Symptoms of Tuberculosis

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In this article, we will try to discuss the signs and symptoms of tuberculosis (TB), which is a leading cause of millions of deaths.

What is Tuberculosis?

Tuberculosis (TB) is an infectious disease caused by bacteria that can spread through inhaling tiny droplets of disease particles that come out from a patient during cough or sneeze. This tiny particle enters the lungs after being inhaled and might infect a healthy individual.

Mycobacterium Tiberculosis (MTB)

The infected bacteria are known as Mycobacterium Tuberculosis (MTB). MTB mainly affects the lungs, but along the lung, it can affect any other part of the body, such as the abdomen which is known as abdomen TB, bones, known as bone TB, Intestines known as intestinal TB, and also the nervous system. These other types of TB which affected other parts of the body are known as Extrapulmonary TB (EP TB) whereas the type which affects the lungs is known as Pulmonary TB.

MTB is the causative agent of TB
MTB is the causative agent of TB

What are the symptoms of Tuberculosis (TB)?

Every illness has specific symptoms that allow us to identify it. Like other diseases, TB has certain specific symptoms as well. Following are some specific symptoms of TB. 

  • a persistent cough for 3 or more than 3 weeks
  • weight loss
  • night sweats
  • Continuous high temperature
  • tiredness and fatigue
  • loss of appetite
  • swellings in the neck

Causes of Tuberculosis (TB)?

As already discussed that TB is a bacterial infection. This means that this disease is caused by bacteria. The causative bacteria are known as Mycobacterium tuberculosis (MTB) which is an acid-fast bacillus (AFB).

What are Acid Fast Bacilli (AFB)?

MTB is known as acid-fast bacilli. Because these bacteria are rod-shaped, they are referred to as bacilli. During the diagnostic process, these bacteria first go through a staining technique in which the bacteria maintain the color of the stain after an acidic wash and can then be seen under a microscope as a rod form of bright red color.

Types of TB

TB is divided into two types depending on the site of infection. The first is pulmonary tuberculosis, while the second is extra-pulmonary tuberculosis.

1). Pulmonary TB

The most severe type of tuberculosis is pulmonary tuberculosis, which affects the lungs and is the most contagious. This is the most difficult type since it may transmit from person to person.

2). Extra-Pulmonary TB

Extrapulmonary TB refers to infections in body parts other than the lungs. This kind of tuberculosis is less infectious and does not spread quickly from person to person.

TB is divided into Pulmonary and EP types
TB is divided into Pulmonary and EP types

Tuberculosis (TB) is an immune-mediated illness. These bacteria were unable to infect those people who have a strong immune system since the immune system is capable of killing the infected bacteria through the body’s natural defensive mechanism. As a result, no symptoms appear and the individual is sometimes cured naturally without the need for any form of medication. This is referred to as latent tuberculosis. In persons with weakened immune systems, the body’s defense mechanism is unable to fight bacteria, and bacteria become so potent that they make the person unwell, and illness symptoms to appear. In this situation, the infectious agents spread from one part of the body to another, and the body system becomes weaker. The body is now unable to combat these bacteria, and symptoms of sickness arise; this form of the disease is known as active TB. This sort of sickness currently needs the use of specialized medications to be successfully treated. One of the most crucial points to remember is that latent tuberculosis can progress to active tuberculosis over time if the body’s immune system weakens.

Treatment of TB

Like other diseases, TB is also treated with a special type of powerful antibiotics which are known as anti-TB drugs. There are different types of drugs used to treat TB. For susceptible TB, anti-TB drug use is known as First line drugs or first line anti TB drugs (FLDs). These drugs include Rifampicin (RMP or R), Isoniazid (INH or H), Ethambutol (EMB or E), and Pyrazinamide (PZA or Z). The duration of treatment is different depending on the type of disease. The general duration of treatment is 6 months. Treatment is divided into two phases. The first phase is known as the intensive phase which consists of two months and the second phase is known as the continuation phase which consists of 4 months of treatment. This is the general role for treatment which may be changed with the type and category of disease.

Read more: Treatment Outcomes of Short Course Regimens for Multidrug-Resistant Tuberculosis patients in Peshawar Pakistan

TB Control Program

TB is partially controlled in many regions of the world, particularly in the developed world, through systematic TB control programs. However, in many parts of the world, tuberculosis remains one of the most severe infectious diseases, infecting millions of people each year and killing many more. In recent years, there has been a resurgence of tuberculosis in many regions of the world due to antibiotic resistance. Drug-resistant tuberculosis is a kind of tuberculosis caused by mutant bacteria. Drug resistance TB is caused by the use of incorrect therapy. DR-TB is difficult to treat as its treatment consists of more numbers of drugs with severe side effects and treatment duration is from a year up to 24 months. So it is very difficult for someone to take these huge amounts of toxic drugs for such a long duration. To prevent the spread of this disease, vulnerable TB patients must receive specialized and appropriate therapy. Along with appropriate therapy household contact screening also play important role in the control of this disease. TB symptoms may play an important role in disease control since they help us to treat the disease on time.

Read more: Contacts Screening of Multidrug-Resistant Tuberculosis Patients

Symptoms of Tuberculosis

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