Pulmonary TB is a contagious and airborne disorder which occurs due to the bacteria Mycobacterium Tuberculosis. This infection damages the body tissues rapidly. Pulmonary TB occurs when Mycobacterium TB attacks the vital organ of the body, i.e., lungs. This disease spreads quickly from one organ to another. This disease is curable with a proper treatment plan and immediate diagnosis. With the use of antibiotics, TB has vastly declined in several countries around the globe, but still, it is one of the leading causes of death worldwide. Around one-third of the world’s population suffer from TB, but only 10-15% of these individuals develop an active form of TB.
You might be exposed to TB, but this does not indicate that you have active TB, most of the people suffer from latent TB where the healthy immune system protects an individual against the bacterium. Latent TB may turn into active TB, especially in conditions where there is a weak immune system in diseases like HIV.
The symptoms of Mycobacterium TB include:
- Blood in cough
- Phlegm in cough
- Night sweats
- Weight loss
- Appetite loss
- Nausea or vomiting
- Low-grade, consistent fever
- chest pain
- breathing difficulty
The risk factors for pulmonary TB include close contact with people suffering from TB, for example, at home or workplace. You can also catch infection at shelters, hospitals, nursing homes, group homes, or correctional facilities. Individuals who are at the risk of developing TB include young children, old adults, people who are on injectable drugs, people suffering from medical conditions like kidney disease or diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, or lupus. People who have a weak immune system like HIV, undergoing radio or chemotherapy and people who are on steroids can also suffer from TB.
The diagnosis of pulmonary TB starts with a physical examination where the doctor evaluates the fluid build-up in the lungs, swollen lymph nodes, and unusual breath sounds. Then medical and family history is asked, after which chest X-ray is performed. Other medical tests like bronchoscopy, CT scan, sputum cultures, thoracentesis, interferon-gamma release blood test, a tuberculin skin test, or biopsy are also performed to confirm the diagnosis of pulmonary TB.
TB is preventable; you can immediately have a skin test if you feel that you are exposed to the bacterium. The sooner you get yourself tested, the better it is. If your test appears negative, then get yourself tested again at a later date. If the test seems positive, then you are exposed to the bacteria, get yourself treated as soon as possible, and consult your healthcare physician.
The treatment plan for controlling TB includes a combination of medicines that helps in curing the infection. You need to take these medicines as prescribed by the doctor for 6-7 months to completely cure it. If you stop taking pills, then the symptoms of TB might get severe and result in an incurable disease. Pulmonary TB can lead to certain complications if not treated properly. It can permanently damage the lungs and spread to different body parts.
TB is an airborne condition that does not spread by sharing drinks, foods, shaking hands, sleeping, or kissing. It is contagious but spreads when you breathe the exhaled air of a patient suffering from TB. For instance, you can get the infection if a person sings, laughs, coughs, or sneezes.
Until Next Time,
Team Doctor ASKY!