Rise in youngsters with TB, due to changing lifestyle patterns

An increasing trend of youngsters from the age of 16 to below 30 contracting TB have been noted. On the occasion of World Tuberculosis Day, one can highlight how the changing lifestyle patterns and stressful conditions that one lives in, leads to low immunity and increases the risk of contracting TB. Earlier it was believed that TB only affects those from the lower socio economic group but with the increase in the use of air conditioned interiors, lack of ventilation leads to the spread of the air borne disease. tb-day

TB caused by bacteria affects the lungs, the same bacteria can cause Bone TB. Instead of localizing in lungs, the bacteria spreads in to the blood vein and gets access to the bones that cause Bone TB. Similarly, it can spread to the other parts of the body as well, but symptoms of Spine or Bone TB are pain in the joints or lower back. These are very silent symptoms and difficult to identify.

“Among the 100 bone TB cases that I attend, I have noticed 40-50% youngsters below the age group of 30 years who have bone TB. Increase in the number of bone TB cases especially youngsters have been noted, it is essential to provide timely treatment and proper medication. If not then the bone will start deforming and the patient may have to go for replacement surgery. Spine TB forms puss that can destroy the bones and add pressure to the nerves which can cause paralysis hence the need for timely diagnosis and treatment,” said Dr Tejas Upasani, Joint replacement surgeon, Upasani Hospital.

However, Dr Indu Bubna, Chest Physician, SRV Hospital, said, “The rise in the figures of TB is also due to the increased awareness among people about the disease. Government has organised various facilities and free treatment opportunities for TB patients, this is helping patients to detect the disease at an early stage itself.  As TB spreads through the air, those with low immunity are at a greater risk of contracting TB. Youngsters these days are confined to their home with various gadgets to entertain them. Those who prefer higher studies also sit in a closed room to study. As the ventilation is poor in confined areas, makes it the common way to catch TB infection.”

“Timely diagnosis and early initiation of treatment will help patient to recover faster and prevent complications. It is no more the disease of the poor as we can see many teenagers from families with good socioeconomic background also contracting it. Those with lower immunity, caused due to improper food habits, long fasting gaps, inadequate sleep are prone to catch an infection,” said

Dr Arvind Kate, Pulmonologist, Zen Hospital.

“It has become easier to detect Spine TB with the help of MRI scan, low back pain for more than 3 months should not be ignored. Only with the help of thorough assessment by Spine Surgeon and timely MRI scan Spine TB be confirmed,” added Kate. MRI is an excellent tool for early diagnosis but a biopsy is confirmatory and hence most patients are asked to go for a Biopsy.

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