Pulmonary Tuberculosis Symptoms: Causes, Diet And Treatment

Pulmonary tuberculosis (TB) is an airborne infection affecting the lungs caused by slow growing bacteria called mycobacterium tuberculosis. This bacterium can also attack other organs of body through bloodstream and lymph, which is then referred as extrapulmonary tuberculosis. Pulmonary TB is highly contagious disease, and is considered a major public health problem in developing countries.

This disease is responsible for millions of death throughout the world. But fortunately pulmonary tuberculosis is completely curable condition if patient takes the treatment as recommended by the physician. Patient has to take antibacterial drugs for 6 to 9 months, but sometimes the treatment may prolong for more than 1 year.

Causes Of Pulmonary Tuberculosis

Tuberculosis is bacterial infection caused by mycobacterium tuberculosis. In pulmonary tuberculosis it pertains to TB infection in lungs. Lung TB is highly infectious. It means an infected person can spread tuberculosis through coughing and from his sputum. Droplets containing bacteria are released in air when he coughs or sneezes.

A healthy individual can pick up this infection leading to infection referred as primary infection.

If the body defenses are strong the person can recover from the primary symptoms such as mild fever, body ache and cough. This infection may remain dormant in the body for many years, but can reactivate. It is often referred as latent TB.

But sometimes a person can suffer from active pulmonary tuberculosis after first exposure. The symptoms develop soon after he is infected. These patients can spread germs to others through droplets released in cough and sneeze. There are many factors that increase the risk of progression from tuberculosis infection to development of tuberculosis disease.

  • Elderly individuals, children and people with weak immune system such as HIV/AIDS, diabetics.
  • Constant exposure and repeated close contact with a person suffering from pulmonary TB.
  • Care takers such as doctors and nurses.
  • People living in overcrowded places.
  • Inadequate health care resources.
  • Maintaining poor hygiene
  • Illicit drug use
  • Malnutrition
  • Active smoking

Signs And Symptoms Of Pulmonary Tuberculosis

Latent tuberculosis is asymptomatic, as the disease is not in active state. Active pulmonary tuberculosis produces symptoms. Mild fever and prolonged cough and unexplained weight loss are classical symptoms suggestive of active tuberculosis. Other symptoms of active disease are:

  • Severe fatigue and malaise.
  • Prolonged cough which does not respond to normal antibiotics and anti mucolytic treatment.
  • Fever with excessive sweating at night.
  • Mild pricking pain in chest.
  • Blood in sputum
  • Breathing difficulty
  • Loss of weight
  • Loss of appetite

A person suffering from cough for 1 month, fever and sudden unexplained weight loss or blood in sputum while coughing should seek prompt medical attention. If your immune system is weak due to diseases such as diabetes, HIV, and malnourishment than you have to regularly check for pulmonary tuberculosis.

Treatment Regimen For Pulmonary Tuberculosis

Tuberculosis once considered as a dreaded condition is now a curable disease in majority of cases, although there is emergence of drug resistance cases. Treatment is aimed to decrease tuberculosis toxemia, symptoms and destroying TB bacteria. Tuberculosis treatment lasts for 6 to 9 months or even more in some cases. In order for a successful treatment patient has to take the medications as prescribed by the doctor on time.

Active pulmonary tuberculosis is treated with 4 antibacterial drugs for initial 2 months. Two or three antibacterial medicines are continued for the rest 4 to 7 months.

Conventional antibacterial drugs are the standard line of treating pulmonary tuberculosis. Natural treatment should not be a substitute for conventional antibacterial medications. However, patient can take them as an adjunct therapy so as to facilitate the action of antibacterial medicines. Home remedies will help to alleviate symptoms, boost immunity, and counter side effect of antibiotics. Following home remedies are effective in supporting the antibacterial medicines.

  • Green tea: Green tea has antioxidants which help to boost the immunity of the patient.
  • Bananas: Bananas is rich source of calcium and phosphorus. It helps to gain weight and alleviate cough. Mash one ripe banana in one cup of yogurt and add one teaspoon of honey. Eat the mashed banana two times in a day.
  • Carrot juice is beneficial in raising the immune level and alleviating cough. Add few mint leaves while extracting carrot juice. Mint also provides nourishment to the lungs and helps in liquefying mucus from lungs.

Diet For Pulmonary Tuberculosis Patients

There is no specific dietary restriction or preference for pulmonary tuberculosis, however excluding certain foods will help in alleviating symptoms. At the same time including certain foods will help to increase weight and elevate immune level.

  • Eat foods that contain all nutrition. Egg, fish, lean meat, cereals, pulses etc will provide all necessary nutrients.
  • Eat vegetables and fruits as both contain vitamins and minerals that are essential for enhancing the healing of wound inside the lung.
  • Avoid smoking and drinking alcohol.
  • Avoid too much of sugary food.
  • Walk for half hour daily as it will provide fresh air.