What is Tuberculosis?

Tuberculosis is a highly contagious bacterial disease, which is airborne and can lead to several other severe complications. In Nigeria, it is estimated that over 10,000 people get infected with this disease annually. Globally, according to the World Health Organization, 1.4 million people died from tuberculosis in the year 2019. So what causes this disease?

What causes tuberculosis?

Tuberculosis is caused by the Mycobacterium Tuberculosis bacteria. This bacteria mostly affects the lungs then spreads to other organs of the body. It takes really long and consistent antibacterial therapy to get completely free from it.  

What are the symptoms of Tuberculosis?

●     Cough that lasts more than three weeks

●     Also coughing up blood

●     Chest pain

●     Fever

●     Weight loss

●     Weakness

●     Chills

●     Night sweat

How is tuberculosis transmitted?

Tuberculosis can only spread from person to person as it does not survive on surfaces. When a patient with an active case of the disease speaks, laughs, sneezes and coughs, he releases droplets of fluid with the M. Tuberculosis in them, these droplets if inhaled by you, you become infected with the bacteria.  

How can tuberculosis be detected?

Tuberculosis can be detected by health professionals in the following ways;

●     Skin test: although this test can not be totally relied on as it gives false-negative and false-positive results.

●     Sputum test: Sputum samples are taken early in the morning and tested for tuberculosis bacteria.

●     CT scan or x-ray scan of the lungs

It is advisable to get the help of qualified professionals and laboratories to ascertain diagnosis with the aim of finding lasting solutions. Agape Biomedical  Laboratory is equipped to conduct all manner of tests with highly skilled technicians and scientists. I recommend you visit this place for your test.

What are the stages of tuberculosis?

Latent tuberculosis: At this stage of tuberculosis affected individuals show no symptoms and equally do not transmit disease to others. Notwithstanding the bacteria is in your body although not spreading because your immune system is keeping it under control.

Latent tuberculosis can only be detected by tests and treated over a period of 6-9 months with antituberculous therapy.

Active tuberculosis: An active tuberculosis patient would have some or all of the symptoms discussed above, more so the disease can be transmitted from one person to another.

Once diagnosed treatment should begin immediately to avoid further spread of the bacteria in the body. A scan of the chest will reveal the extent of infection and the approach the health care provider would take for the treatment.

It is strongly advised that you should complete the treatment even if you feel better. Not completing the treatment may leave some bacteria in your body which could become drug-resistant.

Treatment for tuberculosis

Depending on the stage of the infection and the extent of it, your health care provider would place you on different types of antituberculous regimens. The therapy lasts for about 12-16 months. The following are commonly used for treating tuberculosis;

●     Isoniazid

●     Rifampin

●     Pyrazinamide

●     Ethambutol

●     Fluoroquinolones

●     Amikacin

●     Capreomycin

●     Bedaqullime

Complications from tuberculosis

●     Spinal and back pain

●     Joint damage: Also known as tuberculous arthritis.

●     Liver or kidney problems: Tuberculosis can affect the normal function of these organs.

Who can be infected by tuberculosis?

You are at risk of Tuberculosis if you are;

●     Caregivers and healthcare providers who attend to patients of tuberculosis.

●     Your colleague at work or relations or housemate has an active case of tuberculosis.

●     You recently came in contact with a person with an active case of tuberculosis.

●     You travelled to a place where there is an outbreak of Tuberculosis.

●     10% to 15% of people who have been treated for tuberculosis are most likely to have it come back.

How do I prevent Tuberculosis? 

●     Avoid crowded places

●     Vaccination especially with the Bacille Calmette-Guevin(BCG) and other vaccines in areas where there are high cases of Tuberculosis.

●     Covering Your mouth while coughing, sneezing etc if you are infected.

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