Chest Diseases Specialist Dr. Gülseren Sağcan underlines the need for regular use of drugs prescribed for the treatment of the disease, saying, “Advanced age, immunosuppressive treatments, diseases such as diabetes, chronic kidney failure, cancer and HIV infection, as well as smoking, drug or alcohol addiction are factors that increase the risk”. Noting that if the drug treatment is interrupted, the bacteria causing the disease gains resistance and the healing process is very long. Gülseren Sağcan says that the vaccine has an important place among the protection measures.

If complaints last longer than 2-3 weeks…

Bacteria that cause tuberculosis disease, popularly known as tuberculosis, are transmitted from person to person through the air. The bacillus (bacterium type) called “mycobacterium tuberculosis”, which is spread by coughing and sneezing, can affect all organs, especially the lungs, when inhaled. Listing the most common symptoms of tuberculosis disease as “cough lasting more than 2-3 weeks, high fever, night sweats, loss of appetite, weight loss, fatigue, weakness, sputum production, blood spitting, shortness of breath, chest and back pain”, Dr. Gülseren Sağcan said, “It is important for everyone who has such complaints to apply to the nearest health institution, both in terms of starting treatment and preventing the spread of the disease. Since undiagnosed tuberculosis patients are the most important source of transmission, the most effective method in preventing this disease is to quickly diagnose and start treatment in infectious cases.

Annual number of diagnoses 12 thousand 46

Although the incidence of tuberculosis is decreasing in Turkey, this disease is the leading cause of infection-related deaths worldwide. According to the latest data shared by the Tuberculosis Department; Stating that the number of patients diagnosed in Turkey in 2017 was 12 thousand 46, Dr. Gülseren Sağcan said, “In the last 10 years, there has been an annual average decrease of 5 percent in the frequency of the disease in our country. However, around 10 million people worldwide are diagnosed with tuberculosis every year. Of these patients, 5.8 million are men, 3.2 million are women, and one million are children. Unfortunately, 1.2 million people die from this disease. About 1.7 million people are at risk of disease as a result of exposure to tuberculosis bacillus.

Medication is administered

Explaining that after the diagnosis of tuberculosis, the patients were given regular drug treatment for 6 months, Dr. Gülseren Sağcan continues: “Usually, the contagiousness disappears 2-3 weeks after the treatment is started. However, if drugs are not used regularly, there is a risk of developing drug resistance. When drug resistance develops, the duration of treatment can be extended up to 2 years. Therefore, it is very important for the diagnosed patients to use their medications regularly.

Do this to protect yourself

What needs to be done to prevent tuberculosis is actually very similar to the measures we often hear these days due to Covid-19. Stating that people in the risk group should be careful, Chest Diseases Specialist Dr. Gülseren Sağcan lists the measures that can be taken as follows:

• Frequent washing of hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds,
Eating a balanced, regular diet
•Adequate and quality sleep,
• Not smoking,
• To ventilate the environment frequently,

It is also important that the environment where the patient is exposed to sunlight. Noting that ultraviolet rays emitted from the sun kill tuberculosis bacilli in the air, Dr. Gülseren Sağcan said, “Another protection method is the BCG vaccine, which is still used in our country. Vaccination provides protection against the development of severe and deadly forms of tuberculosis. Preventive drug therapy given in the prevention of tuberculosis; It is applied to those who live in the same house with a tuberculosis patient, those who are infected with tuberculosis bacillus and those whose immune system is suppressed, so that they do not have tuberculosis.

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