Tuberculosis is one of the most dreaded diseases in the world.
It is so virulent due to its characters like silence in emergence, deep location of infection and drug resistance. Besides it attacks vital organs of the body, weakens the patient physiology and chances of self contamination.
It also spread to fellow people, if proper precaution is not taken.
Once TB was a dreaded disease and who ever counters it would have lost his life. But due to tremendous research and development in drug molecules currently TB is completely curable.
Also the TB bacteria’s ability to build resistance is countered by use of multiple drug regimen. That is at-least two or more drugs are used for treatment. Also the course of medicine is given for not than 6 months. The bacteria is killed in first month of medication but to kill any remnants and also prevent resurgence it is continued for 6 months.
Important Tuberculosis symptoms include:
1. Violent cough in the nights preferentially wet type. Cough (and/or not expectoration) for more than 15 days.
2. Fever or rise in temperature. This may be sometimes be irregular fever like feverish for few hours in a day regularly for months.
3. Weakness and lethargic. If you skip a meal you will feel even weaker and will be better only by food.
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 mood etc.
The symptoms may not be same in all the cases. So one should rely on symptoms lasting for more than 2 weeks. Of them feverish condition, coughing, weight loss, loss of appetite appear in most cases.
The infection location is also important and symptoms vary. Like if infection in lungs than there is have prominent coughing, mild fever, weight loss and phlegm expulsion.
Infection in stomach or bones can show fever, weakness, loss of weight. Here cough and phlegm may or may not be seen.
TB treatment is done by two lines of therapy.
As first line of drugs and second line. Second line is started only on resurgence after cure by first line.
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. WHO recommends Directly Observed Treatment Short course (DOTS) therapy free of cost from all area government hospitals.
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. We will not go into details on medicine used but we will see remedial measures to be taken besides drugs.
The drugs are to be taken along with 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.
Remedial Measures for Tuberculosis besides Drugs:
TB cannot be cured by drugs alone. One needs to follow some remedial measures to cure it besides taking drugs.
1. Proper diet: One should take protein rich diet during therapy. The protein rich diet can be had in the form of milk an egg a day and also nuts.
a) Eat well: Some are of opinion that having non-veg diet is not advisable while others support it. But milk is advised as it is easy to digest and absorb. Without diet the body defense mechanism is weaker and unable to support drug therapy. When one has sufficient diet, the body immune system also fights against the disease making it cure faster.
b) Avoid side effects: Further, the drugs used in therapy are more than one so, they is much load on the liver to detoxify the medicine and remove from the body. Having sufficient diet helps build up liver and its enzymes even to tackle the medicine toxicity. Hence we notice those who do not eat well during TB therapy become lean and develop side effects like stomach ache, rashes etc.
So having good diet not only helps you keep fit but also helps medicine to work.
c) Helps build weight: Also TB drugs are considered to be anabolic in nature. That is they stimulate the build up of body mass. So sufficient diet is needed to help the anabolic nature of the drug. The weight of the patient gradually raises and comes to normal. Sometimes it even grows beyond normal which is a healthy sign.
d) Eat frequently: Many are prone to acidity due to irritant nature of rugs on the stomach and also excess hunger. To satisfy this, one needs to have diet at-least four times in a day. You can add a diet one in between supper and lunch.
2. Open and fresh air: It is believed that TB is cured faster when one stays in open air for long. So it is good to sit outside in the balcony or garden to enhance the healing. Even the expired air which might contain the bacteria is removed out and may prevent reinfection.
3. Rest: TB patient needs good bed rest for at-least first two months for effective treatment of disease. But rest for complete course is better. Even small effort like watching T.V, working on computer can seems to be stressful. So it is better to rest by sleeping or sitting quiet.
4. Avoid going into pollution. TB patients need to keep away from especially air pollution. Since the bacteria mostly resides in the lungs, going into pollution can enhance other secondary infections in the lungs. This has to be avoided to facilitate cure.
5. Clean and pure drinking water: Since multiple drugs are given, water is needed to remove the toxic waste of the drug from body. For this one needs to drink sufficient water. Water if not clean and pure can cause other problems besides infections. So it is recommended to have fresh and pure water for drinking.
6. Walk in sunlight: It is good to walk early in the morning in the sun if it is not cold. Also one can walk in the evening sun like 4 to 5pm as it is good for vitamin-D formation. The ergosterol below the skin converts to vitamin due to interaction with light.