A chronic bacterial disease, Tuberculosis (TB) usually infects the lungs, although other organs like the spine, brain or kidneys are in some cases involved. Highly contagious, TB spread through droplets when the person carrying the infection coughs or sneezes.
The Stages Of TB
- Exposure - This happens when a person has been in contact with, or presented to, someone carrying the TB infection. The person exposed will have a normal chest X-ray, negative skin test and no visible signs or symptoms of the disease.
- Latent TB infection - This happens when a person’s body is carrying the TB bacteria without any visible symptoms of the disease. This is because the person’s immune system provides immunity against the bacteria and thus, the disease remains in its dormant state all through the person’s life. For such cases, a person would have a positive skin test with a normal chest X-ray.
- TB disease - This portrays the individual who has signs and symptoms of an active TB infection. The individual would have a positive skin test and a positive chest X-ray.
Who Is At Risk?
TB can happen to individuals of all ages, races, salary levels, and both sexes. Those at higher risk include -
- People who live or work with other people who have TB
- Medically underserved populace
- Homeless individuals
- People from different nations where TB is predominant
- People in group settings, for example, nursing homes
- People addicted to alcohol or drugs
- People who use intravenous medications
- People with weakened immune system
- The elderly
- Health care professionals who interact with high-risk populaces
Symptoms of TB
- Cough that won't go away
- Chest Pain
- Loss of appetite
- Unintended weight loss
- Poor growth in kids
- Chills or night sweats
- Coughing blood or sputum
These symptoms may resemble other lung conditions or medical problems, hence it becomes imperative to consult the specialist for proper and accurate diagnosis.
Written By: Dr. Harman
Edited By: C. Soni