Tuberculosis is one of the most dreaded diseases in the world. This is due to its characters like silence in emergence, deep location of infection, attack on vital organs of the body, resistance to the drugs, weakening of the patient physiology, chances of easy contamination and spreading to the household members and fellow people, self contamination i.e spreading from lungs to stomach or other body parts in the same person.
Important Tuberculosis symptoms include:
1. Violent cough in the nights preferentially wet type.Cough and expectoration for more than 15 days
2. Fever or rise in temperature. This may be sometimes irregular fever like feverish for few hours in a day regularly for months.
3. Weakness and lethargic.
4. Uncontrolled Weight Loss in short span.
5 . Sweating at Nights
6. Chest pain during coughing.
7. Lack of appetite or desire to have food.
8. Irritable etc..
The symptoms may not be same in all the case and one or more may be more prominent. Of them feverish condition, coughing, weight loss, loss of appetite appear in most cases.
The infection location is also important and symptoms vary like infection in lungs have prominent coughing and phlegm expulsion.
Infection in stomach or bones can show fever, weakness, loss of weight and cough and phlegm may or may not be seen.
TB treatment is done by two lines of therapy.
First line drugs include three drugs which are to be taken for 6 months on continuous schedule to kill the parasite, and also prevent any chances of relapse due to dormant or inactive TB-bacteria. In India this is given as DOTS therapy free of cost from all area government hospitals.
The drugs are to be taken along proper nutritious food. This helps faster recovery, remove the toxic metabolite of the drug and also prevent further weight loss by the patient. But many patients may feel uncomfortable to take medicines for such a long time and even medicines can have side effects like bitterness in mouth, metallic taste of the tongue, abdominal pains etc. So family members have to help patient keep up with the schedule till the 6 months periods. Even sputum check up in between is advisable as it indicates the level of decline in infection.
In most cases first line treatment is highly efficient. But if the drugs are not taken as per the physician advice or rarely if there is a relapse of disease, second line drugs are administered. This line of therapy is more painful to the patient.