What Is Tuberculosis? Causes, Symptoms, Treatment
Tuberculosis is a contagious disease that usually affects the lungs. It can also spread to other parts of the body such as brain and spine. Like other diseases caused by a single infectious agent, Tuberculosis the second deadly disease in the world. The bacteria that cause Tuberculosis are spread from one person to another through tiny droplets released into the air through sneezes and coughs.
CDC estimates that 1/3rd of the world’s population is suffered from TB with about 1.8 million deaths each year. In the 20th century, Tb was a leading cause of death in the whole world. But today, most cases are cured with antibiotics. But it takes a long time at least 6 to 9 months.
People with active tuberculosis must take various kinds of medications for several months to eradicate the infection and prevent the development of antibiotic resistance. A bacterium called Mycobacterium tuberculosis causes the disease. Tb has likely been infecting humans for many centuries. In addition to that, the evidence of YB infections has been found in cadavers that date back to 8000 BC.
Tuberculosis is communicable, but it’s not easy to catch. The germs grow gently. You frequently have to spend a lot of time around a person who has it. That is why it’s mostly spread among co-workers, family members, and friends.
TB bacteria especially grow in the lungs and can develop symptoms such as:
- A bad cough that lasts 3 weeks or more than that
- You may experience pain in the chest
- Coughing up blood or sputum (mucus from deep inside the lungs)
- Weakness or fatigue
- No appetite
- Sweating at night
Hold your breath, TB disease can be treated by taking medicines. But it is important that people whose disease are treated, complete the dose and take them exactly as prescribed. In case you stop taking the medicine, you may become sick again. Also, the bacteria that are still alive may become resistant to those drugs.
Medications are the cornerstone of tuberculosis treatment. But treating this disease takes much longer time than treating other kinds of bacterial infections. For TB you must take antibiotics for at least 6 to 9 months. The length of treatment depends on your age, overall health, a possibility of drug resistance m the form of TB (latent or active). And the infected locations in your body. The most common drugs given for TB patients are:
- Rifampin (Rifadin, Rimactane)
- Ethambutol (Myambutol)
Serious side effects of Tuberculosis’drugs aren’t usual but can be fatal when they do occur. All TB medications can be highly toxic to your liver. So, while following these medications, call your doctor immediately if you experience any of these:
- Nausea or vomiting
- Loss of appetite
- Yellow colored skin (jaundice)
- Dark Urine
- High fever that lasts 3 or more days and has no obvious cause