What is Asthma?
Chronic Lung Disease
Important points on Chronic Lung Diseases
Program for tired Lungs
Are your lungs fit for air travel?
Do you Snore?
You have TB!"

Yes, first you did not believe what the doctor said. But TB is not a dreaded disease if detected and treated well by a competent doctor. This brochure will answer some of the questions bothering you and your family.

What is TB?
TB is a short form for Tuberculosis. It is an infection caused by bacteria called Mycobacterium Tuberculosis. This bacteria is a lazy organism, needs very little food and multiplies very slowly. While other bacteria take as little as a few hours to multiply, TB bacteria needs several weeks (almost 6 weeks) to grow on a glass plate in the lab.

Why did i get this infection?
TB spreads when a person with lung TB coughs directly into the face of a normal person (called droplet infection). Thousands of bacteria are thrown out into the air and get into the lungs of all those standing in the vicinity. This can happen in a bus, train, aero plane, super bazaar, mall, movie theatre or even within family members.

Will it spread to my Family (Is it contagious)?
Yes, there is every chance that TB of lungs can spread .The only surest way to prevent this unwanted spread of infection is to cover the mouth while coughing, or better still to wear a mask until the cough subsides. The person with TB should sleep in a separate bedroom until 2 weeks or until the cough subsides completely.

What are the Symptoms?
Symptoms of TB initially are very mild and not noticed immediately for several weeks. Symptoms depend upon the organ affected by TB. lf lungs are affected, then cough, phlegm can be seen. Other symptoms are fever, especially at nights, loss of appetite, losing weight, getting tired easily (fatigue). Occasionally some people cough out blood. One good rule is to get an x ray of chest done, if cough lasts for more than 2 weeks.

Can TB affect other organs?
TB can affect any part of the body, but the most common and important organ to be affected are the lungs. It is the TB infection of the lungs which is capable of spreading to others. TB of other parts of body like lymph nodes, bones, intestines, uterus etc are not contagious.

What tests are needed?
For TB of lungs, a high quality digital x ray of chest should be done which can reveal even the earliest evidence of the disease. However the most important test of confirmation is to test the sputum for the TB bacteria. The test is called Sputum for Acid Fast Bacillus (AFB). Sputum (Phlegm) collected early in the morning before brushing your teeth will give the best results. For TB of lymph nodes, the surgeon will make a small nick over the skin and take the node (called biopsy) and send it to the pathologist for diagnosis. For TB of other organs, suitable tests are available and your doctor will recommend as and when needed. There are no reliable blood tests for diagnosis of TB.

Can we detect when TB is not active?
Sometimes TB bacteria can enter into the body through the lungs and remain dormant and inactive (called latent TB).Such an infection may not cause any symptom, but is capable of erupting into a full-fledged TB anytime. A skin test called Tuberculin test (also called as Mantoux test, pronounced as MAN-TOO) can indicate if a person is harboring inactive TB bacteria. A blood test called Quantiferon Gold is available for similar purpose.

Is it curable?
Yes. Results are excellent and predictable when TB is diagnosed early, and an effective combination of drugs is started under the supervision of a doctor well versed with TB infection.

What drugs are effective?
There are 4 drugs which have proven efficacy for treatment of TB, and are used all over the world. The drugs are lsoniazid, Rifampicin, Ethambutol and Pyrazinamide. The treatment of TB is the same for rich and 'poor. The dose of these 4 medicines are calculated as per the body weight of the person having TB. The drugs for TB work best when taken on empty stomach (half an hour before breakfast).

How long is the course?
The duration of treatment for TB of lungs is six months; however the duration may be longer (9 months) for TB of other parts of body.

What happens if l stop medicines?
Successful outcome (cure) depends upon using the medicines as advised by the doctor such as correct combination, 'correct dose as per body weight, and correct time of taking medicine, and lastly the exact duration of the treatment. Using TB drugs irregularly or stopping the drugs on your own without the doctor’s advice can result in treatment failure or sometimes even lead to drug resistant bacteria.

Is treatment of TB 100% sure?
Yes mostly. Rarely some TB bacteria may have developed resistance to few of the medicines, in which case the infection may not be controlled and the disease may continue to spread. The doctor who is treating you will be able to quickly identify 'Drug Resistant TB' with the help of special tests. Such situations need different combination of drugs.

When do i know that the drugs are doing their job?
Drugs for TB are slow to act, and take at least 2 to 4 weeks to show results. in the first 2 weeks after starting the drugs for TB, it is common to experience some unpleasant side effects like nausea, vomiting, weakness and sometimes giddiness. Usually these symptoms disappear as one continues with the medicines. However if the side effects are too severe and intolerable, you must inform the doctor. A liver function test is usually performed after 2 weeks to make sure that the drugs for TB are not causing any toxicity to liver.

What precautions do I take?
In general there are no special precautions, except covering your mouth while coughing and thus protecting everybody around you. Remember to take your medicines without missing even a single day. Do not miss your visits to your doctor. Do not stop the treatment on your own. Do not hesitate to visit the doctor if you are not comfortable. Never hesitate to ask and get your doubts clarified by the doctor.

Any Food restrictions?
Luckily none at all! You can have your regular diet. Just make sure you have a balanced diet. Plenty of protein like dal, milk is good. Have vegetables, leaf vegetables, fresh fruits, milk etc. if you are a non vegetarian you can take eggs, chicken and fish.

Can I stay with my Family?
Yes of course. Just make sure that you cover the mouth while coughing, or better still to wear a mask until the cough subsides. You can breastfeed your baby, but make sure you wear a mask.

Can I get Pregnant?
Yes of course. Although it is advisable to stay back at home for the first 2 weeks, until your cough disappears completely. After 2 weeks, you may get back to your regular work/job as and when you feel comfortable.

When do i know that I am cured?
This question will be answered by your doctor. You may consider yourself cured if you have completed the full course of treatment and you have no symptoms.