What is tuberculosis? Symptoms, Prevention


Tuberculosis (consumption) is an infectious disease caused by Mycobacterium tuberculosis, often called Koch’s bacillus. The disease develops only in response to the multiplication of these microbes in the human body. When the modern reader comes across this name of the disease, then the majority has the image of a pale, exhausted, constantly coughing person. Most sincerely believe that they only become infected with tuberculosis in places not so remote, and if you are not a tramp, then you will not be affected by the disease. In fact, almost any person, with the exception of hermits who do not leave their homes, is at risk of infection, and therefore the possibility of contracting tuberculosis.

Tuberculosis is a problem for all of humanity. To date, about a third of the world’s population are infected with mycobacterium tuberculosis (this microorganism is the causative agent of tuberculosis). Every year, 1% of the world’s population is infected with tuberculosis. Approximately 8.4 million new cases of tuberculosis are reported annually and approximately 2 million people die from the disease.


Tuberculosis is not just a socially determined disease, but an infectious disease. A disease that is transmitted from person to person by airborne droplets, that is, by coughing and even talking. Unfortunately, it is not possible to determine the appearance of an epidemically dangerous patient.

Tuberculosis is not in vain called a “insidious” disease. And it is true! The expressed symptoms of the disease, alas, often appear only with irreversible changes in the lungs. In most cases, a person with tuberculosis feels satisfactory for a long time.

How can you get tuberculosis?

The main source of tuberculosis infection is a person who has pulmonary tuberculosis. Sputum containing mycobacterium tuberculosis is separated from the respiratory tract, especially during coughing. Small droplets of sputum can enter the respiratory tract of a healthy person nearby. Sputum can settle on the surface of the floor or the ground, on objects and things. An infection can get into the human body due to a violation of hygiene rules – for example, if you do not wash your hands after contact with the handrails in public transport or eat unwashed vegetables and fruits, poorly processed meat and unboiled milk.

How to protect yourself from the disease?

In order not to get sick with tuberculosis, you need to lead a healthy lifestyle. Good health requires a healthy nervous system, so it is important to avoid stress. The food must be complete, must contain a sufficient amount of protein. An important condition for maintaining health should be daily normal physical activity. Dusty, unventilated rooms favor the spread of tuberculosis bacteria. To prevent the disease, it is necessary to ventilate the premises.

How to determine that I have a disease?

The main symptoms characteristic of tuberculosis:

  • cough for 2-3 weeks or more;
  • chest pain;
  • weight loss;
  • the presence of blood in sputum;
  • sweating at night;
  • periodic increase in temperature;
  • general malaise and weakness;
  • enlarged peripheral lymph nodes.

If you find yourself with these symptoms, consult a doctor immediately!

Where can I get tested?

A chest x-ray can be done at the community clinic. If tuberculosis is suspected, the district doctor or specialist doctor after clinical examination will send a TB consultation to a TB dispensary.

Who should look for tuberculosis more often?

There are several vulnerable groups of citizens and professional categories of specialists, which, for various reasons, should be screened for tuberculosis more often. The rest of the population living in the republic, regardless of occupation and place of work, is subject to preventive examinations for tuberculosis at least 1 time per year. Such a need was introduced in the republic back in 2012 by the Decree of the Chief State Sanitary Doctor of the Republic of Sakha (Yakutia) dated July 24, 2012 No. 5 due to the fact that in the Republic of Sakha (Yakutia) there is an intense epidemic of tuberculosis in order to actively detect in a timely manner tuberculosis among the population.

And since 2014, in accordance with the requirements of the sanitary and epidemiological rules of SP “Prevention of tuberculosis” in the constituent entities of the Russian Federation, municipalities with an incidence rate of tuberculosis of 60 or more cases per 100 thousand population per year – the population undergoes a preventive examination for tuberculosis at least 1 time per year.

 What happens when you inhale tubercle bacilli?

In most cases, if the human immune system is normal, inhaling tubercle bacilli does not lead to disease in the active stage. A whole army of defensive cells rushes to mycobacteria caught in the respiratory tract, which absorb and kill most of the pathogens. But some mycobacteria can survive and remain inactive for a long time. Thus, the “attack” of pathogens on the body remains without consequences. However, after months and even years, with weakened immunity as a result of some other disease, malnutrition or stress, tuberculosis bacteria begin to multiply, destroying the host cell with their mass and suggesting the development of active tuberculosis.

In some cases, the first time an infection enters the body, bacteria can multiply, causing serious damage to the lung tissue. These are cases of active pulmonary tuberculosis, which can become a source of further infection.

In a number of cases, pathogenic bacteria, once in the lungs, can be transported through the lymphatic vessels or with a blood stream to other parts of the body, entering the kidneys, bones and joints, the brain, etc. With good protective forces of the body, mycobacteria remain inactive for a long time, but with weakening of the body, tuberculosis can also develop in these parts of the body.

What can reduce the defenses of your body?

If too many tuberculosis bacilli-mycobacteria get into the airways, the body may not be able to cope with such an onslaught. If you communicate with a patient with tuberculosis for a long time, your body is constantly attacked, and there may come a time when it can no longer effectively resist infection. Other factors that contribute to the development of mycobacteria in the body are also known:

  • stress – mental or physical strain;
  • excessive consumption of alcohol;
  • smoking;
  • malnutrition or malnutrition;
  • other diseases that weaken the body.

Children, adolescents, pregnant women and older people are more susceptible to infection.

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