Tuberculosis is a highly transmittable condition that mainly affects the lungs. The disease is prevalent in developing countries. Luckily, it is usually preventable and can be treated with appropriate measures.
What are the causes?
The Mycobacterium tuberculosis bacteria is the usual culprit for tuberculosis. Various strains are present, and some have established resistance to medications.
The bacteria spreads via infected droplets in the air. Once airborne, other individuals might inhale them. The usual modes of transmission include sneezing, speaking, coughing and singing.
Some individuals infected by the TB bacteria do not have any symptoms which is called as the latent form. It can stay dormant for years before developing into the active form.
The active form triggers various symptoms that involve the respiratory system including coughing up sputum or blood. The cough can last for more than 3 weeks along with pain while coughing or during normal breathing.
Other signs that might be present include:
- Unexplained fatigue
- Night sweats
- Weight loss
- Poor appetite
Management of tuberculosis
If an individual is diagnosed with the active form of tuberculosis, the treatment requires a combination of drugs to be taken for 6-9 months. The prescribed course must be completed. Otherwise, the infection has a high chance of recurring.
The combination of medications given include:
What is the outlook?
The treatment for tuberculosis is usually effective if the individual strictly followed the course of medications and has access to medical care.
In case other diseases are present, it is harder to manage the active form. Essentially, prompt diagnosis and treatment including a full course of antibiotics provides the best chance for treating tuberculosis.