Tuberculosis is caused by mycobacterium tuberculosis.
Common way of acquiring of this infection is through airways when an infected person:
It is also noted that tuberculosis infection occurs after weakening of immune system in cases like immune suppressive therapy, HIV/AIDS virus and cancer.
4 Making a Diagnosis
Diagnosis of tuberculosis starts with physical examination in which doctor examines for swelling of lymph nodes.
With the use of stethoscope, doctor performs auscultation of lungs. A simple skin test in which a substance called PPD tuberculin is injected just below skin of the forearm.
Within 48-72 hours, the injected site is checked for swelling. If there is a hard raised red bump, it means that, the person is likely to have TB infection.
Tb skin test is not accurate always, so further investigations are required to confirm the diagnosis.
Some of the tests include:
Atent or active tuberculosis can be identified.
A positive skin tests leads to chest X-ray or CT scan. They show white spots in lungs where immune system has walled off the TB bacteria. CT scan provides more detailed picture of the disease.
If chest X-ray shows signs of tuberculosis, sputum tests are recommended. The sputum samples are sent to laboratory to test for the presence of TB bacteria. These test can also be used to test for the presence of drug resistant strains of TB bacteria.
Treating tuberculosis takes much longer than treating other infections.
To treat tuberculosis, it takes at least 6-9 months. Course of the treatment depends on distribution of bacteria in the body and presence of drug resistant strains.
Travelling to a new place: Travelling to certain new places in which rate of tuberculosis is high can increase the risk of a person to contract tuberculosis. Places include:
and Caribbean Islands.
Poverty and substance abuse: Lack of medical care due to poor income can be considered as a risk factor, substance abuse such as alcohol or intravenous drug abuse makes immune system weaker and more vulnerable to tuberculosis, use of tobacco greatly increases the risk of TB.
Circumstances: Regular contact with people infected with TB increases the risk of contracting infection:
people who work in prisons,
and nursing homes are at high risk of acquiring TB infection.
Tuberculosis can spread to other internal organs from lungs through blood stream.
Some of the complications include:
Spinal pain - back pain and stiffness are common complications.
Joint damage: Tuberculous arthritis affects hips and knees.
Meningitis: Swelling of membranes that cover brain can cause:
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