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Tuberculosis: Causes and Effects

Info: 1623 words (6 pages) Nursing Essay
Published: 11th Feb 2020

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Tagged: tuberculosis


Infectious disease of the lungs caused by a Mycobacterium tuberculosis has caused the death of many people around the world. According to Hsu (1995), ‘Tuberculosis is one of the most prevalent, fatal infections in the world. The world Health Organization (WHO) estimates that in 1990 approximately 1.7 billion people, or one third of the world’s population, was infected with Tuberculosis, and that 8 to 10 million deaths annually worldwide’’(p.50).This shows how dangerous this disease can be and how its transmitted can attributes to the rapid contagious between humans. Badash and Horn (2018) explains how this disease is transmitted through small droplets of saliva expelled by mouth or nose of an infected person. People who are in risk of contracting this disease are the ones who have a low level of immune system, or who have poor health condition. Tuberculosis can also manifest itself in two ways, latent and active. During the latent stages the carrier cannot spread the diseases, but in the active stages the disease can becomes very contagious. Some of the common symptoms are copious cough with blood stain accompanied with chest pain and night sweating. Other symptoms can be poor appetite, unintentionally weight loss, and fever. Treatment and therapy are available for those people who are infected for the disease such as vaccination (p.2). Some of the important points to explain about tuberculosis are how it is transmitted, the symptoms has caused, and prevention and control of this disease.

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Tuberculosis (TB) is bacteria in the form of small wands or bacilli of gram negative which is transmitted by the air in form of small drops of saliva from an infected person. Since it is aerobic it can easily be inhaled and deposited in the lungs, which make people more vulnerable to disease. S. Farzan (1932) and D. Farzan (1932) stated that the pathogenesis and pathology of tuberculosis bacterium:

 After reaching the distal airways beyond the protective mucous blanket, aerosolized tubercle bacilli in the droplet nucleic are met by the resident (alveolar) macrophages. These cells ingest the bacilli and, in most instances, kill them, thus preventing the development of infection. However, because of increased host susceptibility and heavier, the tubercle bacilli may remain alive and begin to multiply freely. When this occurs, infection develops, and the body tries to limit its progression to disease. This occurs with the help of macrophages and their interaction with lymphocytes through various cytokines. Involvement of these cells and cytokines is the basis of cells-mediated immunity. This protective mechanism occurs within 2 to 10 weeks following infection, which coincides with development of positive tuberculin reaction (p. 84).

During this process, the infection can become dormant or active, Latent TB is when the body system fights to destroy or control the mycobacterium while tuberculosis active is the opposite. In some cases, the symptoms appear quickly especially in people with low immune system. People who are in most risk of getting infected are the ones who work in the health care facilities as hospitals or private clinics because they are more in touch with the infected. According to Fallon (2013) twenty five percent of 19,855 cases of tuberculosis and 7- 4 cases of 100,000 reported in the United States of America were from 65 years old elderlies. He also stated that older people who live in assisted living places are more exposed to get tuberculosis because of their weak immune system and the proximity to someone infected. In fact as people age, the body’s defenses get weaker facilitating dormant bacteria that is in the organism becoming tuberculosis TB. The individuals who are also exposed to contracting and transmitting tuberculosis are the ones infected with AIDS, living in poverty, and drug and alcohol abusers are the most in risk (p.3398 ).During pregnancy, the mother is also able to infect the fetus via the fluids of the placenta. It is important to be able to recognize the symptoms of the tuberculosis on time in order to prevent the spread of the disease. Fallon (2013) describes tuberculosis as having many symptoms similar to those of the flu or the smokers, which is why some people get confused thinking that they don’t have any serious problems serious which causes them to not seek medical help. The beginning of the disease starts with a mild cough which is accompanied by sputum. It usually happens during the beginning of the day and as the days go by, it gets worse because the sputum becomes thicker and also accompanied by blood spot. Night sweats, loss of the appetite, and chest pain are also symptoms related to tuberculosis. As soon as the infection increases it causes more health problems in the organism, such as pneumothorax or pleural effusion.

If pleural effusion gets worse, the infection can spread to the lymph nodes which in turn can cause adenopathy in the neck. This inflammation can cause the infection to pass through the skin and expel pus through the skin tissues. While the symptoms worsen the person loses a lot weight and physically deteriorates (p.3399).

One way to prevent the progression of the disease is to get a treatment that helps control the disease. It is important to get treatment to make sure there is no infection and risk of spreading the disease. According to Badash, (2018) One of the first test for detecting the disease is the skin test ,which consists in the injection of a small amount of tuberculin into the skin of the forearm. After waiting for 48 to 72 hours an inflammation greater that 10 mm in diameter is positive which means that the person has been exposed to the disease but hasn’t presented any of the symptoms. Blood test is also recommended for people who have been vaccinated previously or had positive test results with the skin test. An x-ray is another exam recommended by doctors for people who have symptoms of tuberculosis to verify if any bacteria’s are presented.

Fallon (2013) also explained another diagnosis used for the detection of TB:

 Body fluids other that sputum can be used for culture. If TB has invaded the brain or spinal cord culturing a sample of spinal fluid will make the diagnosis. If TB of the kidneys is suspected because of pus or blood in the urine, culture of the urine may be reveal tubercular infection. Infection of the ovaries in women can be detected by placing a tube having a light on its end (a laparoscope ) into the area. Samples also may be taken from the liver or bone marrow to detect the tubercle bacillus.

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These exams are also required for many institutions for many different reasons, such as school, employees, immigration, and military purposes. Some medications used to treat tuberculosis are mixtures of isoniazid, rifampin, pyrazinamide, ethambutol, or treptomycin. These medications can be used for people with a positive skin test to prevent the disease from becoming active. These medications must be taken as indicated so the symptoms can decrease ,otherwise the disease may become difficult to control. People who are also infected with TB must remain separated from their relatives during treatment in order to avoid infecting others. The treatment can last from six months to 24 months depending on the reaction of the patient with the medication.

An infected person has to be informed on what kind of disease they have especially when it comes to a disease like tuberculosis. Infectious disease that can not only is able to destroy human body but it can also affect people who are around. This disease is airborne particles dispersed in the air that can be inhaled through the nose or mouth by a person who is next to an infected person. Sometime it doesn’t show any symptoms, so it is hard for people to distinguish between tuberculosis or a simple cold. That is the reason why it is very important to know the symptoms of tuberculosis , because you never know who is standing next to you. Knowing what treatment or therapy is also important to deal with this disease because it can help you prevent and stop the contagious of this diseases. Getting the right help on time can not only save your life but also save somebody else life. People who work or live in places surrounded with infected people, such as tuberculosis have to be aware about the consequences that this disease bring. Knowing what to do in case if gets infected and precautions to follow when this come up.


  • Badash, M. M. S., & Horn, D. L.M. D.F. (2018). Tuberculosis (TB). Salem Press Encyclopedia of Health. Retrieved from
  • Fallon, L. F. (2013). Tuberculosis. In B. Narins (Ed.), The Gale Encyclopedia of Nursing and Allied Health (3rd ed., Vol. 6, pp. 3398-3403). Detroit, MI: Gale. Retrieved from http://link.galegroup.com.db26.linccweb.org/apps/doc/CX2760401102/GVRL?u=lincclin_scc&s id=GVRL&xid=8709f7fa
  • Farzan, S. & Farzan, D ( 1931 ). A concise handbook of respiratory diseases. Stamford, Connecticut: Appleton & Lange.
  • Hsu, I. (1995, September). Tuberculosis: diagnosis, treatment and patient compliance. American Druggist, 212(5), 50+. Retrieved from ttps://link.galegroup.com/apps/doc/A18130021/GPS?u=fl_program&sid=GPS&xid=b3f2f000


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Tuberculosis (TB) is a communicable disease that is the second leading infectious disease cause of death in adults worldwide. Tuberculosis is a bacterial infection that has been known to us since ancient times.

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