Tuberculosis, an airborne infection brought on by bacteria, can spread from one person to another. The infection primarily infects the lungs; this condition is known medically as pulmonary tuberculosis. Numerous symptoms, such as chest pain and excruciating coughing, may result from it. The TB bacteria can spread to other body parts even though they are primarily found in the lungs. When the bacteria infect organs other than the lungs through the bloodstream, a severe form of the disease known as miliary TB manifests. Therefore, in this article, we discuss the main symptoms, methods of detection, and treatment options for pulmonary tuberculosis.
What are the most common tuberculosis symptoms?
It is important to note that tuberculosis infections may be dormant or active. Active TB can cause a variety of symptoms that may develop gradually. The main signs of pulmonary TB are a severe cough that lasts for more than two to three weeks, chest pain, blood in the cough, and shortness of breath. Other symptoms include weight loss, a reduced diet, nausea, and vomiting, as well as fever, chills, and night sweats.
How is active pulmonary tuberculosis identified?
When the immune system fails to stop the bacteria from growing, TB may become active. However, many people with latent TB never progress to active disease. Please be aware that anyone exhibiting TB symptoms should get tested by a doctor. Additionally, anybody who thinks they may have had close contact with someone who has active TB should get medical help.
To detect M. tuberculosis, a doctor can perform a skin or blood screening test. The doctor may also request a chest X-ray or sputum test if a patient tests positive for the bacteria to assess the severity of the condition.
How should active pulmonary tuberculosis be treated medically?
Even though TB is treatable, if proper care is not given, it can be life-threatening. As a result, those who have been detected with active pulmonary tuberculosis should adhere to a strict medical regimen:
- These patients take a combination of antibiotics for 6 to 12 months. There are several first-line treatment options, including pyrazinamide, isoniazid, rifampin, and ethambutol.
- Many people with active TB can receive treatment at home, though some do need a brief hospital stay.
- After a few weeks of treatment, the majority of patients begin to feel better and lose their ability to transmit the infection.
- To prevent the disease from returning and the bacteria from developing drug resistance, it is crucial to finish the entire course of treatment exactly as the doctor prescribes. This is because drug-resistant TB is much more challenging to treat and can be extremely dangerous if spread to others.
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