untreated active disease primarily affects your lungs, but it can also harm other parts of your body. 

Tuberculosis complications include: 

  • The spine hurts. Back pain and stiffness are common TB side effects. 
  • Joint damage is common. The hips and knees are frequently affected by tuberculosis-related arthritis (tuberculous arthritis). 
  • The membranes that surround and protect your brain enlarge (meningitis). A long-term or intermittent headache, as well as significant mental problems, may follow. 
  • Having issues with your liver or kidneys. Waste and contaminants are removed from the bloodstream by the liver and kidneys.  

Prevention  

If you test positive for latent tuberculosis, your doctor may prescribe medication to lower your chance of acquiring active tuberculosis. Only active tuberculosis (TB) is communicable.  

  • Keep your family and friends safe.  
  • If you have active tuberculosis, it usually takes a few weeks of TB medication before you are no longer contagious. To keep your friends and family from getting sick, follow these guidelines:   
  • Remain at home. During the first several weeks of therapy, avoid going to work or school, as well as sleeping in a shared room.  
  • Make sure the room is well ventilated. Tuberculosis germs are more easily disseminated in tiny, enclosed settings where air does not circulate. If it's not too cold outside, open the windows and let the fresh air in. 
  • Cover your mouth with your hand. When you laugh, sneeze, or cough, cover your mouth with a tissue. Place the soiled tissue in a bag, seal it, and toss it out.  
  • Put on a face mask. During the first three weeks of therapy, wearing a face mask when you're around other people may help reduce the chance of transmission.  

 

Complete your medication.  

This is the most critical step you can take to prevent tuberculosis in yourself and others. TB germs have a chance to evolve modifications that allow them to withstand the most strong TB medications if you quit therapy early or skip doses. Drug-resistant strains are deadlier and more difficult to cure as a result. 

 

Vaccinations  

 

Infants are frequently immunized with the bacilli Calmette-Guerin (BCG) vaccine in areas where tuberculosis is more prevalent. In the United States, the BCG vaccine is not recommended for general use since it is ineffective in adults. Hundreds of novel tuberculosis vaccines are now being developed and tested. 

 

Diagnosis  

During the physical exam, your doctor will look for swelling in your lymph nodes and listen to the noises your lungs make when you breathe with a stethoscope.  

A skin test is the most prevalent tuberculosis diagnostic method, while blood tests are becoming more common. On the inside of your forearm, a little amount of tuberculin is injected just beneath the skin. Only a minor needle prick should be felt.  

A health care expert will examine your arm for swelling at the injection site within 48 to 72 hours. A hard, elevated red lump indicates that you have a tuberculosis infection. The magnitude of the bump influences the significance of the test results. 

 

The outcomes may be incorrect.  

The skin test for tuberculosis isn't ideal. It might sometimes give the impression that someone has tuberculosis when they don't. It can also signal that someone does not have tuberculosis when they have.  If you've just been vaccinated with the bacilli Calmette-Guerin (BCG) vaccine, you could have a false-positive result. In the United States, this tuberculosis vaccination is rarely utilized, but it is frequently used in nations with high TB infection rates.  It's also possible to have false-negative results.  

  

Tests on the blood  

Tuberculosis can be confirmed or ruled out using blood tests. These tests assess how your immune system reacts to tuberculosis germs.  

  

Only one office visit is required for these examinations. If you have a high risk, a blood test may be beneficial. 

Tests of imaging  

  

Your doctor is likely to prescribe a chest X-ray or a CT scan if you have a positive skin test. This could indicate white spots in your lungs where your immune system has blocked TB bacteria from entering your body, or it could reveal alterations in your lungs caused by active tuberculosis.  

  

Tests on sputum  

  

Your doctor may take samples of your sputum — the mucus that comes up when you cough — if your chest X-ray shows signs of tuberculosis. The samples are examined for tuberculosis germs.  

  

Drug-resistant TB strains can also be detected using sputum samples. This aids your doctor in selecting the most effective drugs. It can take four to eight weeks to receive the results of these testing. 

 

Treatment  

If you have latent TB and are at high risk of developing active TB, your doctor may offer pharmaceutical treatment. Antibiotics must be taken for at least six to nine months if you have active tuberculosis. The drugs used and the length of treatment is determined by your age, overall health, drug resistance, and the location of the infection in your body.  

The most often prescribed TB medications  

If you have latent tuberculosis, you may only require one or two TB medications. Active tuberculosis, especially if it's a drug-resistant type, will necessitate the use of many medications at the same time. The following are some of the most commonly prescribed TB medications:  

 

  • Isoniazid 
  • Rifampin (Rifadin, Rimactane) 
  • Ethambutol (Myambutol) 
  • Pyrazinamide 

 

Side effects of medications  

  

Serious TB treatment side effects are uncommon, but when they do occur, they can be deadly. The liver can be harmed by all TB drugs. If you have any of the following symptoms while taking these drugs, contact your doctor right away:  

  

  • Vomiting or nausea  
  • Appetite loss.  
  • Your skin has a yellow tint to it (jaundice)  
  • Urine that is dark in color  
  • Bruising or bleeding that is easy to come by  
  • Vision is hazy 

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