Tuberculosis or TB is an infection of the lungs with a germ called Myobacterium tuberculosis. It is a communicable disease that spreads when an infected person coughs, sneezes or talks. The tuberculosis causing bacteria are not found equally in all regions of the world. Places like India, China and sub-Saharan Africa have more cases of people who have this bacterium. It attacks people with a weakened immune system.
Tuberculosis Risk Factors
Weakened Immune System: Your immune system can take a beating due to many reasons. They are alcohol abuse, drug abuse, unhealthy lifestyle, living close to unsanitary conditions, medications that suppress the immune system or chronic health condition that mars immunity like diabetes or HIV. In any such circumstance, chances of being infected with tuberculosis increase.
Ageing: Aged people are at an increased risk of tuberculosis as they have a greater probability of having a medical condition which weakens the immune system.
Exposure to Infected People: Continuous exposure to a person infected with TB increases the risk of contracting it. Nursing homes, immigration centres, hospital or prison have inadequate ventilation and/or overcrowded environments which increase the exposure of this infection to other people.
Native Country: According to the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention of USA, in 2007, 58 percent cases of TB incidence were to people born in countries other than United States. Prominent among these were people born in India, China, Mexico, Vietnam and the Philippines.
Poor Healthcare: Individuals with poor access to quality health and medical care are naturally at an increased risk of this disease. This is simply because they cannot bear the expense involved in diagnosis and treatment of the disease.
Travelling: The tuberculosis bacteria are present in only 1-3rd of the global population which remains suppressed by a good immune system in most of them. Now, if someone were to travel from one region of the world where the incidence of this bacterium is less to a region where it is prominent, the risk of exposure naturally increases.
Tuberculosis facts and risk assessment is important for saving yourself from contracting this disease. Information on tuberculosis risks and preventive measures must be sought if you find any of the risk factors mentioned above relevant to you.