What you should know about TB

TB is a severe contagious bacterial   infection that can attack various parts of the body including one’s spine (extra-pulmonary) and, most commonly, a person’s lungs    (pulmonary). A person with pulmonary TB can present with symptoms of chest pain, coughing up of blood, weakness/fatigue, weight loss, poor appetite, chills, fever and night sweats.
The diagnosis of TB, however, is through a chest X-ray and the testing of the patient’s sputum sample.
TB is extremely detrimental to a person’s life expectancy if they already have        pre-diagnosed immunosuppressive diseases like HIV/Aids.
TB infection is higher in countries that are less economically advanced like Africa, Asia and Latin American countries.
TB is a curable disease that is treated with a specific group of antibiotics. In the large majority of cases, however, there remains a high percentage of TB patients who are resistant to most of the antibiotics used to treat TB; this is the leading challenge to the treatment of TB.
The treatment of TB with the   administration of TB medication is usually over a period of six months, after which doctors would  state one’s clinical status as ‘cured’.        However, it remains to be said that, despite being cleared from a medical perspective, TB patients still face various problems with regards to maintaining their previous way of life.
Research has shown that there is a high rate of disability and death among TB outpatients due to patients having activity limita- tions caused by moderate to severe lung function problems and poor exercise capacity. This means that most patients have a poor quality of life.
The patients who suffer the most are those with pre-existing diseases like HIV/Aids or predisposing factors like smoking.
This highlights the importance of early  diagnoses and treatment initiation. It can be said, however, that patients do have a drastic improvement in their quality of life with the initiation and completion of antibiotic medication.
The role of physiotherapy in primary intervention is prevention (prevention is better than cure). It involves health education on avoiding the risk factors leading to TB.    Secondary intervention is referring the patient who presents with the signs and symptoms of TB. A physio has a direct role in  secondary prevention by helping to obtain a sputum sample for testing by means of chest therapy with nebulisation. This is done to mobilise and expectorate the sputum sample.
Finally, the tertiary intervention involves treating the effects of the disease like the shortness of breath. Here, relaxation positions can be taught along with the active cycle of breathing technique (ACBT) in an attempt to wean the patient from wall oxygen.
Anyone who is suffering from the  above-mentioned symptoms should visit their nearest clinic immediately.
For more information, call 056 816 2154

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