Is Tuberculosis curable? – Facts, Symptoms, causes and Treatment!

Wednesday February 10, 2021 at 1:40 pm

Tuberculosis, widely known as TB, is a contagious disease that can spread its contamination by contacting the infected patients. And it mainly attacks your lungs and can gradually lead to severe disabilities in the spine and brain. How can TB occur? The spread of a bacteria, namely Mycobacterium tuberculosis, is responsible for this infection in the human body. By detecting its symptoms and availing early treatment for the same, you can reduce its effects on the body. Let’s learn more about Tuberculosis symptoms and treatment below.

Is it possible to cure TB?

If you look back at the 20th Century, TB became a primary cause for massive death numbers in the United States. As there were not enough treatment options available, then, the intensity and severity of this disease were very high. But right doses of antibiotics and medicines led to the proper cure of this disease. However, you need to take regular medication for almost 6 to 9 months.

What are the types of Tuberculosis?

TB infection does not necessarily mean that you are always ill. There are two primary types of this disease mentioned below:

  • Latent TB- If there are any germs inside your body, your internal immunity system retaliates by controlling its spread. In the absence of any symptoms, inevitably, the disease is not contagious. However, if the infection is still persistent, you can figure out some symptoms to get an alarm if the germs are active again. With a few tests and reports, you can determine whether you are at high risk for re-activation of the germs or no. You can also go for a chest X-ray if the infection is continuous for 2 years and the immunity system is relatively weaker. Even your doctor might recommend the medicines for the prevention of TB at the later stages.
  • Active TB- Next in the list is Active TB, under which the germs multiply at a great pace. Also, this disease is easily spreadable from one person to another. In 90% of the active cases, most adults derive the condition from latent TB infection.

Whether it is an active or latent Tuberculosis infection, it might be drug-resistant, and few medications might also not be effective against the bacteria.

Common signs and symptoms of Tuberculosis!

There are no significant symptoms of Latent TB. With a blood or skin test, you can identify if you are prone to this disease.

Prominent signs of TB disease are as follows:

  • Longing cough lasting for more than 3 weeks
  • Chest pain
  • Tired feeling throughout the day
  • Bloodstains in the cough
  • Chills and shivering in the body
  • Sweats in the night time
  • Weight loss
  • High-grade fever
  • Loss of appetite

If you face any of these Tuberculosis symptoms, visit the doctor and get the immediate testing done. You can also seek medical assistance if you have any issues with chest pain. Pain in the chest can be the reason for acute seriousness and needs urgent medical attention.

What are the causes of Tuberculosis?

The primary reason for TB is the spread of bacteria that attacks the human lungs resulting in flu and cold-like symptoms. This disease spreads through the air and can have an impact on the lungs and kidneys. The spread of this infection is possible only when they come in direct contact with other people.

People who are at high risk of this disease include:

  • Family member, friend, or co-worker has active cases of TB.
  • If you are traveling to countries with high TB risk, such as Africa, Asia, Russia, Asia, Latin America, the Caribbean, and Eastern Europe.
  • TB is also common amongst the group of people who stay in touch with others who had a present or history of this infection.
  • People who take drug shots into their veins or those with HIV infection might also encounter Tuberculosis infection.
  • If you are a healthcare worker in the nursing home or the hospital and contact potential infections.
  • Exposure to the people who are at high risk of TB.
  • Chain smoking also leads to TB in most patients.

Combating the contagious infections and bacteria of TB is possible only when you have a healthy immunity system. People with existing ailments or history might also be unable to stand this infection.

Others who are at the high-risk probability of this disease are:

  • Patients with AIDS or HIV
  • Diabetes problem
  • Cancer of head and neck
  • Critical kidney diseases
  • Poor nutrition and very low body weight
  • Can patients undergoing treatment such as chemotherapy
  • Consuming medications for organ transplants
  • Specific drugs for the treatment of sicknesses such as Crohn’s disease, Rheumatoid arthritis, and psoriasis.
  • Small babies and young age children having low immunity system
  • Anyone coming in direct or indirect contact with the TB patients

When does Tuberculosis transmission occur?

People with TB infection can spread contamination through various mediums such as laughter, sneeze, singing, or cough. There is an exchange of tiny droplets that pass on the germs. If the other person inhales or takes in the germs by any means, the transmission of the disease is easily possible.

Do you think that TB infection is easy to transmit? Well, then you’re mistaken as it is not so simple to get exposed to this bacteria. This infection can easily reach the lungs and then lead to other symptoms of occurrence in your body. The highest chance of Tuberculosis transmission is from family members, friends, and other co-workers.

Unlike other dreadful bacteria and viruses, the germs of the disease do not thrive on any surfaces. Instead, you can quickly get into its contact by shaking hands or through the drink and food you consume.

Tests for Tuberculosis

To determine this infection’s existence in your body, you need to go through some essential screening and tests.

Two common tests for TB are as follows:

  1. Skin Test- People also call it the Mantoux Tuberculin skin test. The lab technician would inject a small fluid level in the lower arm or the skin to do this test. Within 2 to 3 days, you can check out if there is any swelling in the arm. And if the results come out positive, then you might have an infection for the TB Bacteria. In some cases, false positives are also possible. If you already have had a prior vaccination for this disease known as bacillus Calmette-Guerin (BCG), you might get a false positive. And the results can also turn out false negative if you have met with the TB infection recently. There are chances that you might have to go for repetitive tests to get the right reports.
  2. Blood test– Next way to get the Tuberculosis test results is through a blood test. An interferon-gamma release assays (IGRAs) test examines the TB proteins prominent in a small portion of your blood.

However, none of the above tests can determine whether you are carrying the active or latent infection. If you confirm a positive blood or skin test for this disease, the next step is to identify its type. Doctors can undergo further screening through:

  • CT scan or the chest X-ray for determining the changes in lungs
  • Acid-fast bacillus (AFB) tests to spot the TB infection in your Sputum if you cough.

What is the right treatment for Tuberculosis?

The type of treatment is highly dependent on the level of infection you have. There is a medication available for the latent TB patients to kill all the germs to ensure that it does not get active again. And the common medicines in combinations or single dose for it include rifapentine, isoniazid, and rifampin. The average duration of this drug intake is upto nine months or can even increase more. Even if then you find any symptoms of active TB, contact your doctor right away.

There are also many other combinations that doctors use for treating TB, depending on your medical condition. Opt for the right drug combination of isoniazid, pyrazinamide, ethambutol, and rifampin. This series of medicines can continue for almost 6 to 12 months.

For people suffering from drug-resistant TB, doctors might suggest more than one medication. Duration to take this drug might even extend to 30 months, and it can also lead to many other side-effects.

To completely remove the TB infection from your body, it is advisable to take all medications to help you feel better. The sooner you quit, the higher are the chances of the bacteria attacking you.

Prevention of Tuberculosis

You can control the spread of TB and ensure its prevention by following the below steps:

  • People with latent TB infection can consume medication for the long term to avoid this active and contagious disease.
  • Those having an active TB infection need to limit their contact with other people. Hence, you must cover your mouth while laughing, coughing, or sneezing always. It is also better to cover the face with a surgical mask during the initial weeks of infection.
  • Avoid visits to crowded areas.

Final words

In countries like India, where Tuberculosis is a common disease, the BCG vaccine is a common prevention measure. Right at birth, kids get this vaccine to avoid exposure to this infection. Even healthcare professionals and doctors recommend staying aloof from the people suffering from TB infection. By following the right prevention measures and with effective treatment, you can get it treated right away. With all this data, you can easily monitor yourself for this disease’s probable symptoms and ensure a better self-care for yourself!

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