About the disease
Tuberculosis, also known as TB, is a contagious pulmonary infection, which affects lungs. It is caused by appearance of Mycobacterium Tuberculosis, which is a highly damaging bacteria. Tuberculosis used to be the leading cause of death in many countries, especially in 19th and 20th centuries. Nowadays, tuberculosis is treated by specially designed antibiotics, which are able to fight infectious bacteria. Treatment time usually takes 6 to 9 months and after recovery a person needs to take certain precautions to avoid complications in future.
Although tuberculosis spreads through the air like a cold, it is much more difficult to contract it. The infected germs grow and develop very slowly, that's why people contract tuberculosis only if they spent considerable amount of time with an infected person. There are two main forms of TB: latent and active. During the first type of TB a person does not experience any symptoms and can not pass infection to other people. It can be explained by the fact that inactive TB does not spread and do not damage lungs and other organs, because the immune system of a person is strong enough to block the unwanted bacteria. According to WebMD, only 10% of latent TB become active. Nonetheless, a person still needs to take antibiotics to avoid complications if TB was diagnosed accidentally. Active TB usually starts to manifest itself at early stages, that`s why it can be easily diagnosed before bacteria spreads to organs other than lungs.
- Night sweats
- Pain in the lungs
- Weight loss
- Cough with blood
- Color of the skin changes
- TST skin test is the most commonly used diagnostic method for people with TB symptoms. It is performed through injection in the hand, which creates special mark on the skin. A person needs to go back to the doctor 48 hours after injection. Size of this mark can determine whether a person has TB.
- Lung X-ray is used after diagnosis was confirmed to see if TB damaged lungs. X-ray can also determine the stage of TB.
- Conservative treatment is usually enough for curing TB. There are approximately 10 drugs used for treatment of TB. Doctor will choose the exact drug and its dosage depending on the type of TB, its stage, and individual health of the patient. These drugs need to be taken for exact period of time determined by the doctor. If taken inconsistently, they may not bring the desired effect. During the first few weeks after beginning treatment a patient may be hospitalized or asked to stay at home until he/she stops being contagious. After approximately the first month of treatment a person may be safe to return to work and usual surroundings, although the whole treatment should last for at least 6 months.