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World Tuberculosis Day: Everything You Need To Know

By DEVIKA BANDYOPADHYA

There are several people who die each year due to tuberculosis, in short TB. Despite sincere efforts by renowned medical professionals, tuberculosis still continues to be a dreadful and life-threatening illness. On March 24th, the World Tuberculosis Day is celebrated across the globe.

In comparison with other diseases, TB holds the record for being the second biggest life-threatening disease in the world. It is required that each one of us understands what this illness exactly is and how the one suffering can be cured out of it.

World Tuberculosis Day

What is TB?

Tuberculosis or TB is a disease that affects the lungs. However, if untreated, it can begin to affect other parts of the body. It is caused by the Mycobacterium tuberculosis bacterium. It spreads through air and is contagious. This illness can be distinguished under two categories.

• When bacteria continue to remain in an inactive state inside the human body, then this form of TB is referred to as Latent TB. In the inactive form, there are no symptoms as such and it is not contagious. However, they might soon become active.
• When bacteria, inside the body, are in the active form, it is severe and shows all the symptoms. This is known as Active TB and is contagious.

A good part of the population globally is said to possess latent TB. There is about 10% chance that latent TB could turn active- the chances of this happening being higher in people who have a weak immune system. People who are malnourished or those who smoke are also at a high risk of their latent TB turning into an active one.

As per reports, TB tends to attack people from developing countries and usually the middle-aged.

Symptoms of TB

A person suffering from active TB shows signs of this illness. The usual symptoms are fatigue, fever, chills, coughing - at times with blood or mucus, severe weight loss, loss of appetite and night sweats.

The symptoms differ when the illness has spread to other parts of the body, outside the lungs, through the bloodstream. Bone TB shows symptoms of pain in the spine and destruction in the joints.

Brain TB leads to meningitis. Liver or kidney TB can cause the presence of blood in the urine. When TB affects the heart, it impairs the organ's ability to pump blood accurately and can turn into a fatal condition.

Diet And Lifestyle To Follow

So, how do you think you can beat tuberculosis? Regular and constant treatment is highly essential in case of active TB. But, apart from your medication, the right diet also plays a great role in granting you a speedy recovery.

The treatment can last almost a year, during this time it is important that you always ensure the intake of nutritious food. If malnourished, a body also tends to show chances of TB relapse, in spite of the treatment.

Try to incorporate the following in your diet, to ensure that you are eating healthy on a daily basis:

• Whole grains such as wheat pastas and cereals
• Vegetables such as squash, peppers and carrots
• Fruits like cherries and blueberries
• Green, leafy vegetables such as spinach
• Avoid butter. Prefer the usage of olive oil.

People suffering from active TB should wear a mask that covers their mouth. Well-ventilated rooms reduce the chances of the bacteria spreading.

To prevent your near and dear ones from being affected by this deadly disease, ensure that you refrain from going to work or public places in general.

What To Avoid?

When suffering from active TB, one should refrain from the intake of tobacco in all forms. Consuming alcohol can hinder the treatment of TB, as it interferes with the functionality of the drugs that your doctor would have prescribed. Sugar and white rice should be avoided. Coffee should be consumed only in limited amounts. Poultry, tofu and fish should be preferred over red meat.

World TB Day

Each year, World TB Day is observed on March 24th. This day has been marked as a movement with the aim towards a TB-free world. The WHO identifies this day to create awareness among the general public, so that this deadly disease can be eradicated.

The date, March 24th, is actually the day when Dr. Robert Koch let the world know that he had found the bacterium that is responsible for causing TB. This happened way back in the year 1882. This discovery created the path towards the diagnosis and cure of this illness.

The Theme For March 24th, 2018

The theme of World TB day this year is - "Wanted: Leaders for a TB-free world". This particular theme has been chosen, so that it is understood that the cure and eradication of this disease is not just focused at the political level but also requires the involvement of governors, community leaders and parliamentarians, and not just them, but also the people who are the real sufferers along with the health-care providers and NGOs working towards the cure of this disease.

Most of the countries inject a newly born with the BCG vaccination. This allows the child to be immunized against tuberculosis. It is important to remember the symptoms which indicate that a person possesses TB should never go unnoticed. It requires immediate medical intervention. Remember "Prevention is better than Cure". So, don't just believe in this year's World TB day's theme, but follow it too.


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Read more about: tuberculosis disease treatment diet
Story first published: Friday, March 23, 2018, 21:00 [IST]
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