Tuberculosis Two Times More Likely in Smokers
In the first study of its kind, smoking and the association to TB was reported in the September 1st issue of The American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine. The study shows that smokers are two times more likely to contract tuberculosis.
Signs and symptoms of tuberculosis include the following:
# Persistent cough
# Constant fatigue
# Weight loss
# Loss of appetite
# Coughing up blood
# Night sweats
Only a doctor can diagnose tuberculosis. A skin test will be performed. If the person reacts to the test, the person has only been exposed to the disease. It does not mean that the person is infectious or has tuberculosis. Infectious tuberculosis is known as active TB. At this point, the doctor will order a chest x-ray and sputum cultures. These will tell the doctor if the TB is active.
What do I do if it is active? You will have several medications given to you, and often a public health employee with be there to observe you take the medication. This is because many people stop taking the medications because they feel better after awhile. However, the TB has not been complete eradicated and if left this way, it will become resistant to treatment. This makes the spread to others more likely, and it is more difficult to treat them.
The study results suggest that policy makers and public health officials consider smoking cessation as a part of controlling tuberculosis. Campaigns should also reach others affected by the smoke who are likely to benefit from the cessation of smoking among those around them.
There is more work to do with these studies. It is important to determine if younger smokers are more at risk than older smokers. With this study, there was a mild correlation between younger smokers and their risk and older patients’ risks from smoking. It remains to be seen how this new discovery and development of the association between tuberculosis being two times more likely in smokers.
Source: American Lung Association