Tuberculosis (TB) is a contagious infection caused by slow-growing bacteria that spreads in areas of the body with a large amount of blood and oxygen. Pulmonary Tuberculosis is where the infection caused by TB bacteria is found in the lungs. It can spread to others through the air by coughing, laughing, and breathing in TB bacteria. Extrapulmonary Tuberculosis is an infection caused by TB bacteria that has spread beyond the lungs to other parts of the body, and it does not spread to others easily.
Tuberculosis is either latent or active. Latent TB is when TB bacteria is present in your body, and your immune system is keeping it from turning into active TB. Symptoms of TB might not be present, and it can not spread the disease to others. In some cases, Latent TB, it can become active TB. Active TB is when TB bacteria is growing and causing symptoms. If the lungs are infected with active TB, it is easy to spread the disease to others.
Most of the time, the disease is so mild that people don’t even know that they have been infected. Symptoms of Latent TB don’t show until the disease becomes active.
The symptoms of the infection depend on which part of the body is affected. The most infected areas for Extrapulmonary Tuberculosis include lymph nodes, bones, and joints, reproductive or urinary tract organs, the brain, and the spinal cord.
Active TB Symptoms
- A cough that brings up thick and cloudy. Sometimes bloody mucus from the lungs (sputum) for more than two weeks.
- Tiredness and weight loss
- Night sweats and a fever
- A rapid heartbeat
- Swelling in the neck (lymph nodes in the neck area are infected)
- Shortness of breath and chest pain
To diagnosis Latent Tuberculosis, doctors perform a tuberculin skin test. TB antigens are injected under the skin. Within two days, if the patient receives a red bump where the needle went into the skin, there is TB bacteria present in the body. To diagnosis Pulmonary Tuberculosis, doctors test a sample of mucus from the lungs (sputum). Doctors may do other tests or take a chest X-ray. To diagnosis Extrapulmonary Tuberculosis, doctors take a tissue sample (biopsy) to test, a CT scan, or an MRI.
TB Treatment is often a success, can be a long process. It can take about 6 to 9 months to treat TB; some TB infections need two years of treatment. Cure rates of TB are based on treatment and medication. If active TB does not have treatment, it can cause major damage the lungs or other organs in the body or death.