What’s Tuberculosis (TB), its Symptoms, Causes & Preventing

Tuberculosis happens to thousands of people in the world. It is very dangerous and can lead to various symptoms including brain and lung problems. It is hugely recommended to be well aware of what having tuberculosis means, so you can eventually prevent it and treat it if needed.

Here’s everything you need to know about this disease and more – so come and learn more about tuberculosis!

What is Tuberculosis?

Tuberculosis is an infectious disease that affects the lungs most of the time. It can spread very quickly from person to person, and it can develop fast in just a matter of days after the infection is successful.

This disease was most prevalent in underdeveloped countries in South America and Africa, yet it started making its way into developed countries after HIV infected so many people around the world. Due to the weakening of the immune system when the HIV attacks, tuberculosis can develop pretty quickly and be spread fast.

After this combination of HIV and tuberculosis started happening, the disease became a matter of security in many countries around the world. This also made the virus to evolve and grow stronger & more resistant towards medications.

Today, to treat tuberculosis a person needs to take at least two or three medications for a month to eradicate the infection or at least reduce it. However, tuberculosis may never leave the body of the infected person.

Latent & Active TB

When a person has tuberculosis but does not suffer any symptom or can’t be contagious, it is called Latent TB. This means a person can start experiencing the disease any time, or never have it again.

In contrast, there is the Active TB – which means a person has symptoms and may transmit the disease to other people.

It is believed that at least 5% of the world population has latent TB. Luckily, this disease only becomes active when a person has a problem with his/her immune system. Otherwise, the disease may never become dangerous.

It affects practically anyone and happens mostly in underdeveloped countries. People from 15 to 30 years were the most likely to get infected by tuberculosis, as they were also the most socially active in the studied societies.

What Are Tuberculosis Symptoms?

As a very dangerous disease, there are various signs and symptoms of tuberculosis you should be aware of. These symptoms can happen to anyone and may vary depending on the person. These are the most common:

  • Coughing with lots of mucus or blood
  • Chills
  • Fever
  • Fatigue
  • Dizziness
  • Loss of weight and appetite
  • Night sweats
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Swelling of throat

There are many other less common symptoms, yet it almost always ends up affecting the lungs. Also, this disease may spread to many other parts of the body, including the brain, liver, kidneys, and even the heart. For severe symptoms of TB we can name:

  • Meningitis
  • Spinal Pain
  • Joint Destruction
  • Urinary Traction Infection
  • Blood in Urine
  • Cardiac Tamponade
  • High Blood Pressure

What causes Tuberculosis?

The bacterium for tuberculosis is called Mycobacterium Tuberculosis. It only spreads through the air, not by contact or any other way. Similarly to a cold or the flu, it travels through coughs, spits, laughs, talks or even sneezes, and it can happen with a single breathe or any infected particle.

This bacterium needs time to develop nonetheless. Most people who suffer from tuberculosis have spent days or weeks around people who have it. That’s why it is mostly common among friends, family,and co-workers.

It is a bacterium that dies on surfaces or dry places. Whether it is shaking the hands of an infected person or sharing food, you may never get infected with this disease, unless you directly ingest saliva or any other liquid from the infected person.

Luckily, this bacterium can easily be stopped from being contagious with only two weeks or continuous treatment. A few types of this bacteria may become resistant to antibiotics, so many doctors recommend using anti-TB drugs with more specific methods of anti-infection due to their effectiveness.

Anyone who receives constant treatment for tuberculosis can be cured in a matter of weeks.

Ways to prevent tuberculosis

Similarly to how you get tuberculosis, you can also avoid it. Remember that the only way to get infected is to get direct contact with the secretions of a person who has Active TB. So you’ll have to be very careful when treating and interacting with someone who has the disease.

However, there are also a few tips to prevent tuberculosis the right way. Here are a few things you can try to decrease the chance of getting this disease:

  • Get away from close space with infected people.
  • Ventilate the room or space where you are.
  • Try to talk from a distance and avoid mouth contact as much as possible.
  • Cover your mouth every time you interact with someone infected.
  • Wear a mask if you are in a place with tuberculosis-infected people.

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