Pulmonary tuberculosis (PTB) is an illness caused by the bacteria mycobacterium tuberculosis. This disease, when not treated early and correctly, may cause serious and numerous complications. Here are some things you have to know to get rid of Pulmonary Tuberculosis.
Pulmonary tuberculosis occurs when mycobacterium tubeculosis get in your system and breed in your lungs. The condition may be dormant and not produce symptoms at all. Once you develop signs of pulmonary tuberculosis, it’s very important that you get immediate treatment.
The following conditions and age groups put you at risk of getting this condition:
- Elderly and children
- Poor immune system. People with HIV/AIDS, undergoing chemotherapy and taking antirejection medicines after an organ transplant have weakened immune system. When the disease causing microorganism gets in their body, they won’t be able to fight off the disease as much as a healthy person can.
- Certain countries have a high number of PTB cases. If you’re living in any of these countries, you’re at risk of getting this disease. Some of these countries are Philippines, Mexico, Vietnam and India.
- Substance abuse has very grave effects in your body. One of which is a weakened immune system. Taking care of your immune system is very essential as it serves as your shield against dangerous microorganisms.
- Frequent contact with an infectious person will increase your chances of getting Pulmonary Tuberculosis. This disease may be passed on from one person to another through droplet transmission. Staying at least 3-5 feet away from a PTB patient is recommended. If you’re a health care provider, all necessary precautions should be done when taking care of your patient.
- Living in a crowded and unsanitary place also puts you at risk of getting PTB
When the dormant infection becomes a full-blown illness, you’re likely to experience the clinical signs of PTB:
- Night sweats or chills
- Cough with phlegm
- hemoptysis or coughing up blood
- Nausea and vomiting
- Fatigue and loss of appetite
- Unexplained weight loss
- Difficulty breathing
- Chest pain and wheezing
- Sputum Culture. When you’re being tested for Pulmonary tuberculosis, you’ll need to pass a sample of your sputum. This would show whether or not you have mycobacterium tuberculosis in your body.
- Mantoux test is also known as Tuberculin Sensitivity test or Purified Protein Derivative (PPD) test. A dose of tuberculin is injected intradermally and the result is read after 48-72 hours. The induration is the reaction of your body to the substance. A 5 mm induration is a positive results for people with HIV and those who were recently in contact with a PTB patient. A 10 mm induration is positive for those whose conditions put them at high risk of getting this disease. A 15 mm induration is positive for people with no risk factors.
- Chest x-ray shows a graphic representation of the damage the bacteria has caused in your lungs.
Treatment for PTB depends on the severity of the illness. It usually involves taking several anti-tuberculosis medications. In some cases, you may need to have surgery to remove the affected lung tissue.
For Dormant PTB
A person who is infected by the bacteria but doesn’t show any symptoms of the disease may undergo preventive therapy. This includes taking medications, like Isoniazid (INH). If you have a latent infection, you might also want to consider having a lifestyle change. Evaluate your habits and living conditions. Try to change the ones that may make the condition worse, like smoking. (Learn how to quit smoking)
For Active PTB
An active PTB needs aggressive drug therapy. You’ll be required to take at least 4 different medicines, which you have to take regularly. It’s very important to finish the entire course of drug therapy. The Therapy usually lasts for 6-9 months or longer for people with other diseases, like AIDS.
For Drug-Resistant PTB
Drug-resistant PTB occurs due to several factors, like not finishing the course of therapy. You’ll be required to drink various medications, including one or 2 PTB first line drugs and several alternative PTB drugs.
The common medicines given for PTB patients are the following:
- When taking anti-TB medications, keep in mind that these drugs greatly affect the liver. It’s important to avoid alcohol and Acetaminophen (Tylenol) when under drug therapy.
- Ethambutol isn’t given to children with tuberculosis as it usually cause vision problems. Streptomycin is given in place of Ethambutol.
- Pyrazinamide isn’t given to pregnant women because the effects of this drug on the fetus is unknown.
Home Care and Prevention
- Domiciliary Treatments may be given to those patient who have recovered but are still in need of monitoring. Those undergoing pneumothorax and who have major thoracic surgery may also be under a domiciliary program.
- For Families with a PTB patient, it’s very important to know and follow all precautionary measures to prevent the spread of the disease. Though a PTB patient may not anymore be infectious after a few weeks of therapy, it’s still a good idea to be very careful to prevent anymore problems and complications.
- Never forget to remind your family member to take his medicines on time. Finishing the course of therapy is very important to make sure that all bacteria are killed. Not finishing the therapy may put him at risk of Drug-resistant TB.
- Wash hands all the time. Cover your mouth when you cough or sneeze.
- Get tested regularly, especially if you have any of the risk factors.
- Keep your immune system healthy by avoiding bad habits such as smoking and drinking. Have enough sleep and exercise regularly. It would also help to drink vitamins.
The combat against Pulmonary Tuberculosis may be tough, especially in those areas where it has a high prevalence rate, but that doesn’t mean you won’t be able to cure it. With enough commitment to therapy and lifestyle change, you’ll be able to get rid of Pulmonary Tuberculosis.
Click here for more information on how to get rid of tuberculosis.