Poor Lifestyle Choices by Youngsters Lead to Surge in Tuberculosis Cases During Lockdown
Tuberculosis (TB) is a life-threatening and contagious infection that impacts the lungs. It occurs due to bacteria (Mycobacterium tuberculosis) and can invade any organ.
There is an upsurge in the number of tuberculosis (TB cases) in youngsters around the 16-22 age group owing to poor lifestyle choices like physical inactivity, inappropriate eating and sleep schedule, and increased screen time. Get rid of the sedentary lifestyle, follow a well-balanced diet, exercise daily, and cut down on screen time to prevent tuberculosis in the younger population. Tuberculosis (TB) is a life-threatening and contagious infection that impacts the lungs. It occurs due to bacteria (Mycobacterium tuberculosis) and can invade any organ. The TB burden is rising in the country during the lockdown.
Dr Arvind Kate, Pulmonologist at Zen Multispecialty Hospital has noticed an alarming trend of TB in youngsters. “During the lockdown, there was a considerable spike in TB cases among youngsters. The causes behind TB are inadequate sunlight exposure due to being home-bound during the lockdown, not exercising on a daily basis, poor eating habits as there is increased consumption of junk food, too much screen time, and improper sleep routine. So, one’s immunity takes a hit. These factors make youngsters susceptible to TB and increase morbidity and mortality rates in the patients. TB is preventable and curable with proper medical attention.”
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“The coronavirus pandemic took its toll on those afflicted by tuberculosis in India, increasing the estimated death toll from the infectious lung disease to 500,000 in 2020 from 445,000 in 2019, according to the World Health Organization’s 2021 Global TB report. India accounted for 34 per cent of the combined total number of TB deaths. The case fatality ratio (estimated mortality/ estimated incidence) rose from 17 per cent in 2019 to 20 per cent in 2020, as per the report. Non-COVID diseases, including tuberculosis, have been neglected since the pandemic. Risk factors of TB are HIV infection (the virus that causes AIDS), substance abuse, low body weight, alcohol, diabetes, cancer, and coming in contact with someone with TB disease. Due to the pandemic, the majority of youngsters did not reach out for investigation owing to which the cases of TB have gone up. We suggest going for regular screening to know why there has been a surge in TB cases in the younger population. I urge appeal everyone to consult the doctor if one has fever or cough or lump in any part of the body for over a week,” Dr Sangita Chekker, Consultant Chest Physician, Wockhardt Hospitals Mira Road.
Dr Kate added, “AntiTB medicines can be given depending on the type of TB one has. Apart from this, one will have to follow a healthy lifestyle like eating fresh fruits, vegetables, pulses, and whole grains. Avoid junk, oily, processed, and canned foods that lower immunity, soak in the sun, have good ventilation at home, mask up, maintain social distance, and sanitize hands as required. Stay away from sick people, cover your mouth while coughing or sneezing, exercise without fail. Limit exposure to electronic gadgets like tablets, laptops, mobile phones, and computers, especially while sleeping. Get a sound sleep of a minimum of 8 hours on a daily basis. Awareness programs like TB education should be conducted for youngsters regarding its dangers. TB is also a lifestyle-related disease now. Eat on time, Sleep on time, sunlight exposure that’s the Mantra for TB prevention.”
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