April 02, 2019

Tuberculosis: Risk factors, Prevention, and Symptoms

Tuberculosis causes and treatment

Tuberculosis is an infectious disease that affect the lungs and can also spread to other part of the body. It is caused by organism known as mycrobacterium tuberculosis.

Factors that increase your risk of tuberculosis 

  • HIV/AIDS
  • Diabetes
  • End-stage kidney disease
  • Some cancers
  • Cancer treatment, such as chemotherapy
  • Some drugs used to treat rheumatoid arthritis, Crohn's disease and psoriasis
  • Malnutrition
  • Extreme age (young or elderly)
  • Tobacco use
  • Occupational exposure e.g Health care workers

What are the signs and symptoms of tuberculosis 

  1. Loss of appetite
  2. Weight loss
  3. Cough
  4. High temperature
  5. Chest pain
  6. Body weakness
  7. Difficulty in breathing
  8. Night sweat
  9. Increased heart rate
  10. Coughing of blood

Tests to do to confirm tuberculosis

🔯Chest X-ray: this will show if there is any lesion, hole and scar in your lung

🔯Tuberculin skin test: this is done to see if you have been exposed to tuberculosis. It is done by putting small amount of tuberculosis antigen under the skin of your forearm. If you have been exposed to tuberculosis, your skin will react by showing a firm red bump at the site of the injection within 2 to 3 days.

🔯Sputum tests: If your chest X-ray shows signs of tuberculosis, your care giver may request for samples of your sputum, the mucus that comes up when you cough. The samples are tested for tuberculosis bacteria.

Treatments of tuberculosis 

The aim of management is to reduce or stop the effect of the organism and prevent lung damage.
The treatment of tuberculosis is in two categories. First line drugs and second line drugs.

The first line drugs ininclude:
  • Pyrazinamide
  • Ethambutol
  • Isoniazid
  • Rifampicin.

Patients with drug resistance tuberculosis is given second line drug, this include:
  • Streptomycin
  • Cycloserine
  • Capreomycin
  • Para-aminosalicylic acid
  • Ethionamide.

Complications of tuberculosis

  1. Joint damage, hips and knee are usually most affected
  2. Back stiffness and pain is common complication
  3. Heart disorder(in a rare occasion)
  4. Impairment of liver or kidney function
  5. Anaemia.

Prevention of tuberculosis 


  • Vaccinations (BCG vaccine prevent against tuberculosis)
  • Early detection and treatment is also effective in preventing spread of tuberculosis
  • Good ventilation
  • Natural light, exposure to ultraviolet light kills off tuberculosis bacteria
  • Maintenance of good hygiene prevent and reduce spread of tuberculosis bacteria.

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