Each year on March 24th, World Tuberculosis Day is observed to increase public knowledge and understanding about tuberculosis and highlight global efforts to combat this disease. The World Health Organization established World Tuberculosis Day to promote education and understanding of tuberculosis, a contagious illness that results in millions of deaths annually. While tuberculosis is readily treatable, it can remain inactive and unnoticed for extended periods, emphasizing the need for heightened awareness. The World Health Organization selected the date of March 24th to recognize the discovery of the TB bacillus, which is responsible for the disease, by Dr. Robert Koch.
This blog highlights information about the symptoms, causes, and treatment of tuberculosis. So please keep reading
What Is Tuberculosis?
Tuberculosis, also known as TB, is a bacterial infection that primarily targets the lungs but can also affect other organs, including the brain. TB is a potentially life-threatening disease if not treated on time. The transmission of TB from an infected person occurs when individuals inhale small droplets from the coughs or sneezes of an infected person.
What Are The Symptoms Of Tuberculosis?
The various symptoms that a patient having tuberculosis is likely to experience may include the following,
- A persistent cough that lasts for three weeks or longer
- The appearance of blood or mucous upon coughing
- Chest pain
- Loss of weight
- Loss of appetite
- Sweating at night
- Swelling in the neck
- Feeling tired
- Chest pain while coughing or breathing
Tuberculosis has the potential to affect various other body parts apart from the lungs, such as the brain, kidneys, or spine. The symptoms and indications of TB differ depending on the affected organ.
Causes Of Tuberculosis
Tuberculosis occurs due to the infection caused by the bacterium, Mycobacterium tuberculosis. Even though Tb is a contagious disease, it is difficult to get infected by it. A person is more likely to get infected by TB upon coming in contact with a friend or relative who has TB. The transmission of tuberculosis occurs due to the spread of bacteria from one infected person to another through the tiny droplets that are released into the air. This usually occurs when an infected person with an untreated, active form of tuberculosis sneezes, coughs, spits, speaks, or laughs.
Who Are At Risk Of Getting Tuberculosis?
Tuberculosis is a contagious disease that can infect anyone regardless of their age. However, some people are at more risk of catching this bacterial infection when compared to others. The high-risk group for tuberculosis includes the following,
- Individuals who do not have access to healthcare services
- Individuals who use intravenous drugs
- Individuals who reside or work in close proximity to individuals with tuberculosis (TB)
- People who have other conditions, such as diabetes, kidney problems, or other long-term illnesses
- Individuals from countries where TB is widespread
- Individuals who abuse alcohol
- The elderly
- People who have undergone an organ transplantation
- Individuals residing in group settings, including nursing homes
- Healthcare professionals who interact with high-risk populations
How Is Tuberculosis Diagnosed?
To determine if you have a tuberculosis (TB) infection, your medical provider will conduct an examination using a stethoscope to listen to your breathing, check for enlarged lymph nodes, and inquire about your symptoms. Additionally, the doctor will also carry out some other tests to diagnose tuberculosis. These various tests include the following,
- Tuberculin skin tests (TST)
- Blood tests
- Sputum tests
- Chest X-ray
Treatment For Tuberculosis
TB is treatable with a high success rate. A treatment course lasting for 6 months is typically required, involving the use of various antibiotics as certain strains of TB are resistant to particular antibiotics. In the case of drug-resistant TB, a more aggressive approach may be required with the use of multiple medications.
If diagnosed with pulmonary TB, you will remain infectious for 2-3 weeks after beginning treatment. While isolation may not be necessary, it is essential to take basic precautions to prevent the spread of infection to those around you, including your family and friends.
How To Prevent The Spread Of Tuberculosis?
TB is typically not easily transmitted and requires prolonged contact with an infected person. To prevent the spread of tuberculosis infection, it is important to follow prevention measures,
- Washing your hands frequently
- Avoiding close contact with others
- Covering your mouth when coughing or sneezing
- Taking the prescribed medications on time
In conclusion, World Tuberculosis Day is observed to increase public knowledge and understanding of tuberculosis. This World Tuberculosis Day 2023, spread the word among your family and friends to educate them about the early detection and treatment of TB. Early detection and timely prompt treatment are essential to prevent severe health consequences. It is equally important to practice proper preventive measures to contain the spread of this disease. By increasing awareness and taking action on time, we can help people safeguard themselves from tuberculosis. Hence, this World Tuberculosis Day 2023, ensure to take proper actions to help people stay safe and healthy.
Ayu Health is a healthcare provider that provides prompt and affordable tuberculosis diagnosis and treatment services. We are committed to providing patients with the highest quality of care while ensuring that they receive their diagnosis and treatment in a timely manner. Our medical professionals are highly skilled and well-trained in the latest techniques and technology to ensure that patients receive the best and most effective care. Moreover, we also offer affordable TB diagnosis and treatment services, making it accessible to patients from all backgrounds. If you’re seeking reliable and affordable TB diagnosis and treatment, Ayu Health is an excellent choice.
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About the Author
Dr. S. Goel
Dr. S. Goel is a renowned Internal Medicine Specialist currently practicing at Ayu Health, Bangalore. He is a Specialist in Internal Medicine, Diabetes HTN, Paediatric Care, and Family Medicine.