Tuberculosis Diagnosis and Treatment
Tuberculosis (TB) is an infectious disease caused by a rod-shaped bacterium famously known as Mycobacterium tuberculosis. It is among the most deadly diseases in the world and according to the data collected in 2015, 10.4 million people fell ill and 1.8 million died. When a person with TB coughs or sneezes, the Mycobacterium tuberculosis spreads through tiny drops and can affect anyone around that person. This means that TB is highly infectious and everyone must be on the lookout not to get infected. Here is everything you need to know about Tuberculosis Diagnosis and Treatment.
The human body can hold Mycobacterium tuberculosis but that doesn’t mean you’ll get sick because your immune system can fight this bacterium. For that reason, physicians usually distinguish between latent TB, where you have the infection but remain inactive in your body and you show no symptoms, and active TB that makes you sick and you can easily spread the bacteria to other people. Active TB has the following symptoms;
• Night Sweats
• Unintentional weight loss
• Chest pain
• Coughing blood
• Appetite loss
Physical examination is the most common method of diagnosing TB. Your physician checks your lymph nodes for any swells and asks you to breathe gently and listens to the sounds of your lungs with a stethoscope.
A skin test is also very common. This is where a doctor injects a PPD tuberculin below your forearm’s skin and between 48-72 hours, you’ll have the results on whether you have TB or not. If wondering how, the injected spot will be checked for any swelling and a hard red bump signifies that you have TB.
However, the skin test may not be accurate and in cases where doctors diagnosis you of TB, they usually confirm through other tests such as;
• Blood test – This confirms whether you have active or latent TB or not which is normally done to assess the reaction of your immune system to TB bacteria
• Imaging tests – If your skin test is positive, the doctor conducts a CT or X-ray scan to examine if you have white spots in your lungs which may indicate that you indeed have TB
• Sputum test – If X-ray shows you have TB, the physician takes a sample of your sputum for further examination which helps them to know which medication is perfect for you
TB can successfully be treated using the right medication which should be administered correctly. It is worth noting that antibiotics are taken for a standard time of at least 6-9 months so you should be well-prepared. The type of drug to use as well as how long your treatment might take depends on your overall health, age, potential resistance to drugs, where the infection is located (brain, lungs, or kidneys), and whether the TB is inactive or active.
If the doctor diagnoses you with latent TB, you’ll need one kind of treatment of TB antibiotics. Active complications of tuberculosis on the other hand requires several drugs which are taken at the same time, and here are some of the most common medications that have been proven to successfully treat TB.
• Rifampin – Rimactane, Rifadin
• Ethambutol – Myambutol
This is, of course, for educational purposes only, self-diagnosing and self-medicating is not recommended. Contact a doctor to get on a TB drugs regimen for the proper treatment of TB.