When to suspect tuberculosis?

When to suspect tuberculosis?

Tuberculosis is a common disease in developing countries like India and Indian subcontinent. Nearly 1.4 million deaths are caused by tuberculosis. Majority, nearly more than one third of the total in the world because of tuberculosis are in India and Indian subcontinent.

So It is a major health concern. It is preventable and treatable disease and treatment is generally funded entirely in national programs so it is within the reach of poor people too. Let’s today discuss tuberculosis.

What is tuberculosis? ·

Tuberculosis is a disease obviously.

  • It is caused by Mycobacterium tuberculosis.
  • It can affect any organ of the body but mainly affects lungs.
  • Nearly one third of the population of Indian subcontinent is infected by Mycobacterium tuberculosis.·
  • When this infection gets activated it is called tuberculosis disease.
  • BCG vaccine is given to prevent tuberculosis.

What are symptoms of tuberculosis?(Tuberculosis symptoms)

  • Tuberculosis is a disease which has capability to affect any organ of the body.
  • Having said that its symptoms vary depending upon which organ of the body is involved.
  • Most common symptoms are generally common to all types of tuberculosis disease.
  • Loss of appetite: Yes indeed it is a very common symptom. Loss of appetite is a major symptom complained by the majority of tuberculosis. This complaint is so severe and lasting for many months in succession leading to weight loss invariably in all tuberculosis patients.
  • Weight loss: This is also the most common manifestation of tuberculosis. Weight loss too with loss of appetite and feeling of sickness is indeed very common and if not present generally other diagnosis should be considered. In children weight loss may not be real but no weight gain is generally equivalent to weight loss for them.
  • Growth failure: As we discussed earlier not gaining weight and height is called wasted and stunted child. The tuberculosis disease may take a toll on patients and either patient takes less food due to loss of appetite or too much is utilized to fight infection or can be both the causes.
  • Cough lasting for 14 or more days: This is also the next most common symptom. It’s really the combination of loss of appetite, weight loss and cough lasting for 14 or more days makes the presence of tuberculosis strong in India.
  • Evening rising fever: Along with above symptoms this is a common symptom and generally mild grade fever many times even missed to get noticed. If the lungs are heavily involved and damaged by disease it may lead to difficulty in breathing to the extent one may die of breathlessness.
  • If other organs are involved symptoms are different along with weight loss and loss of appetite.
  • If the brain and structure surrounding brain in cranium are involved It may cause increased intracranial pressure showing symptoms such as headache, nausea, vomiting, increased blood pressure, irregular breathing, photophobia, loss of consciousness, irritability, altered behavior, seizures, loss of power in one or more limbs, paralysis, hemiplegia, Loss of hearing and vision.
  • If backbone or spinal cord is involved it may manifest as back pain and paraplegia, paralysis, loss of bladder bowel control along with weight loss and loss of appetite.·
  • Thus depending on which organ is involved the symptoms will vary.

When to suspect tuberculosis?·

  • When you, especially a child less than 5 year old, have a known history of direct tuberculosis patient contact.
  • When you feel like not eating anything and you really have lost your appetite for many days.
  • If you are facing weight loss. If the clothes that were fit previously now are very loose fitting.
  • If you have a cough lasting more than 14 or more days and not decreasing with normal antibiotics. This cough may be dry or may be with expectoration. You may feel chest pain while coughing. If there is sputum you may see blood in that sputum.
  • If you have a fever that is typically mild grade and may be missed typically comes daily in the evening and relieved at night after sweats. While there is fever you may feel decreased power, fatigue, lethargy and not feeling well.
  • Along with these symptoms you may have headache daily especially in the morning, photophobia that is you are annoyed by light, you may have nausea and vomiting.



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