Tuberculosis is a disease that primarily attacks the lungs, but it can also affect other organs in the body. It is one of the leading causes of death from infectious diseases in the world and affects millions of people each year. In the text below, we interview pulmonologist Thais Reis, who explains everything you need to know about tuberculosis, including its symptoms, forms of transmission and treatments. Keep reading!
What is Tuberculosis? How is it caught?
Tuberculosis is a highly contagious disease that primarily affects the lungs, but can also affect other parts of the body. Its transmission occurs from person to person, through droplets infected with Koch’s bacilli (Mycobacterium tuberculosis), which are expelled into the air during simple activities such as a conversation, cough or a sneeze. The danger of tuberculosis is easily spreadable transmission, as healthy people can unknowingly inhale the bacteria.
What are the symptoms of Tuberculosis?
Tuberculosis is usually characterized by the following symptoms:
– Fever (especially in the evening);
– sweating (excessive sweating) at night;
– loss of appetite;
– chronic tiredness;
In addition to these, there are also the specific symptoms of pulmonary tuberculosis, which are:
– Dry or productive cough (with phlegm) for two weeks or more;
– elimination of phlegm;
– expectoration with blood.
Tuberculosis can kill? What to do for the disease not to reach that point?
According to pulmonologist Thais Reis, in the presence of the above symptoms, the best thing to do is seek medical attention. “imaging exams and bacteriological tests can be carried out to confirm the diagnosis of the disease, which is treated using four different medications. Despite being serious, most cases achieve complete cure”.
It is worth mentioning that, despite being a curable disease, tuberculosis is still responsible for the death of about 4,700 people every year in Brazil, according to the Ministry of Health. The best way to prevent the disease is vaccination.
Tuberculosis has a cure? What is the treatment?
Treatment for tuberculosis is carried out through the daily administration of the RIPE scheme, which consists of a combination of four drugs: rifampicin, isoniazid, pyrazinamide and ethambutol. “This treatment is free and available in the Unified Health System (SUS), and should preferably be carried out in a Directly Observed Treatment (DOT) regime. In this regime, the patient is accompanied and guided by a health professional, ensuring the effectiveness of the improvement process”, says Dr. Thais.