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Tuberculosis Pandemic in India: What's True and What's False About the Disease

India bears the burden of maximum TB patients owing to delayed diagnosis and lack of awareness

Tuberculosis is one of the most misunderstood diseases in the country and there are many false notions attached to it. Read on to get the facts right and clear all your doubts regarding the disease.

Currently, India is facing a Tuberculosis pandemic as the cases are rising at a rapid rate. Tuberculosis (TB) is fatal if not treated at the right time. Hence, there should be enough awareness created regarding it. Sadly, many people neglect the symptoms and land in trouble due to negligence. Here, Dr. Arvind Kate, Pulmonologist at Zen Multispecialty Hospital, Chembur, Mumbai will help you separate facts from fiction regarding TB. Read on to know more about this disease as well as what's true and what's false about it.

Tuberculosis (TB) infection occurs due to the Mycobacterium tuberculosis bacteria. It not only affects the lungs but also your brain, kidneys, bowels, and bones. Long fasting gaps, inadequate sleep, stress, irregular eating habits can cause TB. Yes, you have heard it right! India bears the burden of maximum TB patients owing to delayed diagnosis and lack of awareness. It is one of the longest existing diseases in India and has resulted in the highest morbidity and mortality rates. According to Dr. Kate, TB is also one of the most misunderstood diseases in the country and there are many false notions attached to it. "It is the need of the hour to get the facts right and clear all your doubts regarding TB," he said. Below the pulmonologist has dispelled some of the myths related to Tuberculosis.

Myth: TB tends to occur only in one's lungs

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Fact: Though it mostly initiates in the lungs, it also takes a toll on other body parts like the kidney, brain, and spine. The signs and symptoms may vary as it affects different organs. TB that tends to occur outside the lungs can be termed extra-pulmonary tuberculosis. Hence, one requires immediate medical attention. When left untreated, the active TB impacts the lungs and spreads to the other body organs via the bloodstream.

Myth: TB is a genetic disease

Fact: No, this is false! TB is not hereditary and there is no role of your genes here. TB infection can catch anyone at any point of time in their life. It is caused by Mycobacterium tuberculosis bacteria and will require prompt treatment.

Myth: I don't smoke, I will not get TB

Fact: Smoking is not the only risk factor associated with TB. Other factors such as human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), diabetes, and even kidney disease are responsible for its occurrence. Moreover, it also affects other organs like the brain, joints, and bones, spine and eyes, apart from the lungs.

Myth: TB cannot be cured

Fact: Early diagnosis is the key to tackle TB. One will be able to fight TB, if he/she opts for timely interventions, take medication, and goes for regular follow-ups. Doing so will enable you to lead a TB-free life.

Myth: Taking Bacillus Calmette Gu rin (BCG) vaccine will prevent TB

Fact: BCG vaccine will protect children from getting sick with severe Tuberculosis. It is still not clear whether it will safeguard adults from TB.

Myth: How can I get TB as I stay in most hygienic conditions

TB occurrence is to do with immunity and inner defences not only to hygiene. Tb can affect anyone.

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