Essay on Prevention, Diagnosis and Treatment of Tuberculosis

The treatment of tuberculosis (TB) is a complex and lengthy process that typically involves a combination of antibiotics taken over an extended period. TB is caused by the bacteria Mycobacterium tuberculosis and primarily affects the lungs but can also affect other parts of the body.

What is Tuberculosis?

Tuberculosis (TB) is an infectious disease that attacks the lungs and can affect other parts of the body as well. It uses the air surrounding the afflicted as a medium in order to be transmitted through respiratory fluids when they cough or sneeze. There are two types of TB: latent and active.

The people with latent TB are affected by the virus, but they don’t have TB. There is no danger of the disease spreading through people with latent TB. But the people with active TB are in much greater peril and require proper treatment that may last from six to nine months.

Symptoms of Tuberculosis

TB in many cases proves fatal if proper treatment is not given to the diseased. Symptoms of TB usually include chronic coughing, blood-specked sputum, a fever that doesn’t go away, sweating at night, loss of appetite, fatigue, weight loss, and nail clubbing. Diagnosis involves chest X-rays, Tuberculin skin tests (TST), Complete Blood Counts (CBC), and microbiological culture of bodily fluids.

TB affects nearly one-third of the population and occurs in more likelihood to poorer immune systems, but the good news is that it rarely ever occurs twice in a person if they pursue proper treatment.

Treatment of Tuberculosis

There are several ways that can be practiced with regard to the prevention and treatment of TB. Prevention mostly relies on screening programs and vaccination with the Bacillus Calmette Guerin vaccine. Diagnosis just with the help of symptoms is tricky.

A Tuberculin Skin Test may be used to inject a substance called PPD Tuberculin just below the skin of the forearm. After 48 hours, a healthcare professional will check for swelling and redness on the skin where the needle has its mark. This test can be misleading, though.

More definitive diagnosis is achieved by way of Blood Tests, chest X-rays (may show white marks as TB Bacteria walled off by the immune system), and microbiological culture of a clinical sample of sputum. Since the culture process can take up to six weeks oftentimes treatment is started without waiting for test results.

Treatment of Tuberculosis often requires prolonged administration of antibiotics. Improper or incomplete treatment can result in mutations of the virus that may be resistant to any and all types of medications available at this point in time. Treatment of latent TB may require just one type of antibiotic but active TB may require a whole combination of antibiotics.

While it is true that TB is one of the deadliest diseases of all, it is curable if proper action is taken in time. Prevention helps but if the disease has been contracted already, it is necessary to follow the full course of treatment in order to make sure the disease doesn’t return.

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