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Tuberculosis: Its Causes, Symptoms and Treatment

By HERWriter
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Tuberculosis related image Photo: Getty Images

Tuberculosis is also known as TB or pulmonary tuberculosis. In a report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the CDC stated, "11,545 TB cases were reported to CDC from the 50 states and the District of Columbia for 2009, representing a 10.5 percent decrease from 2008."

Also in 2009, the CDC reported more than 70 percent of TB cases were brought to the United States by someone who is travelling or visiting the United States. TB is an airborne disease which spreads through the water particles in your breath.

According to the CDC, the cause of tuberculosis is the bacterium called Mycobacterium tuberculosis. The CDC stated, "bacteria usually attack the lungs, but TB bacteria can attack any part of the body such as the kidney, spine, and brain. If not treated properly, TB disease can be fatal."

Those at greatest risk for TB are those with a suppressed immune system, the elderly and children.

According to the U.S. National Library of Medicine, ̎the primary stage of TB usually does not cause symptoms.̎ Later tuberculosis symptoms include:

• Unintentional weight loss
• Excessive sweating, especially at night
• Fever
• Fatigue
• Wheezing
• Breathing difficulty
• Chest pain
• Cough (usually cough up mucus)
• Coughing up blood

The CDC’s website stated there are two tuberculosis tests administered to detect if you are infected with the TB bacteria. Those tests are called TB blood tests and TB skin test (TST). Other types of testing for TB include a testing on your sputum (the mucus from your cough) or a chest x-ray.

Tuberculosis treatment takes a minimum of nine months. If you have a suppressed immune system, the treatment can take longer. TB treatment is divided into two categories. The first is latent TB infection and the second is active TB disease.

Latent TB infection means you have the virus in your body but you do not have any symptoms. Also, you not contagious and you may never become sick with TB. Treatment for latent TB is nine months of the medicine isoniazid (INH). Active TB disease is treated for 9 to 12 months with various doctor prescribed medications.

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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.


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