Tuberculosis is a bacterial infection caused by Mycobacterium tuberculosis. Most commonly, it attacks your respiratory tract, and sometimes it can spread to other organs too, such as the brain and the spinal cord.
Tuberculosis can become a life-threatening condition. Therefore it needs to be treated as soon as possible. You can also spread it to others through your respiratory droplets. It is a contagious disease. So you need to take extra care in preventing its transmission.
If you have a cough that has become chronic with blood in the sputum, fever, and night sweats, you must consult a healthcare provider about it. Tuberculosis can cause these symptoms, and it needs to be treated soon. To get an expert opinion, visit the Best Pulmonologist in Lahore
For the treatment of tuberculosis, your healthcare providers will prescribe you a combination of antibiotics for around six to nine months. Make sure you take the medications on time without skipping the dose. Tuberculosis drugs may be hard to tolerate because of their side effects. If you do not feel well, tell the healthcare provider about it. But please do not stop taking medication on your own as it can lead to a more problematic condition called drug-resistant tuberculosis. If that happens, your tuberculosis infection may become even more difficult to treat.
Tuberculosis needs to be treated soon. If left untreated, it can lead to life-threatening complications such as permanent lung damage.
What Is Latent Tuberculosis?
If you get exposed to Mycobacterium tuberculosis, that does not mean you will get sick. The bacterium may remain inside your body in an inactive state for a long time, without causing any symptoms- a condition called latent tuberculosis. However, if your immunity gets low, or you get another disease that suppresses your immunity, such as AIDs, cancer, or any other health condition, latent tuberculosis may get activated.
What Are The Symptoms Of Tuberculosis?
The common symptoms of tuberculosis are:
- Coughing up with phlegm with blood
- Consistent low-grade fever
- Night sweats
- Chest pain
- Unexplained weight loss
Your healthcare providers will perform an X-ray and other tests to confirm the diagnosis.
How Does Pulmonary Tuberculosis Spread?
Tuberculosis is an airborne disease. It means you can get it if you inhale the respiratory droplets of the infected person. If an infected person coughs or sneezes in front of you, the chances are that you might inhale those droplets and get infected.
The tuberculosis germs can stay in the air for a long time. Therefore even if the person is not in the room, you might get it. However, tuberculosis is not a highly contagious infection. It takes quite a lot of time for a healthy person to get tuberculosis if living or taking care of a tuberculosis patient.
What Are The Risk Factors For Tuberculosis?
You can get tuberculosis if you spend a lot of time with an infected person. It happens if someone in your family has it and you take care of them. Or it can happen if you spend time in:
- Nursing homes
- Group homes
- Rehabilitation centres
People who are at increased risk of getting tuberculosis are:
- Older adults
- Little children
- People with autoimmune diseases such as systemic lupus erythematosus or rheumatoid arthritis
- People having conditions such as diabetes or kidney diseases
- Drug abusers
- People have a suppressed immune system because of long-term steroid use due to asthma or organ transplant, or taking chemotherapy sessions.
- People have a condition that suppresses their immune system, such as AIDs or cancers.
How Is Tuberculosis Diagnosed?
If you have symptoms of tuberculosis, you must visit the healthcare provider. They will perform various tests to finalize the diagnosis of tuberculosis. When you visit the healthcare provider, they will:
- Take a complete history of your health, living and occupational routine
- Check your lungs for possible fluid accumulation
- Schedule a chest X-Ray
- Order a test to confirm tuberculosis
When you spit out sputum with tuberculosis, your healthcare providers will ask you to collect it and send it to the laboratory. There the microbiologist will check it under the microscope and tell if you have tuberculosis.
Your healthcare providers may also order other tests to finalize the diagnosis of tuberculosis. If you have any symptoms of tuberculosis, you must contact a healthcare provider about it. To get an expert opinion, you can visit a Best Pulmonologist in Rawalpindi.