Tuberculosis, What Is It?

William Weaver

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Tuberculosis ( abbreviated as TB for Tubercle Bacillusis) is caused by a bacteria called mycobacterium tuberculosis. TB is most common in the lungs but can affect other areas of the body such as bones, joints, the circulatory system, the nervous system and the lymphatic system.

Tuberculosis, what is it and what are the signs and symptoms of the disease?

For most people that have the TB bacteria in their bodies, their immune system has encapsulated the bacteria so that it doesn't affect the body. This means that you can't infect others with the bacteria. The bacteria could lay dormant in the body for years and years. Since you may have the bacteria in your body, it's important to keep your immune system in top shape in order to keep the disease at bay.

Approximately a third of the worlds population has the TB bacteria in their bodies. However, not everyone that is carrying the bacteria will get the disease. About one in every ten people that are carrying the bacteria will get the active form of TB. About half of those that get the active disease will die from it. More and more people in developed countries are getting TB because their immune systems are compromised by HIV/aids or by drugs they are taking both legal and illegal. There are new strains of TB that are showing up that are resistant to the common drugs used for treatment.

There may not be any symptoms of the disease until it reaches an advanced stage. Some of the symptoms that you may have the disease are: unexplained loss of weight, no appetite, loss of energy, cough, a fever and night sweats. These symptoms are the same as other diseases so your doctor will have to run tests and a chest x-ray to see if these symptoms are the result of active TB. Tuberculosis can also occur in other organs of the body such as the genitourinary tract and lymph nodes. There are several types of skin tests that are used to screen for TB, it takes 48-72 hours for the results to show up.

If you have these symptoms be sure to see your doctor immediately. It may not be TB, but you will want to know for sure. In any case you will want to know whatever it is and get it treated. I hope that this information helps you answer the question, Tuberculosis, What Is It?

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