Tuberculosis is an airborne communicable disease that mainly affects the lungs. However, it can attack the other organs as well. A tuberculosis infection may be categorised as latent or clinically active. A person is said to be suffering from latent tuberculosis when he or she has been infected with the tuberculosis bacteria, but is protected from the germs by a strong immune system. People showing symptoms of the disease are said to be suffering from a clinically active form of tuberculosis and must seek medical attention as soon as possible.
The symptoms of tuberculosis may be hard to identify as they can be attributed to other causes as well. In some cases, the symptoms may not appear until the disease has reached an advanced stage. Some of the common symptoms associated with this disease are:
People with a weakened immune system such as those suffering from HIV or those undergoing chemotherapy have a high risk of suffering from this condition. When the disease is in its active form, tuberculosis causing bacteria multiply rapidly and attack the lungs. From here they may spread to other parts of the body, such as the lymph nodes, kidneys, bones, spine, brain and skin. When it reaches an advanced stage, the symptoms vary according to the organ affected. For example, pain in the bones indicates that the bone tissues have been affected while coughing up blood is a sign of TB of the lungs.
Tuberculosis can be diagnosed through a blood test or with a skin test. An x-ray and a lab analysis of your sputum can also help differentiate between latent and clinically active forms of this disease.
In the case of latent infections, preventive therapy is prescribed to kill the germs before they become active. This typically takes the form of a single tablet that must be taken for six to nine months.
Clinically active tuberculosis can be easily treated and cured as long as the patient undergoes the complete course of treatment. Treatment for this disease usually takes the form of oral medication that must be taken for six to nine months continuously. This is because tuberculosis causing bacteria can take a very long time to die. In some cases, multiple drugs may be prescribed to reduce resistance to the drugs. When it comes to tuberculosis it is important to continue taking medication for its full course, even if the symptoms disappear and you are feeling better.
In all cases, combinations of drugs are to be taken at empty stomach to prevent resistance and cure disease for 6 months in most cases. If you wish to discuss about any specific problem, you can consult a Pulmonologist.