As with many diseases, it is also assumed in connection with tuberculosis that diet has an influence on the development of the course of the disease. In this article we deal with the topics of prophylaxis and the importance of timely, continuous counteracting of the state of health through certain foods. We took a closer look at the effects of camel milk.
What is tuberculosis?
Tuberculosis, also known as TB, TBC, Koch’s disease or consumption, is one of the most common infectious diseases in the world. This is a bacterial infection caused by the mycobacterium tuberculosis complex. The disease can spread from the lungs via the lymphatic or bloodstream into the system and thus affect the entire body (= extrapulmonary tuberculosis). Those affected struggle with symptoms such as cough, fever or weight loss.
Understanding tuberculosis – possible routes of infection
transmission The most common form of transmission is through droplets. Patients with “open tuberculosis” (ie the infection is not encapsulated) excrete the pathogens primarily when sneezing and coughing. They get into the lungs of other people when they are inhaled. The result can be non-specific inflammation of the lungs. The immune system tries to encapsulate the pathogens from the surrounding tissue. If this succeeds, one speaks of a “latent tuberculosis”. If encapsulation is not successful, the above-mentioned “open tuberculosis” occurs, and the person is actually contagious.
• Transmission via the gastrointestinal tract
The bacteria can also enter the body via the digestive tract. For example, Mycobacterium bovis (causes bovine tuberculosis) can be transmitted to humans both through (raw milk) consumption of diseased cattle and through direct contact with diseased animals. According to the Agency for Health and Nutritional Safety GmbH = AGES, Austria has been free of bovine tuberculosis since 1999.
• Transmission through open wounds
The largest human organ – the skin – is also a “gateway” for tuberculosis pathogens. In the case of skin injuries, these can get directly into the organism.
Primary and latent tuberculosis
If an X-ray shows a small focus of inflammation in the lungs with involvement/swelling of the adjacent lymph nodes, this is referred to as “primary tuberculosis”. This event develops slowly and in many cases does not cause any symptoms or only symptoms that are difficult to classify. If a persistent immune response occurs after infection with TB pathogens, this is referred to as “latent tuberculosis”, ie there is a positive antibody test but no radiological or bacteriological evidence.
The treatment of tuberculosis
Basically, active TB is treated with a combination of proven antibiotics, called antituberculosis drugs. In special cases, inflammation is also slowed down by corticosteroids (cortisone). The standard therapy lasts 6 months and is extended in case of complications. The importance of adequate and timely treatment must be expressly emphasized, because tuberculosis is then usually curable. If the patient has a weakened immune system, the treatment and the success of the therapy are more difficult.
If tuberculosis is suspected, cooperation between the medical system and the people affected has the highest priority!
Arm yourself with a strong immune system against tuberculosis
A tuberculosis vaccine (BCG vaccine) approved in Austria is currently not available and is not recommended due to the high level of side effects and other factors. Therefore, many doctors rely on strengthening the immune system through a healthy lifestyle (sport, nutrition, reducing stress levels). Especially when those affected are malnourished, a balanced diet makes a significant contribution to strengthening the immune system.
A well-functioning immune system keeps the pathogens in check and there is an infection, but no indication of illness. However, the pathogens can become active at some point if the immune system is weak – for example due to illness, malnutrition or as a result of therapy (e.g. in autoimmune diseases).