What is tuberculosis? Who are at risk and what causes it? How can we treat it? These are just some questions that need to be tackled when talking about tuberculosis. Fortunately, this post can give you answers to your lingering questions.
What Is Tuberculosis Or TB?
TB is a communicable disease that we can get from Mycobacterium tuberculosis. This disease involves your lungs. When bacteria increase in your lungs, it results to pneumonia and then later affects your central nervous system, lymphatic system, and circulatory system.
This disease is categorized into two – active and latent. The former exhibits symptoms and is highly infectious. On the other hand, the latter is a complete opposite wherein it is non-contagious and symptom-free.
What Causes TB?
As mentioned, TB is caused by Mycobacterium tuberculosis. If you happen to inhale airborne particles from a sneeze or saliva from a person with TB, you will get TB. As soon as those particles get to your alveoli, your macrophage swallows up the bacteria.
The bacteria then spread into your lymphatic system, bloodstream, and other organs. However, there is a chance that you will not be infected with this disease if you have a robust immune system.
Who Are At Risk Of Tuberculosis?
Anyone can get this disease. However, you will be more susceptible to this disease if you are:
- From countries or areas with large cases of TB
- Health care worker or a social worker
- Infected with HIV
- Infected with a diseases that weakened your immune system (examples are diabetes and cancer)
- Living in too crowded areas such as refugee camps or prison
- Living with a person with TB
- Poverty-stricken or homeless
What Are The Symptoms Of Tuberculosis?
The symptoms may not show until TB is in its advanced stage. In general, the symptoms are inexplicable weight loss, exhaustion, shortness of breath, fever, chills, night sweats, and appetite loss. However, these signs can be pointed out as another illness. You might want to have yourself checked to be sure.
Coughing for more than 3 weeks and chest pain are symptoms of TB that is directed to the lungs.
How Is Tuberculosis Treated?
Doctors will prescribe you with medications that you should consume for about six to nine months. The usual treatment includes Rifater, Isoniazid and rifampin, and ethambutol. Treatment takes nine months since the bacteria do not die easily.
In addition to that, a combination of drugs is used since the bacteria are very resilient. The medicines are altered depending on your laboratory results. It is also important that you religiously take your medicines. Failure to comply with your doctor’s advice will cause the bacteria to become more resistant to your treatment.
To be safe, have your family and friends checked for tuberculosis.
Is There A way To Prevent Tuberculosis?
Yes, there is! You can have your children immunized with BCG vaccine. To better protect yourself, consume fruits and vegetables. Eat a healthy diet and exercise regularly. Also, be involved in activities that strengthen your immune system.
If your work or residence requires you to go to high-risk areas, have yourself checked from time to time. If you are already infected, please cover your mouth when talking or sneezing. Better yet, stay at home to get ample rest and take your medication.
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