Causes Symptoms and Treatment Options

Tuberculosis (TB) is an infectious disease caused by the bacterium Mycobacterium tuberculosis. It primarily affects the lungs, but can also affect other parts of the body such as the kidneys, spine, and brain. In this article, we will explore the causes, symptoms, and treatment options for tuberculosis. 


Causes of Tuberculosis 


TB is primarily spread through the air when an infected person coughs, sneezes, or talks. The bacteria can then be inhaled by someone nearby, leading to infection. TB is not highly contagious, but it can be transmitted from person to person. People with weakened immune systems are at a higher risk of contracting TB. This includes people with HIV/AIDS, diabetes, and those undergoing chemotherapy. 


Symptoms of Tuberculosis 


TB can be either latent or active. In the case of latent TB, the bacteria are present in the body, but the person does not exhibit any symptoms and is not contagious. However, the bacteria can become active at any time, causing symptoms and becoming contagious. 


Symptoms of active TB can include a persistent cough that lasts for more than three weeks, chest pain, coughing up blood, fatigue, fever, and night sweats. If the bacteria have spread to other parts of the body, symptoms may also include back pain, joint pain, and abdominal pain. 


Diagnosis of Tuberculosis 


If you are experiencing symptoms of TB, it is important to see a healthcare provider for a diagnosis. The healthcare provider will conduct a physical exam and may perform a skin test or blood test to determine if TB is present in the body. A chest x-ray may also be performed to determine if there are any abnormalities in the lungs. 


If the results are inconclusive, a sputum test may be ordered to look for TB bacteria in your cough. This involves coughing up sputum, which is then examined under a microscope to determine if TB bacteria are present. 


Treatment Options for Tuberculosis 


The treatment for TB typically involves a combination of antibiotics. The length of treatment can range from six months to two years, depending on the severity of the infection. It is important to complete the full course of antibiotics, even if symptoms improve, to prevent the bacteria from becoming resistant to treatment. 


In some cases, hospitalization may be required for treatment. This is particularly true for those with severe symptoms or for those who are at a high risk of spreading the disease. 


Preventing Tuberculosis 


Prevention of TB involves taking measures to reduce the spread of the bacteria. This can include vaccination, if available, or taking medications to prevent the development of active TB if you have been exposed to someone with the disease. 


Other preventative measures include practicing good hygiene, such as washing your hands regularly, covering your mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing, and avoiding close contact with people who are sick. 


In addition, it is important to maintain a healthy lifestyle to reduce the risk of developing TB. This includes eating a healthy diet, getting regular exercise, and getting enough sleep. 


In conclusion, tuberculosis is a serious and potentially life-threatening disease that can affect many parts of the body. It is important to be aware of the symptoms and risk factors for TB and to seek medical attention if you believe you have been infected. With early diagnosis and proper treatment, TB can be effectively managed and cured. Remember, prevention is key to reducing the spread of this disease, so it is important to practice good hygiene and maintain a healthy lifestyle to reduce your risk of contracting TB. 

About The Author

Dr. Leo is a highly-qualified and dedicated primary care physician who graduated from Manila Central University College of Medicine in 2018. He passed the Physician Licensure Exam in 2019, and has since gained valuable experience practicing in various settings such as being a company physician, doctor-on-duty for outpatient clinics, and a telemedicine practitioner. 


What sets Dr. Leo apart is his dual-certification as both a physician and a registered nurse, having passed the Philippine Nurse Licensure exam in 2012. He has a unique perspective on healthcare as he believes in taking a holistic approach addressing the root cause of an issue rather than just treating symptoms. He is dedicated to finding long-term solutions for current disorders and preventing new ones. 

Experience EVA Teleconsult