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10 Facts About Tuberculosis (TB) You Must Know

Dr Vivek Anand Padegal, Director – Pulmonology, Fortis Hospitals, Bannerghatta Road shares 10 of the most crucial facts to help you keep safe from the disease.

Published: March 25, 2022 4:57 PM IST

By Lifestyle Staff | Edited by Anjali Thakur

10 Facts About Tuberculosis (TB) You Must Know
10 Facts About Tuberculosis (TB) You Must Know

Every year World Tuberculosis Day is observed to improve public awareness and understanding of tuberculosis (TB), one of the world’s deadliest infectious killers, and its devastating health, social, and economic consequences for people all over the world.

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The bacteria that cause tuberculosis infects about a quarter of the world’s population with compromised immune systems.

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Dr Vivek Anand Padegal, Director – Pulmonology, Fortis Hospitals, Bannerghatta Road shares 10 of the most crucial facts to help you keep safe from the disease.

  • Most of us in India have latent tuberculosis foci in our lungs

In early childhood, many of us are exposed to Mycobacterium tuberculosis (Mtb), causing infection foci in the lungs (primary TB), it stays in our body sometimes for years emerging out of this focus making us sick this is often due to weakening of the immune system or another overwhelming infection or another factor, this process is known as reactivation. Organisms can spread from infection foci in the lungs to other parts of the body, causing secondary illness (TB of lymph nodes, spine, etc).

  • Tuberculosis can be avoided by maintaining strong health and immunity

Nutritious food, proper sleep, exercise, and a stress-free lifestyle go a long way toward assisting the immune system in fighting any infection, including tuberculosis. Improving your immunity by eating a high-antioxidant diet can help.

  • Sunlight and fresh air can help prevent TB from the spread

The microorganisms causing tuberculosis flourish in chilly, damp environments. Therefore, remember to open all windows for a significant period of the day, whether at home or at work, to let the sunlight and air in and keep the bacterium at bay.

  • Although it can affect other organs, Tuberculosis is primarily a lung disease

The most typical signs of TB of the lungs include a cough lasting more than three weeks, streaks of blood in the sputum, low-grade fever, trouble breathing, and unexplained weight loss.
TB of the skin, for example, can cause a non-healing ulcer, TB of the spine can cause a backache, stiffness, and TB of the intestines can cause abdominal distension and complete constipation.

  • Having the BCG vaccine doesn’t make you TB-resistant

It also has no effect on secondary kinds of tuberculosis. However, to reduce the risk of infection, the BCG vaccine should be received immediately after birth. The benefits are mainly in childhood

  • Tuberculosis is a completely curable disease

TB can be totally treated if the whole course of drugs is completed as directed and regular follow-ups with the doctor are scheduled. RNTCP has 100% coverage in India, thanks to collaborations with private hospitals and medical institutes, with mainstays like early diagnosis (by sputum testing and chest X-ray), early therapy, and ensuring that the patient adheres to the treatment regimen (Directly Observed Treatment-DOTS).

Isoniazid, Rifampicin, Pyrazinamide, Ethambutol, are the most common medications used to treat tuberculosis. The length of treatment varies but usually lasts at least six months.

  • One of the primary challenges faced by TB prevention programmes is not taking the complete course of TB medicines as prescribed by the doctor

It can lead to organisms acquiring resistance to first-line therapy medications, resulting in MDR-TB (multi-drug-resistant TB).

  • Multidrug-resistant tuberculosis is difficult and expensive to cure since it does not respond to traditional TB treatments

MDR-TB is present in 2.3 per cent of new cases and 12-17 per cent of re-treatment cases, according to estimates. Completing the whole course of anti-TB medications in the dosages given by the doctor is one of the greatest strategies to avoid it.

Genital TB is one of the primary causes of infertility among women from lower socioeconomic backgrounds
When latent bacilli in the lungs become active again, they frequently spread to other regions of the body, including the genital tract, infecting the uterus as well as the fallopian tubes, with no symptoms. Only a culture from a tissue sample taken from the vaginal tract can help diagnose this highly difficult-to-detect illness.

  • TB can affect children, especially babies, but it is frequently misdiagnosed

Every year, over half a million newborns and children have TB, with 70000 dying, according to the WHO. Children under the age of three are more vulnerable to sickness, especially those with malnourishment or weakened immune systems. The symptoms frequently go undiagnosed, resulting in greater mortality rates. Youngsters must be inoculated with the BCG vaccine post-birth, also breastfeeding for at least six months boosts the baby’s immunity to all illnesses, including tuberculosis.

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