It is an infectious disease affecting the lungs mainly. Tuberculosis chest X-ray has specific signs that differentiate it from other pulmonary diseases.
It is caused by mycobacterium tuberculosis bacteria. Patients will get the infection via air transmission because the patient will discharge the bacteria in his respiratory secretions such as cough sneezing and speaking, and then the bacteria will settle down on the ground mixed with dust.
Later on, it will move with dust in the air to be inhaled by a healthy person. In this case, it will infect the lung and flare-up there.
From there, it will be transmitted to the blood to body systems, for instance, vertebral column and kidneys. However, tuberculosis in organs other than lungs is not infectious.
Furthermore, it infects humans through drinking the milk of infected sheep. In this case, TB will affect the digestive system primarily.
It never transmitted by:
- Sharing food and drink with a patient.
- Touching a patient and shaking his hands. In addition, kissing is not transmitting the infection.
Clinical manifestations of tuberculosis
Symptoms of tuberculosis differ according to the affected organ or body system.
In general, as a bacterial infection it will lead to the following complaints:
- High body temperature.
- Sense of fatigue.
- Weakness and lethargy.
- Loss of appetite.
- Night sweating.
Tuberculosis in the lungs cause:
- Severe prolonged cough which lasts for three weeks or more.
- Coughing of blood sometimes.
- Chest pain secondary to inflammtion.
Diagnosis of tuberculosis
The complete diagnosis of tuberculosis necessitates the determination of the infection cause as mycobacterium tuberculosis as well as identifying the level of damage to the affected organs.
Thus, the physician will ask for doing the tuberculin test in the skin as well as in the blood.
Testing positive for tuberculosis (by TB skin test and blood test) offers proof of the infection only.
However, it doesn’t give strong evidence of having tuberculosis disease or having just latent infection.
Other investigations will require radiological and laboratory studies that differ according to the organ examined.
Tuberculosis chest X-ray
The simplest and first radiological study to diagnosis tuberculosis in the lung is the chest X-ray.
Chest X-ray in early infection will not show specific signs in most cases but it may show a picture like pneumonia. In some cases, TB will not cause any signs in the lungs.
Signs in tuberculosis chest X-ray are:
- Lung infiltration by an infection in the middle and lower zones of the lungs.
- Inflammation of the lymph nodes at the lung hila i.e.: contra; portions.
- Tuberculosis may be responsible for pleural effusion.
- The collapse of the affected area of the lung.
- Tuberculoma, that is to say, calcified nodules.
- Immunodeficient patients will have military TB which will show multiple scattered white spots.
- Later on, it will cause a cavity in the lung tissue as well as fibrosis. This indicates prolonged and severe infection.
Treatment of tuberculosis
The treatment will vary according to different factors that should be determined by the treating physician.
In general, tuberculosis has 10 antibiotics that can treat it. The best medications for TB are:
- Rifampin .
The course will treat the infection within 6-9 months by using a single drug. On the other hand, a combination of medications will treat severe cases.