What is Pulmonary Tuberculosis?

Tuberculosis is a disorder of the lower respiratory system, which is a highly infectious disease that is caused by Mycobacterium tuberculosis bacteria, which affects the lungs mainly and results in coughing of blood-stained sputum and very thick phlegm.

It is spread by an airborne process when bacteria spread through droplets in the air, either by sneezing, coughing, or talking. Tuberculosis can be fatal, but in many cases, it is preventable and treatable.

Causes of Pulmonary Tuberculosis 

The main cause of Tuberculosis is the Mycobacterium tuberculosis bacteria which are slow-growing bacteria that thrive in a place rich in oxygen which is the lungs.

Risk factors of Pulmonary Tuberculosis 

Individuals with weakened immune systems are most likely to develop pulmonary tuberculosis; the following are some conditions that can weaken the immune system

  1. Cancer
  2. Smoking
  4. Sepsis
  5. Silicosis
  6. Chronic kidney disease
  7. Diabetes
  8. Medical treatments such as organ transplants impede the functioning of the immune system.

Signs and symptoms of Pulmonary Tuberculosis

The clinical manifestations of tuberculosis are listed below:

  1. Persistent cough lasting for more than two weeks
  2. Night sweats
  3. Weight loss
  4. General body weakness
  5. Coughing up of phlegm and blood-stained mucus
  6. Chest pain
  7. Swelling in the neck
  8. Fever

Types of pulmonary tuberculosis 

The type of pulmonary tuberculosis is highlighted below:

  1. Latent Tuberculosis: In this type of tuberculosis, individuals present with no symptoms, and the chest X-ray does not show any particular damage to the lungs. However, a blood test or skin prick test will indicate that they have the infection.
  2. Active Tuberculosis: Individuals with this type of tuberculosis experience a persistent cough that produces phlegm/blood stain, fatigue, fever, chills, and a loss of appetite and weight. The symptoms typically worsen over time, but they can also spontaneously go away and return.

Diagnosis of Pulmonary Tuberculosis

The following techniques are used in diagnosing tuberculosis:

  1. Tuberculin skin test (Mantoux test): This is when a tuberculosis antigen is injected into the skin intradermally to detect the immune response.
  2. Sputum culture test: this test is carried out by the scientist the sputum collected is cultured to check for any bacteria.
  3. Blood test
  4. Chest X-ray

Treatment of Pulmonary Tuberculosis

With early detection and appropriate antibiotics, Tuberculosis can be managed and treated well.

The right type of antibiotic and length of treatment will depend on:

  • Individual’s age and overall health
  • If the individual has active or latent Tuberculosis
  • If the strain of TB is drug-resistant

Medical Treatment of Pulmonary Tuberculosis 

   The treatment regimen for pulmonary tuberculosis includes the following:

  1. Four-month Rifapentine-moxifloxacin Tuberculosis Treatment Regimen consisting of the following drugs:

High-dose daily rifapentine (RPT)

Moxifloxacin (MOX)

Isoniazid (INH)

Pyrazinamide (PZA).

  1. Six to Nine months of RIPE tuberculosis treatment regimens consist of the following drugs:

Rifampin (RIF)

Isoniazid (INH)

Pyrazinamide (PZA)

Ethambutol (EMB)

Complications of Pulmonary Tuberculosis

The complications of pulmonary tuberculosis are listed below:

  1. Tuberculosis of the spine
  2. Cardiac Tamponage
  3. Pleural Effusion
  4. Laryngitis
  5. Pleurisy
  6. Lung function damage.

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