Pulmonary tuberculosis is basically a contagious infection that mainly affects the lungs. The condition is usually triggered by the bacteria Mycobacterium tuberculosis. Even though pulmonary tuberculosis can be treated, it has the potential to cause serious complications in some individuals especially the elderly, infants and those who have a weakened immune system. In such cases, immediate medical treatment is required.
You can learn more about this condition if you will register for first aid training especially infection control measures that are vital in preventing the spread of the infection to others.
Even though the primary stage of pulmonary tuberculosis often do not have symptoms, those in which the disease progresses to secondary tuberculosis can develop a variety of serious yet treatable complications.
Pulmonary tuberculosis can lead to fluid in the lungs, pus accumulation in the chest cavity as well as hemorrhage in the lungs, chest pain, excessive sweating, difficulty breathing, fever, unexplained weight loss and fatigue. If the condition is left untreated, pulmonary tuberculosis can lead to lasting lung damage. Those who are suffering from advanced disease are more likely to develop clubbing of the toes or fingers, unusual breath sounds and enlarged lymph nodes.
Most individuals who develop primary tuberculosis can be cured and without any complications in developed countries. Nevertheless, those who have a weakened immune system might not be able to contain the disease in the lungs, resulting to disseminated tuberculosis. Cases of tuberculosis are still on the rise in underdeveloped countries particularly in South East Asia and Africa.
Those who have disseminated tuberculosis can develop small areas of bacterial infection in the lungs as well as the vital organs. Various areas in the body can become infected including the stomach, bones, skin, lining of the brain, small bowel, spinal cord, eyes, reproductive organs, abdominal cavity and lining of the heart.
The symptoms of disseminated tuberculosis include enlarged lymph nodes, spleen and liver along with joint pain, abdominal swelling, cough, pale skin, weakness, weight loss, fever, chills, shortness of breath and sweating.
Other possible complications
Pulmonary tuberculosis can lead to additional complications if not treated right away or if it is left to progress. Individuals who develop disseminated tuberculosis can end up with skin rashes and ulcerated granulomas on the face or body.
Pulmonary tuberculosis can also lead to a change in the pigment of some bodily fluids, which causes the tears and urine to turn brown or orange in color. In some individuals, they develop visual issues. Medications that are prescribed by the doctor can also lead to liver damage.
If tuberculosis is suspected, the individual should be properly assessed so that proper treatment can be started as soon as possible. Even the latent form should be treated to prevent it from progressing into an active disease.