What is Tuberculosis | Types of Tuberculosis | Treatment and Prevention

What is Tuberculosis ?
Tuberculosis can be can be defined as an infectious disease which is caused by a bacteria called Mycobacterium tuberculosis. 

There are over 7 million of new cases of tuberculosis all over the world. And in the United States alone, 0ver 12 million are infected with the disease and over 21000 new cases occur annually.

Tuberculosis mainly affects the lungs, but can at times affect other parts of the body. An untreated infection by tuberculosis bacteria causes pneumonia; which is an inflammatory condition of the lungs. This inflammation mostly do occur in the alveoli (or air sac) of the lungs.

Tuberculosis can stay up in the body for a long time without causing any symptom. This is especially when such person’s immune system is strong. But if as a result of one thing or the other, the immune system weakens, the disease will take its toll. Examples of things that can weaken a person’s immune system include constant use of alcohol, drugs, lack of exercise, not eating healthy, some diseases like diabetes, cancer and STDs.

Treating tuberculosis infection takes a longer time and involves periodic check up with the doctor that analyses your sputum, x-ray or skin test. This analysis or test will determine if the treatment options are working and determine that if the bacteria are 100 per cent gone.

Risk factors:
  • -          Living with people with active tuberculosis infections: if you live among people or a person, who has an active tuberculosis infection, you have a high rate of contacting the disease.  in fact, the possibility is very high.
  • -          People who use alcohol and use drugs or intravenous drugs have the high chance of having the disease. Alcohol and drugs weaken one immune system and a weakened immune system will make you an easy host to infections.
  • -          People working in health care home or hospitals can contact the disease if care is not taken. Because of the number of people they attend to per day, there are chances of contacting the disease becomes higher.
  • -          HIV infection: people with HIV infections will usually having Tuberculosis infection. If you have TB and you are HIV positive, best is to see your doctor for proper treatment. Else, the disease may shorten your life span.
  • -          People who are poor and homeless.
Signs and symptoms of Tuberculosis:
Signs and symptoms of tuberculosis are synonymous with other diseases. I have come across a patient who was treated for typhoid/ fever for 3 weeks with no improvement, not until his sputum was taken and analyzed and tuberculosis was diagnosed. I cannot blame such hospital though, because, they are not used to diagnosing tuberculosis. But if you notice this signs and you believe you are exposed or not, it is best you see your doctor immediately for general diagnoses. But the following signs and symptoms are common with tuberculosis:

  • -          Dry cough which persist for more than 3 weeks even after using the best of cough syrup in the market. This is the number one symptom of tuberculosis that is much more evident that the disease is inside of the person. This cough is sometimes uneasy and with sputum and sometimes faint blood.
  • -          Loss of weight: if such person finds out that he/she is losing weight even eating proper meal and balanced diet as used to, such person should see his/her doctor immediately.
  • -          Night sweats: in a normal weather condition, which there are no heat, such person sweats and the whole bed socks with his sweats. Such is a sign.
  • -          General body tiredness and weakness:  you found out that you easily get tired and weak and cannot do the normal things you used to do, such is a sign.
  • -          Fever: becomes high especially during the night times and mid-day.
  • -          Shortness of breath.
Although, a person might be infected several months before these symptoms above start manifesting.

How is Tuberculosis diagnosed? Tuberculosis can be diagnosed in several different ways: through X-Ray, Through Sputum and Skin test:
  • 1.       X-Ray: the x-ray of the patient is captured and the result is analyzed. This is to see If there is inflammation of the lungs and see if there are some changes in the lungs to determine if it is infected or not. Sometimes, in an x-ray, it could show some cloudiness when it is being viewed, this could be an evidence of pneumonia caused by TB. The x-ray can also show scarring or calcification in the lungs, which suggest that the bacteria is contained and therefore not active.
  • 2.       Sputum: sputum is like the saliva that comes out along coughing; it is just that it is thicker and could be yellowish or whitish tick in color. Sputum are usually collected early in the morning: meaning, the first sputum from the patient will be collected and analyzed under the microscope to see if bacteria are present and the type of bacteria. Sometimes, sputum samples can be taken and cultured in a special incubator.
  • 3.       Skin test:  also known as PPD or Purified Derivative Protein test is classified into two, Tine test and Mantoux Test. This test is when a purified extract from dead tuberculosis bacteria is injected under the skin. If the injected area does not react, such person is not infected with tuberculosis. But if the injected area reacts (swelling and redness), the person is infected with tuberculosis disease. This test reaction could take from 2-3 days to occur.
The only disadvantage of this test is that it may show negative if: the person’s immune system is weak due to viral infection, cancer or if the tuberculosis infection is early. 10 weeks or more after infection is good for skin test.

Treatment options of tuberculosis include the uses of anti-bacteria for several weeks or months which could take up to 6-9 months. This depends on the specification

How to prevent tuberculosis:
-          Stay away from alcohol and drug use: they weaken the immune system
-          Eat healthy
-          Exercise frequently
-          Stay away from red meat, like cow meat, goose and duck meat.
-          Use aloe vera frequently (read below)

Extensive Drug Resistance Tuberculosis XDR-TB
XDR-TB is drug resistance tuberculosis that affects a person who has TB. This arises due to the miss-use of or mismanagement of anti-bacteria drugs prescribed to a patient by the doctor. 

Tuberculosis is usually treated with 4 different drugs or anti bacteria at the same time, the mismanagement or miss-use of these anti bacteria drugs will lead to Multi-Drug Resistant TB (MDR-TB). When MDR-TB occurs, a second line of drugs are used, which are quite more expensive and they have more side effects. If it is also miss-used or mismanaged, then extensive Drug resistance Tuberculosis Occur and this is more dangerous has there are limited chances of cure. 

XDR-TB is also common with people who are HIV positive because of their weakened immune system. Although, the condition is rare with people who are not HIV positive but just having tuberculosis disease, but it is better to avoid its occurrence by following the advice of your doctor when treating the disease.
The symptoms of XDR-TB are also the same as symptoms of Tuberculosis, no difference at all.

Aloe vera and Tuberculosis:
Because of the weakened immune system which are generally associated with people with tuberculosis, it is best to start the use of aloe vera. Aloe vera (barbadensis milla) has over 200 components that the body needs to make it function properly and boost the immune system. I have seen the case of a health care worker who, used to be sick at least three times in a year due to weakened immune system, after the use of aloe vera for over 15 years, he had no cause to fall a sick again, even though, most of his patients are tuberculosis patients. It was a testimony of his that aim sharing now. 

Aloe vera, which is called a ‘’power house’’, ‘’magical plant’’, ‘’miracle plant’’ has been used widely to boost the immune system and because of its anti-bacteria property it can work as a supplement with other medicines used to treat tuberculosis. It is adaptogenic and would work with anybody that uses it.

Who should use Aloe Vera?

  • -          A health care worker who is usually exposed to different kinds of people daily with tubarculosis
  • -          Persons who have weakened immune system and want to boost it
  • -          Persons who have tuberculosis
  • -          Persons who want their skin and body to rejuvenate because of the effects of these drugs on the body. Long term uses of TB drugs can quick aging.
  • -          People who want to stay healthy always.
  • -          People who love health

Note that, there are over 200 species of aloe vera in the world, 4 are perfect and good, only one is the best and it is the aloe vera barbadensis milla specie. So many aloe vera are the market with low quality and at cheap price. Beware of cheap products without certifications.


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Make sure you discuss the use of aloe vera with your doctor.

In conclusion, tuberculosis mostly affects those with low immune system and could be more dangerous if it is not treated properly. It is not a disease you can just joke with the medications as prescribes by your doctor. You follow it and make sure you use it properly.
In all, prevention is better than cure. I have seen people with tuberculosis and they are not smiling at all. In other words, it is a disease that causes a severe discomfort. A good life style with a powerful immune system will shield you against most dangerous infections and diseases, like Tuberculosis.

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