Tuberculosis Treatment in Cambridge, OH
What Is Tuberculosis (TB)?
Tuberculosis (TB) is a contagious and potentially life-threatening infection that most commonly affects the lungs; however, TB can attack any part of the body, including the brain, kidneys, and spine. There are two kinds of TB, latent and active.
- Latent TB: As an inactive form of tuberculosis, the bacteria lays dormant in your body for weeks or even years. The body is able to fight the bacteria, preventing it from spreading/growing. Latent TB causes no symptoms and cannot be transmitted to others, but patients who have latent TB are likely to test positive for TB on blood and skin tests.
- Active TB: If the immune system can no longer fight off TB bacteria, the TB becomes active. The bacteria begins multiplying in the body, causing you to experience symptoms. Active TB is infectious and can be transmitted to others.
Although cases of TB in the United States have decreased since 1993, it is still an infectious disease that can cause serious problems, whether latent or active, if it is not treated quickly. To schedule a consultation with a healthcare practitioner in Cambridge who specializes in tuberculosis treatment, call (740) 439-3515 or contact Dr. Rebecca Brauch online.
What Causes Tuberculosis?
Tuberculosis is caused by the Mycobacterium tuberculosis bacterium. Mycobacterium tuberculosis is transmitted through the air by coughing and sneezing. People can become infected by breathing in these bacteria.
Despite popular belief, tuberculosis cannot be transmitted by any other means, including:
- Physical contact like handshakes or kissing
- Sharing food or drinks
- Toothbrushes or touching toilet seats
People with weakened immune systems are more likely to contract TB as their bodies cannot fight off TB bacteria. Diseases that can cause weakened defenses include:
People who are malnourished, use tobacco, abuse drugs, are young, old, or live in areas with a high rate of TB are also at an increased risk of contracting tuberculosis.
Symptoms & Signs That You May Have Tuberculosis (TB)
Latent TB will show no symptoms and can only be detected through a blood or skin test. However, if your TB becomes active, you will experience a number of symptoms. The most common tuberculosis symptoms include a cough that lasts more than 3 weeks, chest pain, and coughing up blood or phlegm.
Other common symptoms and signs that you may have tuberculosis include:
- Loss of appetite
- Weight loss
- Night sweats
What are the Risks Associated with Tuberculosis?
Without the proper treatment, tuberculosis can be fatal. TB can spread to other parts of the body, such as the kidneys, spine, or brain. Once the disease spreads, the risks associated with tuberculosis include meningitis (swelling to the membranes that cover your brain), heart disorders, back pain and liver or kidney disorders.
Treatment Options for Tuberculosis (TB)
If you are experiencing TB symptoms, your healthcare provider can administer a tuberculosis skin test which injects PPD tuberculin just below the skin. If the injection turns into a hard, red bump 48 to 72 hours later, the test is most likely positive. Faulty skin test results are possible though; other TB tests available include blood tests, X-rays, CT scans or sputum tests.
If you receive a tuberculosis diagnosis, your healthcare practitioner will prescribe antibiotic medication for you to take for several months. Antibiotic treatments for patients with latent TB are isoniazid (INH), rifampin, or both at once, while the four main antibiotics for active TB are Ethambutol, Isoniazid, Pyrazinamide and Rifampin.
However, some TB strains, referred to as multidrug-resistant TB (MDR-TB), do not respond to these medications. If this is the case, a TB specialist may prescribe you additional antibiotics such as fluoroquinolones or kanamycin injections. These antibiotics must be taken for about 20-30 months.
It is important that you continue to take these medications until your healthcare provider says otherwise, even if your symptoms disappear.
How to Prevent Tuberculosis
One of the easiest ways to prevent tuberculosis is to stop the spread of the virus. If a blood test determines that you have latent TB, or if you are showing symptoms of active TB, your healthcare provider can prescribe you the correct antibiotics.
Other ways to prevent the spread of TB is to cover your mouth while coughing or sneezing, to wash your hands frequently, and to take steps to strengthen your immune system. If you travel abroad to areas known for high rates of TB, additional precautions may be necessary.
There are many different ways to combat tuberculosis. To schedule a consultation with a healthcare practitioner in Cambridge who specializes in treating TB, call (740) 439-3515 or contact Dr. Rebecca Brauch online.
Medical Associates of Cambridge, Inc.
Address1515 Maple Dr
Cambridge, OH 43725
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