What is Tuberculosis?
Tuberculosis is a contagious disease caused by Mycobacterium tuberculosis that spread from person to person through tiny droplets in the air when someone with active TB coughs, speaks, sneezes, spits, laughs or sings. It normally spreads from someone you live or work with than from a stranger.
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The State of Tuberculosis
There are different stages of TB:
- Latent/ Inactive TB: In this state, the bacteria remain in your body in an inactive state and cause no symptoms. This kind of TB is not contagious, but if neglected, it can turn into active TB. Therefore, proper treatment is required for such patient to prevent the disease from spreading.
- Active TB: This state makes you sick and can spread to others. If not treated properly, it could lead to chronic diseases to death of the person suffering from it.
TB mainly affects your lungs but can also attack other parts of your body like kidneys, spine, bone, skin, throat or brain. The symptoms may vary according to the part of the body infected by it.
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Some general symptoms of TB are:
- Coughing that lasts three or more weeks
- Coughing up blood
- Chest pain, or pain while breathing or coughing
- Unintentional weight loss
- Night Sweats
- Loss of appetite
Following are some other symptoms of TB according to the organ infected:
- Lymph node TB – The only symptom here is a painless and slow enlargement or inflammation of the lymph nodes, with no other general symptoms. It can occur in the neck area or other parts of the body.
- Bone and Joints TB – Pain in joins and bones, curving of the affected bone, loss of movement, fragile bones and joints may be the symptom.
- Spinal Cord TB – Chronic back pain is the earliest and most common symptom, along with weak spinal cord.
- Meningitis TB – Meninges is tissue that surrounds the brain. The symptoms of TB in meningitis include vomiting, severe headache, dislike for lights, neck stiffness and seizures.
- Kidney/ Gastrointestinal/ Abdominal TB – Abdominal pain, diarrhea, and bleeding from the anus or rectum, blood in your urine.
TB is a life-threatening disease and immediate medical treatment and constant medical supervision are required in case you are diagnosed with tuberculosis.
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