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Pathology of tuberculosis

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i had tuberculosis 6 years ago and was pronounced free from it after taking the drugs and nothing was found in my sputum. i believe the results but every time i hear about TB, i get scared. is tuberculosis incurable? can it be totally cured? can it reappear? what is the cause in the first place?

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replied July 13th, 2009
Tuberculosis Answer A6932

Tuberculosis is an infection with the bacteria Mycobacterium tuberculosis. It might affect many systems in the body, but it usually affects the respiratory system. The lungs are inflamed and the alveolar wall might be more or less damaged. This might lead to the most characteristic symptom which is coughing blood. Fever might be present at the same time.

The infection is transmitted through the air when the infected person coughs. The dust from the dried saliva or sputum might also contain bacteria. As a matter of fact, many people are infected with Mycobacterium tuberculosis. It does not necessary mean that the person would immediately develop the symptoms of tuberculosis. The body is usually strong enough to fight with it. Medications can also be very helpful. However, the bacteria might be reduced to amounts that are not enough for effective disease, but might stay in the lungs closed in certain capsules from fibrous tissue. This is the way the body tries to limit the infection. In those capsules the bacteria might stay dormant for the whole life of the patient. But, if the immune system weakens for any reason, the defenses would lower and the infection might again become effective. This usually happens in older people where the immune system, as all other systems, weakens. People that live in poor health conditions are more susceptible to getting the infection because the immune system is more busy fighting other infections.

The treatment includes anti-tuberculotic medications, which are both used for the primary infection and in case it eventually appears again.

Tuberculosis is usually not dangerous with appropriate medical care, unlike before when many people could not afford at least minimal medical care.

There is a vaccine given for tuberculosis. It introduces the immune system to the bacteria, so it can be more effective when tuberculosis tries to appear. However, it cannot stop the infection if the immune system becomes too weak. You might want to visit a primary health care doctor or a specialist for infective diseases for additional information.

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