Pulmonary tuberculosis arises if the Mycobacterium tuberculosis bacteria attacks the lungs.
What are the signs?
If an individual is suspected with pulmonary tuberculosis, the usual signs include the following:
- Coughing up phlegm and blood
- Night sweats
- Continuous fever including low-grade fever
- Chest pain
- Unexplained weight loss
In some cases, fatigue might also be present. The doctor will determine if there is a need to undergo testing for tuberculosis after assessment of the symptoms.
It is vital to undergo treatment for the latent form of TB even if there are no symptoms present. Remember that the individual might still develop pulmonary tuberculosis in the future. For the latent form, only one TB drug is required.
If an individual is diagnosed with pulmonary tuberculosis, the doctor will prescribe several drugs that are taken for 6 months or longer such as:
The doctor might suggest an approach called as directly observed therapy (DOT) to ensure that treatment is completed. Take note that stopping treatment or skipping a dose will only make the condition resistant to the drugs, thus leading to the multi-drug resistant form.
With the DOT approach, the individual has appointments with the doctor daily or several times a week to administer the drugs. If not on DOT, the individual should strictly follow the schedule when taking the drugs to avoid missing on a dose.
What is the outlook?
Pulmonary tuberculosis can be treated, but if delayed or not fully treated, it can cause serious complications. If left untreated, it can lead to lasting damage to various parts of the body.