Tuberculosis (Rajyakshma)
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Introduction

 

Tuberculosis has long maintained its reputation in the world as one of the most feared of all communicable diseases. Abbreviated as TB (Tubercle Bacillus), it has become one of the most serious of all world health concerns. Why is tuberculosis so dreaded today? The following key points might reveal why:-

In the year 2004 itself, 14.6 million people of the world had TB, and 1.7 million of them died of it.

  • At any given moment, half the people of the world have the TB bacterium in them. One in ten of these people will develop the active tuberculosis.
  • One person in the world is getting infected by the TB bacterium per second.
  • TB is the eighth leading cause of deaths in the US today.
  • TB, which had been almost eradicated from the world, is making a widespread resurgence today in collaboration with the other big killer, AIDS.

These above points are enough to send a chill down anyone’s spine. Hence it is necessary to be properly educated in order to combat the disease.

   

Definition of Tuberculosis (Rajyakshma)

 

Tuberculosis is an airborne bacterial disease that generally affects the lungs of the human body, though it can also affect the kidney, spine and the brain. The causative bacterium of tuberculosis is Mycobacterium tuberculosis.

The Mycobacterium tuberculosis is very common in the air. Hence the disease is transmitted via the air medium. But if the bacterium enters the body, it does not mean that the person will contract the tuberculosis disease. People in whose bodies the Mycobacterium tuberculosis exists, but they do not have active TB, are said to have latent tuberculosis.

In our body, the leukocytes, or the white blood corpuscles, are the soldiers who fight against all external toxins and antibodies. These leukocytes combat against the Mycobacterium tuberculosis infections. But in some people, the resistance of the body is broken down due to some other disease or due to lifestyle patterns. In such people, tuberculosis makes its active appearance.

Active tuberculosis can be treated if diagnosed and remedied in time. However, in several cases, tuberculosis is diagnosed too late to do anything. This is the case where the deaths occur. It is advisable that people begin their medication when they have latent TB itself, so that the disease would not blow itself into the active stage at all.

The Sanskrit name of tuberculosis is Rajyakshma, which means ‘king’s evil’. The reason for this name is that it was believed in ancient times that tuberculosis can be cured by a king’s physical touch.

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Types of Tuberculosis (Rajyakshma)

The main type of tuberculosis is that which affects the lungs, known as pulmonary tuberculosis. But, tuberculosis can expand to other regions of the body as well. Thus, there are several different types of tuberculosis depending on which organs they affect. The following is a list of the different types of tuberculosis found in humans:-

Type of Tuberculosis

Part Affected

Features

Tuberculous Osteomyletis

Skeleton

It affects mainly the thoracic and the lumbar regions of the skeleton. The disease is also commonly known as the Pott’s Disease. There is major bone wastage, which may extent into tissue wasting.

Tuberculous Salpingitis

Genital tract

There is tubercular infection in the fallopian tubes of the females, which can spread out into the endometrium of the uterus. In men, the genital tract tuberculosis can affect the prostate gland and the epididymis of the testicles. Genital tuberculosis in males can lead to infertility.

CNS Tuberculosis

Brain

Tuberculosis may spread to the base of the brain. It can infect the cerebrospinal fluid, causing lymphocytes in it. This type of tuberculosis can give rise to seizures.

Gastrointestinal Tuberculosis

Stomach, intestines

This is the only type of tuberculosis that can be transmitted via the agency of an animal. The causative bacterium is different too, Mycobacterium bovis, which lives in the gastrointestinal tract of cattle. Mostly children of poorer countries are affected when they try to consume milk directly from the animal without pasteurization.

Renal Tuberculosis

Kidneys

This type of tuberculosis causes pyuria, i.e. urinary tract infection. There is wide-scale destruction of the renal parenchyma and the ureters.

Adrenal Tuberculosis

Adrenal glands

Tuberculosis rarely spreads to the adrenal glands, but when it does to, it infects both the adrenal glands at once. A further complication of this is the onset of Addison’s Disease.

Scrofula or Tuberculous Lymphadenitis

Mandible, i.e. the lower jaw

In this type of tuberculosis, lymph nodes are produced below the lower mandible, giving the appearance of a protruding neck.

Cardiac Tuberculosis

Heart

In cardiac tuberculosis, it is generally the pericardium that is affected, giving rise to pericarditis. This complication of tuberculosis can be fatal as the condition leads to hemorrhage.

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Causes of Tuberculosis (Rajyakshma)

The cause of tuberculosis is a bacterium, named the Mycobacterium tuberculosis. As described above, this bacterium is transmitted from one person to the other through the air medium. For this reason, TB is said to be an airborne disease.

The tuberculosis bacterium is generally present in the bodies of most of the people around the world, but only those people whose body resistance is lowered due to some reason get active tuberculosis.

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People who are at Risk of Tuberculosis (Rajyakshma)

Several classes and types of people are at risk of contracting tuberculosis all over the world. The following are some high-risk groups:-

People suffering from AIDS have a decreased body immunity which may cause active tuberculosis contraction in them.

Other immunity disorders such as lung silicosis, diabetes, celiac disease, etc. are also responsible for tuberculosis.

People on corticosteroids and chemotherapy drugs are at high risk due to lowered body resistance.

Since TB is an airborne disease, people who are in contact with a TB patient can get TB themselves. TB bacterium can be released in air through the coughing and sneezing of the patient.

Addicts of narcotic drugs and alcohol have more chances of contracting tuberculosis.

People suffering from nutritional disorders such as subsisting on a low calorie diet are vulnerable to tuberculosis.

People living in unhygienic conditions are also vulnerable to tuberculosis.

Travelers to certain tropical regions of the world can contract tuberculosis. This is because the Mycobacterium tuberculosis thrives better in hotter climates.

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Symptoms of Tuberculosis (Rajyakshma)

There are no symptoms of tuberculosis immediately after the infection occurs. It takes a while for the infection to get converted into an active tubercular condition. When the tuberculosis becomes active, the following major symptoms of tuberculosis are shown:-

A persistent cough that does not get healed

Bloody discharge in the sputum of cough

Loss of appetite and weight

Constant tired feeling

Lack of sleep, i.e. insomnia

Continual fevers with chills

Sweating in the night

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Complications due to Tuberculosis (Rajyakshma)

Tuberculosis is a disease that doesn’t stop spreading inside the body once it becomes active. For this reason, it was once known as consumption, because the disease eats up the body from the inside. Tuberculosis first makes its appearance in the lungs. At this stage it is called as pulmonary tuberculosis. If left untreated at this stage, it can affect several other parts of the body. For a full list of the complications caused by tuberculosis, refer to the table in the ‘Types’ section.

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Transmission of Tuberculosis (Rajyakshma)

Tuberculosis is caused by the Mycobacterium tuberculosis. The good news is that this bacterium cannot be transmitted through any other animal except humans. Hence, the bacterium cannot be even spread through insects or any other animal vector. In other words, it can be said that humans are the sole transmitters of tuberculosis in the world.

TB is spread through air. When a TB patient coughs, sneezes or even talks, he or she releases the bacterium into the air. The bacterium can persist in the air for some time. If within this interval, the air is breathed by a healthy person, he or she too would be infected with the disease.

The only type of tuberculosis that can be spread through animals is the gastrointestinal tuberculosis. This tuberculosis is transmitted through the Mycobacterium bovis, which lives in the alimentary tract of the cattle. This type of tuberculosis affects mostly children.

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Prevention of Tuberculosis (Rajyakshma)

Like all communicable diseases, tuberculosis too can be prevented by taking adequate precautions. Some of these guidelines are as follows:-

If there is a patient of TB in the house or in the close vicinity, alert your healthcare officials. It is necessary to quarantine the patient as the bacterium passes through the air.

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Diet for Preventing Tuberculosis (Rajyakshma)

In a groundbreaking research conducted in the US, it has been proved conclusively that a diet rich in cholesterol can help to combat pulmonary tuberculosis. There is a good enough scientific reason for this. Cholesterol is known to increase the level of macrophages and lymphocytes in the blood, which are vital in strengthening the immune system of the body and combating infections. High levels of cholesterol can be found in foods such as egg yolk, beef and liver.

Pyridoxine or vitamin B6 is also beneficial in increasing the capacity of the liver in fighting against various kinds of tuberculosis. Vitamin B6 is derived in flesh food sources such as liver, chicken, fish; and in vegetarian food sources such as sea vegetables, wheat germ, green beans, nutritional yeast and bananas.

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Ayurvedic Treatment for Tuberculosis (Rajyakshma)

Ayurvedic Name of the Herb

Biological Name of the Herb

Common English Name of the Herb

Action on the Human Body

Adraka

Zingiber officinalis

Ginger

Ginger can be used as an expectorant in the treatment of tuberculosis.

Ajmoda

Apium graveolens

Celery

Celery is used in the treatment of tuberculosis due to its antispasmodic properties.

Alsi

Linum usitatissimum

Linseed

The seeds of linseed are powdered and soaked in water overnight. Then this is mixed with limejuice and consumed for beneficial effects in tuberculosis.

Ashwagandha

Withania somnifera

Winter Cherry

A decoction of winter cherry root with long pepper and honey is used as a treatment for tuberculosis. The herb is found to be especially beneficial in treating scrofula in children.

Garudphala

Hydnocarpus laurifolia

Chalmogra

Chalmogra is potent as a local cure for tuberculosis.

Petha

Benincasa hispida

Ash Gourd

The pulp of the ash gourd fruit is boiled in water and sweetened with sugar syrup. This decoction is known to have properties in curing tuberculosis. Apart from tuberculosis, it can also treat anemia and problems of the heart.

Pyaaz

Allium cepa

Onion

Onion has been known since ancient times to possess germicidal properties. People with the tuberculosis bacterium in them have been kept from contracting the active disease by a regular diet of onion. Research done by Cuboin and Moriandi have shown how animals become resistant to the tuberculosis bacterium just with a diet of onions.

Zergul

Calendula officinalis

Marigold

Marigold leaves are a very potent remedy for the treatment of scrofula, especially in children. The leaves are consumed as a vegetable to prevent the onset of scrofula.

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Post Your Comments

Comment Script

Comments

Is genital TB irreversible and what treatment is available?
#1 - N MOTLIB - 07/29/2008 - 16:26
very useful content
#2 - vinay - 08/21/2009 - 02:16
Thanks for the information.i searched about this illness because my mother was recently diagnosed of having that tuberculosis..i believe she had the pulmonary one as spots in her right lungs was seen during her xray..with the symptoms, she had all those but we didn'y see that before 'coz we don't had an idea that she'll be infected by that since we don't have relatives or any member from the family who has TB. Could you help me pls of what is the best or effective medicine that she have to intake in order to get rid of that illness? Thanks
#3 - jaypee - 09/11/2009 - 20:54
what precaution do we have to take when we have mycobacterium tuberculosis in uterus?
#4 - neena - 12/26/2009 - 02:00
My Uncle got expired today due to TB. Now that for the fact what is lost is lost.

I want to know his wife & people staying in their family need to be protected for non transmission of this disease in case it has spread nearby.

Pls suggest what precautions to be taken for rest of the family immediately.

Regards,
Surya
Ph-91 9845675477
[email protected]
#5 - Surya - 11/07/2011 - 16:45
please i am suffering from lymphadenitis in my left neck and its a mycobacterium matted lymphnodes is their any cure for this as i am on akt-4 tablets.

and i have been operated and so i wuld like toknow how long shall the swelling remain pls let me know any ayurvedic medicine.
#6 - hutokshi - 09/03/2012 - 23:33
Is there any natural treatment for latent TB (Mycobacterium tuberculosis)?

#7 - Bhavana - 01/20/2016 - 17:57
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