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Pulmonary Tuberculosis

pulmonary tuberculosis

What is pulmonary tuberculosis?

Pulmonary tuberculosis is an infection caused by contagious bacteria in the lungs.

How does it occur?

Since pulmonary tuberculosis is caused by contagious bacteria, it can be transmitted by the air, like when an infected person coughs or sneezes. In some people, the disease remains dormant for years, but it can reactivate at times.

A number of people have a higher risk of developing pulmonary tuberculosis than others, such as:

  • The elderly
  • Infants
  • Those with weakened immune systems
  • Those in contact with sufferers of pulmonary tuberculosis

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What are the symptoms?

Many people do not experience symptoms when they develop pulmonary tuberculosis, but when symptoms present, they include:

  • Productive cough
  • Excessive sweating
  • Fatigue
  • Fever
  • And more

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How is it diagnosed?

When your lung physician examines you for pulmonary tuberculosis, he or she will perform a number of tests to rule out other disorders. These tests may include:

  • Chest X-rays
  • Bronchoscopy
  • Chest CT Scan
  • Blood tests
  • Mucus tests
  • And more

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How is it treated?

Once it's been determined that you are suffering from pulmonary tuberculosis, your doctor will recommend a course of treatment that's right for you. The goal of treatment in the event of pulmonary tuberculosis is to fight the bacteria that caused the infection to begin with. Treatment of active pulmonary tuberculosis typically involves a combination of drugs that may need to be taken at different times of the day over a relatively long period of time. If medication is not taken as indicated by your physician, the pulmonary tuberculosis infection may persist.

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How long will the effects last?

While a course of pulmonary tuberculosis drugs may be six months long, symptoms should improve within three weeks. If drugs are taken as recommended for the indicated length of time, prognosis is excellent.