An overview of pulmonary tuberculosis
- Posted on- Aug 27, 2015
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According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), more than 25% of the world’s population has been affected by pulmonary tuberculosis. It is a form of tuberculosis which develops in the lungs and then spreads to the various parts of the body. Even though it’s a dangerous infection, not many people have heard about it and if you are one of them, here’s some detailed information about the disease.
We all know that tuberculosis is a contagious bacterial infection which spreads through air and affects various organs of the body. It’s one of the most widespread diseases in the world and kills more than 2 billion people globally. Pulmonary tuberculosis is a type of tuberculosis which is defined as an infectious disease of the lungs. Pulmonary tuberculosis is caused by the Mycobacterium Tuberculosis (which is a pathogen of tuberculosis) it affects the lung tissues and leads to inflammation and destruction of the lung walls. The only good part about this condition is that most people recover from it automatically and in 60% cases this pathogen remains inactive. However, this doesn’t mean that it won’t start its work of destroying your lungs and causing various respiratory problems.
A healthy person gets tuberculosis when he/she inhales the germs transmitted by an infected person through the medium of air. When an individual suffering from tuberculosis spits, speaks, coughs or sneezes he/she releases infectious droplets in the atmosphere. A single sneeze or cough can release more than 20,000 of these infectious droplets. These germs can float in the air for various hours and anyone inhaling them may contract the infection. Various other modes of getting affected are through physical contact like kissing or shaking hands with the person who has contracted this infection. This is why it’s advantageous to know the different signs of pulmonary tuberculosis. Coughing up mucus and blood, excessive sweating, fatigue, fever, severe pain in the chest and lungs and unhealthy weight loss are common symptoms. In severe cases people may also experience difficulty in breathing, wheezing, fluid accumulation around lungs, excessive sweating at night, difficulty in breathing and enlargement of lymph nodes in the neck.
If the person’ s immune system is already weak or he/she is suffering from an infection or any disease like HIV, malnutrition or high fever there’ s a higher chance that he/she will get pulmonary tuberculosis. People living in unhygienic crowded conditions are also at risk of contracting this infection. The people who are highly susceptible of contracting tuberculosis are kids and the elderly. Some medical reports even proclaim that people who do not follow a balanced diet or indulge in narcotics have a high chance of contracting pulmonary tuberculosis due to their weak immune systems.
Pulmonary tuberculosis treatment
The biggest issue with this bacterial infection is that people don’t show any symptoms until the disease has reached the advanced stages. The best way to know is to go for a check up and have a baseline chest X-Ray to be fully sure. The best preventive measure against pulmonary tuberculosis is to stay away from people suffering from tuberculosis or any contagious respiratory infection. When pulmonologists deal with cases of tuberculosis in children they normally prescribe "Chemoprophylaxis". It’s a drug which is very helpful for children under 4 years suffering from this infection. Drugs for adults include Streptomycin, Ethambutol, Capreomycin, Rifampin and Isoniazid. These drugs have been proven effective but they can also cause side effects if not administered properly, which is why a pulmonologist’s supervision is a must. Patients also have to struggle with the slightest possibility of reactivation which is seen 10% of the cases. The relapse of pulmonary tuberculosis will depend on the age, immune system status, the extent to which the virus has caused damage to the individual and the response to the treatment.
Many people still have doubts regarding the treatment but with the recent developments in the field of medicine it’ s advisable that people should opt for modern treatment methods which are very safe and probably the best way to treat this infection. Today with the help of medical science tuberculosis is not as deadly as it was some decades ago. There are plenty of chances for your survival and recovery if you follow your pulmonologist’s order.