Doctor's Notes on Tuberculosis
Tuberculosis (TB) is an infectious disease caused by bacteria. Initial infections usually have no symptoms in people or, if people do develop symptoms, the symptoms are nonspecific such as fever and an occasional dry cough. However, as the disease progresses slowly, symptoms and signs such as weight loss, loss of energy, fever, a productive cough, poor appetite, and night sweats may develop. The disease may go dormant for years, but when it returns, symptoms may include a cough that produces increased mucus, the patient may cough up blood, and the symptoms of fever, loss of appetite, weight loss, and night sweats return. Some patients develop an infection in the lungs that spreads into the pleural space, which causes chest pain. Other patients develop tuberculosis in other organs such as lymph nodes, bones and/or joints, meninges, the genitourinary tract, and the outside lining of the gastrointestinal tract. Symptoms of pain and discomfort can be associated with the location of the infection and may produce symptoms like those described above.
Tuberculosis is caused by a rod-shaped bacterium, Mycobacterium tuberculosis. The bacteria are transmitted from person to person by inhaled droplets that contain the bacteria. In the lungs, the body's macrophage engulfs the bacteria. Sometimes the macrophages cannot kill the bacteria, and then the bacteria can be transported via the lymph system or blood inside a macrophage to other body organs. Occasionally, the bacteria go dormant (latent TB infection) then reactivate so that the bacteria multiply and thus reactivate tuberculosis symptoms.
What Are the Treatments for Tuberculosis?
For treatments to be successful, the person must take all the drugs as prescribed. Failure can easily allow the bacteria to survive and make the patient ill again and/or let the bacteria become resistant to the first-line therapy. Treatment is complex. The following drugs are used in combination over time periods that extend for 6-9 months, depending on the intensive and continuation phase that the individual is placed on. There are four such phases that use the following drugs:
COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease) QuizQuestion
COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) is the same as adult-onset asthma.See Answer
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Bacterial PneumoniaBacterial pneumonia is an infection of the lungs. People with pneumonia usually experience coughing, fever, shortness of breath, and chest pain. Pneumonia is a leading cause of death from infection.
Can Tuberculosis Be Cured?Tuberculosis (TB) is an infectious disease caused Mycobacterium tuberculosis that usually affects the lungs. It is not very common in the U.S., but it still remains a leading cause of death in other parts of the world.
Chemical PneumoniaChemical pneumonia is a type of lung irritation. Many substances can cause chemical pneumonia including liquids, gasses, dust, fumes, and lung aspiration. Symptoms and signs of chemical pneumonia include burning eyes, lips, mouth, throat, dry cough, nausea, abdominal pain, chest pain, headache, and pleuritis. Treatment of chemical pneumonia depends on the toxic and amount of exposure.
Chest X-RayChest X-ray is a common procedure ordered to diagnose certain diseases and conditions such as pneumonia, congestive heart failure, emphysema, lung masses or nodules, tuberculosis, pleurisy, fractures, aortic aneurysms, or enlarged heart. Chest X-ray is a non-invasive and safe diagnostic procedure.
Chronic and Acute CoughsA cough is a symptom of an underlying disease or condition. A chronic or persistent cough may signal certain lung conditions that should be evaluated by a healthcare professional. Common causes of coughs include infection, allergies, lung disease, medications, and GERD (reflux). Acute coughs are categorized as infectious or non-infectious. Chronic cough (persistent cough) have a variety of causes and should be evaluated by physician. Treatment of cough, acute cough, chronic or persistent cough depends on the cause of the cough.
Fever (in Adults)A fever is a body temperature of 100.4 F or greater. A fever may be caused by a virus, bacteria, fungus, blood clot, tumor, drug, or the environment. Treatment of fever in adults usually involves ibuprofen, acetaminophen, or aspirin.
Fever in ChildrenFever is defined as a rectal temperature over 100.4 F or 38 C. Fever isn't life-threatening unless it is persistently high - greater than a 107 F rectal temperature. Fever is usually caused by an infection. Treatment focuses on controlling the temperature, preventing dehydration, and monitoring for serious illness.
Night Sweats (in Men and Women)Night sweats refer to excess sweating occurring during the night. Causes include menopause, infections such as TB, appendicitis and diverticulitis, cancer; medications like aspirin, other NSAIDs, and antidepressants, diabetes, low testosterone, and hormone disorders. Depending on the cause, in addition to sweating at night, symptoms may include flushing, fever, or chills. Treatment depends on the underlying cause.
Viral PneumoniaPneumonia is an infection or inflammation of the lungs. It can be in just one part of the lungs, or it can involve many parts. Symptoms of viral pneumonia include low-grade fever, coughing up mucus, tiredness, and muscle aches. A percentage of people who contract the deadly COVID-19 develop severe lung symptoms that may include viral pneumonia. The best treatment for viral pneumonia of any cause is to rest and keep the patient hydrated.
X-RaysX-Rays are a form of radiation used to image solid forms inside the body. X-rays are administered by radiologists for many different routine tests, such as mammograms, checking for broken bones, upper GI series, and dental exams, among others. Radiologists carefully monitor the X-ray equipment to make sure the patient receives the smallest dose of radiation possible.
Kasper, D.L., et al., eds. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine, 19th Ed. United States: McGraw-Hill Education, 2015.