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Tuberculosis is one of the most dreaded diseases. It is a major health problem in India and often rated the number one killer. It affects eight to nine million people at anyone time and over five lakh people die of this disease every year in this country. This disease is also called consumption as it consumes the body and reduces the patient to a skeleton.

Tuberculosis has a very ancient origin.

Traces of the existence of this disease have been found in Egyptian mummies as early as 5,000 B.C. It is described as Rajrog or the king of diseases in the Vedas. The noted ancient physicians, Charaka and Sushruta thought that it was difficult to cure. Aristotle expressed pity for the unfortunate "consumptives".

A tiny germ called tubercle bacillus, which is so small that only a microscope can detect it, causes tuberculosis. The germ enters the body through the nose, mouth and the windpipe and settles down in the lungs. It multiplies by millions and produces small raised spots called tubercles. Sometimes this germ is called Kock's bacillus and the disease, Kock's disease after the name of Prof. Kock (1843-1910) who discovered this germ in March 1882.

Tuberculosis is not hereditary but an infectious or communicable disease. Those suffering from the disease for a considerable time eject living germs while coughing or spitting and when these enter the nose or mouth of healthy persons, they contract the disease. The spread of the disease is helped considerably by overcrowded and dirty conditions. Mouth-breathing and kissing as well as contaminated food and water are also responsible for spreading this disease. Tuberculosis does not spread merely by touching the persons suffering from it.

Symptoms of Tuberculosis:

Tuberculosis is of four types, namely of lungs, in¬testines, bones and glands. Pulmonary tuberculosis or tuberculosis of the lungs is by far the most 'common type of tuberculosis. It commences normally with a dry cough. The patient loses strength, colour and weight and is unable to carryon his normal work. Other symptoms are a rise in temperature especially in the' evening, hoarseness, difficulty in breathing, pain in the shoulders, indigestion, chest pain, and blood in the sputum.

Causes of Tuberculosis:

Lowered resistance or devitalisation of the system is the chief cause of this disease. Most people have the germs present at, times, but they do not develop the disease unless their bodies are in a weakened condition. This condition is brought about mainly by mineral starvation of the, tissues of the body due to an inadequate diet and the chief mineral concerned is calcium. In many ways, therefore, tuberculosis is the disease of calcium deficiency. There can be no breakdown of the tissue and no tubercular growth when there is an adequate supply of organic calcium in the said tissue. Thus, an adequate supply of organic calcium in the system together with other organic mineral matter is a sure preventive of the development of tuberculosis.

Lowered resistance also results from a variety of other factors such as suppression of diseases by drugs and medication, use of stale, devitaminised and acid forming foods; eating wrong combination of foods, such as taking fruits with starchy foods at one meal, causing fermentation in the stomach; wasting of energy through excessive loss of semen and living in ill-ventilated houses. Other causes include exposure to cold, loss of sleep, impure air, sedentary life, overwork, contaminated milk, use of tobacco in any form, liquor of all kinds, tea, coffee and all harmful drinks. These factors prepare the ground for the growth of germs of various kinds, including the tuber¬cle bacillus. These germs, which may be present in the body, are quite harmless for those who are full of vitality and natural resistance.

Tuberculosis also called TB, which is short for tubercles bacillus, is a highly infectious disease usually caused by the bacteria mycobacterium tuberculosis in humans. Tuberculosis normally affects the lungs, but other parts of the body can also get affected. The medium through tuberculosis is spread is air. When individuals who are affected with the disease spit, sneeze, or cough the bacteria are released and affect those around. It is then possible for people who are close by to inhale the bacteria into the lungs. Tuberculosis cannot be contracted by shaking the hands or touching the clothes of an individual who is infected with the disease.
When the tuberculosis bacteria are inhaled into the lungs they will multiply and lead to a local lung infection. When tuberculosis spreads to the other regions of the body, the immune system can attack the infection and prevent the spreading of the bacteria. This is done with the immune system causing a scar tissue to form around the bacteria to isolate it from the other parts of the body. Tuberculosis that happens after the first exposure to the bacteria is called primary tuberculosis. If the body is capable of letting a scar tissue form around the bacteria, the infection remains in an inactive state. Such individuals usually do not experience any kind of symptoms, and the tuberculosis will not be spread to others. The lymph nodes and scar tissue may eventually become hard like a stone due to the calcification process of the scars and will show up on imaging studies and X-rays like round marbles which are called granuloma.

Most of the infections in humans start with an infection that is latent and asymptomatic and around one out of ten of these infections go on to become the active disease that takes the life of more than 50 percent of the sufferers if no treatment is given. Some of the typical symptoms of tuberculosis are weight loss, night sweats, and chronic cough with sputum tinged with blood. When other organs are affected a number of symptoms will be experienced. The diagnosis of tuberculosis relies on the microbiological culture and microscopic examination of fluids in the body, blood tests, tuberculin skin tests, and radiology.
More than eighty million cases of tuberculosis occur each year around the world. Around 10 to 15 million people are estimated to be infected with the tuberculosis bacteria in the United States, with 22,000 new cases of tuberculosis coming up each year. It is possible for anyone to contract tuberculosis, but some people are at a greater risk. People living with those having an active tuberculosis infection, homeless or poor people, individuals from other countries where tuberculosis is prevalent, prison inmates and nursing home residents are some of the people who run a higher risk of getting the infection. Health care workers, people with AIDS, certain cancers and diabetes, intravenous drug users, and alcoholics are also among those who have a greater risk.

Treatment For Tuberculosis

Tuberculosis treatment is not very easy because of the chemical composition and unusual structure of the cell wall of the bacteria, which reduces the effectiveness of the antibiotics and prevents drugs from entering.

The two most commonly used antibiotics are isoniazid and rifampicin. However, tuberculosis requires lengthy courses of antibiotics for about 6 to 24 months to completely eliminate the bacteria from the body instead of the short ones usually used as a treatment for other bacterial infections. Contacts are also examined and given the treatment if needed. The resistance of antibiotics has grown as a problem in multi-drug-resistant tuberculosis. The prevention mainly lies in programs of screening and vaccinations normally with the bacillus calmette-guérin vaccine. The treatment of latent tuberculosis is usually carried out with a single antibiotic. However, in the case of an active tuberculosis disease, combinations of various antibiotics are used as the best treatment to reduce the chances of the bacteria becoming resistant to the antibioticst Treatments for individuals with latent tuberculosis are given to prevent the condition from becoming an active tuberculosis disease later on in lifel

For those suffering from tuberculosis, following a balanced diet is essential to bring about a cure as most individuals suffer from malnutritiont During tuberculosis, getting proper nutrition should be given utmost importance as there is a deficiency of many nutrientse Therefore, it is important along with the treatment of antibiotics, to follow a tuberculosis diet to beat the diseasee If you want to start a tuberculosis diet, dietetic information can be found in medical books and on the Internetr

The first step in the treatment of tuberculosis through diet is to put the patient on a diet of fresh fruits for around three to four daysd Three meals should be taken each day consisting of juicy and fresh fruits like melons, pineapples, oranges, peaches, grapes, and applesp For drinks, unsweetened plain water or lemon water can be taken either cold or hot If too much weight is being lost through the fruit diet, individuals who are underweight can drink a glass of milk with each mealm After completing the diet consisting only of fruits, the patient could start a diet of milk and fruitsu This diet is just the same as the all-fruit diet, but with milk which is drunk with each mealm The patient can start with two pints of milk on the first day, and add another half pint each day to make it come to four or five pintsi You should make sure that the milk is fresh and not boiledi You can warm it a little bit if you wantw It is also important that you avoid taking alcohol during tuberculosis as it can make the condition worse and bring about other complicationsi You should also avoid foods like pickles, condiments, sauces, refined cereals, pies, puddings, refined sugar, white bread, tinned and canned foods, and caffeinated beveragesa

There are other things you could do to enhance the treatment of tuberculosiso Each morning you could use a wet chest pack for an hour on an empty stomachm For an hour at bed time, you could do a neutral immersion bathb It is also important that you get some fresh air and perform some yoga poses and light exercisesi You should also rest well and stay away from tension and stressr This would help you stay away from the diseasee

Submitted on January 16, 2014