Tuberculosis (TB) is among the highest infectious disease killer globally, and India records the highest cases with 26.9 lakh cases as per World Health Organization (WHO) in 2018. The National Tuberculosis Elimination Programme led by the government, aims at focusing efforts to fight this disease. According to the India TB Report 2020, 79,144 people died due to tuberculosis, based on data reports of 2019. Tuberculosis was once a fatal disease, some decades ago, when there was no proper tuberculosis treatment. Now, thanks to medical advancements, there are effective treatments available. Today, TB is a preventable and curable ailment.
The high number of TB cases in India is an alarming situation. Moreover, the massive costs of healthcare and not having a health insurance policy can make things worse for an average family. Besides, the statistics of drug-resistant TB is also a reason to worry. The WHO has targeted to achieve full elimination of TB in several countries by 2050; it defines elimination as less than 1 case in one million per year. The need of the hour, at present, is to ensure that people can access affordable and quality healthcare. For this reason, having a health insurance cover is of utmost importance.
Here is all about tuberculosis treatment causes and prevention.
Tuberculosis: Symptoms, and Stages or Types of TB
Tuberculosis is a contagious bacterial disease that mainly affects the lungs. It spreads from one person to another when an infected person coughs and sneezes.
Tuberculosis can be latent or active. In latent TB infection, the bacteria will remain in the body in an inactive state, causing no visible symptoms. A person with latent TB is not contagious. However, it can become an active TB. Active TB is a serious stage where a person becomes sick, shows symptoms, and can spread the diseases.
The common symptoms are:
- Coughing that lasts for over three weeks
- Chest pain or pain while breathing or coughing
- Coughing up blood
- Fever, chills
- Weight loss
- Loss of appetite
Knowing the Risk Factors
Our body’s immune system consistently fights diseases, and hence it has to be healthy and strong. A weakened immune system will not be effective in resisting the TB bacteria. Some medical conditions like kidney disease, diabetes, HIV/AIDS, and some types of cancer, and poor nutrition can lead to a weak immune system. Moreover, the risk is higher if one travels to an area with increased rates of tuberculosis. Tobacco use and environmental conditions are also other risk factors for tuberculosis.
Treatment and Prevention
There are various medical tests, including a blood test, for the diagnosis of TB. If left untreated, TB can become a life-threatening condition. However, through timely treatment, recovery is possible. In countries like India, vaccinations are recommended. The BCG vaccine is a TB vaccination presently available.
Some of the ways for tuberculosis prevention include:
- Getting timely vaccination, especially when travelling to a high risk area
- Following hygienic practices like covering cough or sneeze
- Avoiding close contact with patients affected by the disease
- Staying in well-ventilated rooms as TB germs spread quickly in closed spaces
Completing the medication is also vital, and one should not skip the doses or stop treatment abruptly. It will help prevent drug-resistant strains of tuberculosis, which are more difficult to treat.
The Indian government is aiming for the elimination of tuberculosis by the year 2025. The tuberculosis treatment and medical care are delivered through the public sector and private sector health providers. Under the National TB Elimination Programme, there has been a growth in free access to anti-TB drugs for patients. Yet, for the lakhs of people who depend on private healthcare for their treatment, the expenses create a financial burden. This burden can significantly reduce if one has a health cover. A health insurance policy will offer you many benefits, including cashless medical treatment and annual health check-up that is crucial for the timely detection and prevention of their serious implications. Also, getting health insurance with vaccination cover will help in preventing the diseases. The coverage will be subject to policy terms and conditions.
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Disclaimer: The information given in this article is only for reference purposes and should not be taken as professional medical advice.