Tuberculosis is a contagious disease caused by a bacterium carried through the air. People can carry the bacteria in their body for years. For most of those people, the bacteria remains dormant never causing a problem. In a small percentage of people though, the bacteria begins to multiply, developing into tuberculosis. It is at this stage that the person begins to feel ill and can spread the disease to others. The bacteria are spread when the infected person sneezes or coughs. Usually, tuberculosis affects the lungs but can attack other parts of the body. Recently it has become a growing health concern due to more people with weakened immune systems, increasing resistance to antibiotics and extreme poverty in many parts of the world.

What are the symptoms of tuberculosis?
Symptoms of tuberculosis include:
-Cold night sweats
-Loss of appetite
-Energy loss
-Weight loss
-Shortness of breath
-Chest pain

What are the risk factors of tuberculosis?
Tuberculosis is transmitted from person to person by droplets in the air. People get it by exposure to other people with tuberculosis. Although anyone can get TB, it is most often seen in people who live or work in crowded conditions with others at high risk. Such places include jails, hospitals or communities with people from areas where there is a high incidence of TB.

How is the diagnosis of tuberculosis made?
Tuberculosis is often discovered by chest x-ray or a positive tuberculin skin test. Your physician with obtain a medical history and perform a physical examination. Sputum samples may demonstrate tuberculosis organisms. Sometimes procedures such as bronchoscopy are needed for diagnosis.

What is the treatment for tuberculosis?
Standard treatment for tuberculosis is antibiotics. Tuberculosis is slow to respond to the antibiotics so they are usually taken for a period of six months or longer. If the medicines are stopped sooner the disease tends to return.


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