India has the highest tuberculosis burden worldwide (about 25 percent of all cases). It is estimated that the disease kills 5 Lakh Indians each year. But TB is a disease that is curable and preventable. In this week's health talk, we discuss the facts and myths about tuberculosis with Dr. med. Vivek Singh, Head of Lung Transplantation Medicine, Max Hospital, Saket.
What is tuberculosis? Who has an increased risk of tuberculosis?
Tuberculosis is an infectious disease that can affect anyone. Tuberculosis spreads through coughing of an infected person. The infected germs can spread from one person to another through coughing, sneezing, or tiny droplets that contain germs. A person with a weak immune system can be easily affected.
What are the symptoms of tuberculosis?
Tuberculosis can affect any organ of the body. Lungs are the most commonly TB affected organ. The symptoms are visible depending on the affected organ. Symptoms of tuberculosis generally include mild fever, weight loss and loss of appetite. However, if the TB affects the lungs, symptoms such as severe and long-term cough, coughing blood, or blood clots can occur in different areas of the body. TB can also affect a person's brain. In India, there are several cases in which tuberculosis affects the reproduction and fertility of a person who does not allow conception.
What types of tuberculosis are there?
TB can affect all body parts. There are several types of tuberculosis such as TB in the lung or lung membrane, intestinal TB, TB in the brain, TB of the reproductive system or skin TB. According to the medical sciences tuberculosis can affect all parts of the body except nails and hair.
What treatments are available for tuberculosis?
The treatment of tuberculosis depends on the organ involved. The treatment of TB is different for each organ. However, it takes at least six months to treat tuberculosis. One thing the patient should keep in mind is that he or she should stop treatment only if doctors recommend it.
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