Tuberculosis is a disease caused by bacteria (which commonly affects the lungs) which are spread through the air from person to person, when an infected person sneezes, coughs or laughs.
Less frequently, this disease develops in areas outside the lungs, like – the joints and bones, the small glands which are part of the immune system, the reproductive system and bladder, the digestive system, and the nerves and brain.
About 9 million individuals get sick with this condition every year and 1.5 million people will die per year from this disease (most in less developed countries), according to the World Health Organization. Since 1993, the number of TB cases has decreased in the US; however, this condition remains a concern worldwide.
Not everyone who has the TB germ (approximately 2.2 billion individuals carry the germ and most of them have latent TB, meaning that their immune system protects them from getting sick) develops clinically active TB disease.
Individuals at highest risk for developing this condition are those with a weak immune system, such as:
- people suffering from a medical condition which weakens their immune system, including – diabetes, AIDS, or HIV;
- people who undergo treatments which also weaken their immune system, like – chemotherapy;
- people who live in countries where there is a lot of patients with this condition;
- people who work close to someone with the active form of this disease.
If you have the active form, you do have signs and symptoms as well as you can spread the disease to other people. Nevertheless, in some cases, signs and symptoms might not develop until months or even years after the initial infection. Symptoms include:
- a cough for a month or longer. This cough usually starts out dry but later produces sputum (thick liquid from deep inside the lungs) or blood;
- a loss of appetite;
- night sweats;
- weight loss;
- coughing up blood;
- a lack of energy or extreme tiredness;
- chest pain;
- high temperature.
If you have the latent form, you do not have signs and symptoms as well as you cannot spread this condition to other people. Furthermore, sufferers with bone TB are commonly not contagious since it spreads through coughed up active virus particles.
The TB bacterium can spread through only individuals with active TB infections. Coughing, sneezing, or talking can release the bacteria in the air, that can infect other people who are breathing the same air.
Note – TB bacteria can remain active in house dust for weeks, plus, it stay airborne for up to eight hours in closed spaces, like – movie theatres, classrooms, and airplanes.
This condition is commonly diagnosed by examining a specimen of your phlegm and a chest X-ray. Also, examination with a stethoscope may reveal bronchial breathing, diminished breath sounds, coarse crackles, or tracheal deviation.
Spiritual Meaning of Tuberculosis
Tuberculosis indicates a severe conflict of the Ego with all the life surrounding you. You want too much from yourself and that has made you forget the wonderful breath of life. Breathe again and open yourself to life in its unity and diversity and realize that there is enough for anything and anyone.
Treatment of the active form will always involve a combination of many prescription medicines.
Note – All these medications can be highly toxic to your liver.
Boosting your immune system is the best prevention for this condition and many others. You can simply do this by:
- regular moderate physical exercise, which may include – walking (minimum 45 minutes), running, cycling, etc.;
- sleeping at least 7 hours per night;
- spending time outside to get natural vitamin D;
- practicing at least 20 minutes of mindfulness meditation daily to reduce your stress levels;
- not smoking cigarettes and avoiding second-hand smoking;
- having a diet rich in antioxidants, like – peppers, carrots, red cabbage, red kidney beans, tomatoes, sweet potatoes, mangoes, papayas, squash, pineapples, apples, pears, bananas, garlic, red onions, cherries, strawberries, broccoli, cauliflower, grapes, kiwis, apricots, avocados, lemons, limes, radishes, turnips, turmeric, and blueberries.