What is Tuberculosis (TB)?

Tuberculosis (TB) is generally defined as an dangerous bacterial infectious disease caused by Mycobacterium tuberculosis, which most often affects the lungs and later it might spread to different parts of the body.

Types of Tuberculosis (TB)

There are two different types of Tuberculosis and are mainly categorized based on the risk factors:

  • Pulmonary Tuberculosis.
  • Extrapulmonary Tuberculosis.

Pulmonary Tuberculosis

It is an endemic infection that involves the lungs. It is further divided into:

  • Primary Tuberculosis Pneumonia: Associated symptoms include coughing and high fever. It can also be witnessed in patients with HIV/AIDS.
  • Miliary Tuberculosis: It occurs due to a presence of bacteria in the bloodstream. It spreads vigorously.
  • Latent Tuberculosis Infection: This infection is mainly seen in those patients having the TB bacteria within their body. This infection is mainly detected through the tuberculin skin test.

Extra-pulmonary Tuberculosis

It is usually seen in immunocompromised patients. There are several types and they include:

  • Tuberculosis Meningitis
  • Osteal Tuberculosis
  • Lymph Node Disease
  • Renal Tuberculosis
  • Adrenal Tuberculosis.

Diagnosis of Tuberculosis

Apart from all the physical tests, there are other tests that are available to diagnose the presence the infectious bacteria. These test include certain body fluids test – blood and sputum, skin test and chest X-rays.

Blood Test: In this procedure, Blood samples are collected and are tested in the laboratories for the presence or absence of TB germs in the blood cells.

Skin Test: It is a most common type of test. In this procedure, a small sample of Tuberculin – a purified protein is injected under the patient’s skin. If the skin around the site of the injection gets swollen more than five millimeters then it is a clear indication of TB infection.

Symptoms of Tuberculosis

TB bacteria or Mycobacterium tuberculosis most commonly grow in the lungs, and can cause severe symptoms such as:

  • Coughing up blood (mucus from deep inside the lungs)
  • A bad cough that lasts 3 weeks or longer.
  • Weakness or fatigue.
  • Sweating at night.
  • Pain in the chest.
  • Weight loss.
  • No appetite.
  • Chills and Fever.

Causes of Tuberculosis

  • Infants and old age people are at a greater risk of catching TB infections.
  • Individuals with the weak immune system due to HIV, diabetes are quickly exposed to this infectious disease.
  • Tuberculosis is a contagious airborne disease, which can be acquired from a closely contact with an infected person.
  • Mycobacterium Tuberculosis is one of the main causes this dreadful infectious disease. It is a pathogenic bacterial species and mainly comprises of four other types of TB-causing bacteria namely:
    1. Mycobacterium bovis,
    2. Mycobacterium canettii,
    3. Mycobacterium microti,
    4. Mycobacterium africanum.

These bacteria could be cultured even in laboratories.

Treatment for Tuberculosis

Drug treatment is one of the most efficient ways to treat this infectious diseases. For patients with Latent TB infections doctors generally prescribe an antibiotics called isoniazid for preventing the latent infection from becoming active.

Active TB Diseases will be deadly if it is left untreated. The procedure involves in taking a combination of ethambutol, INH, priftin and pyrazinamide for a term of three months followed by a mix of INH and pyrazinamide for 12 months.

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