Tuberculosis Name Institution Tuberculosis During my clinical care of the last semester, I had the opportunity to handle patients suffering from tuberculosis and AIDS. As a result, I learnt a lot about the dreaded diseases, their causes, symptoms, treatments, and ways of spreading…
What this means is that several people can contract the disease in a short time. Tuberculosis, or TB as it is popularly known, is a disease that is very difficult to treat and cope with. TB patients exhibit a myriad of symptoms, some of which resemble the symptoms of other diseases (Langendam, Van der Warf, Sandgren, & Manissero, 2012). No wonder TB patients have often been assumed to be automatic HIV patients by many communities. Some of the most common signs of TB include difficulty in breathing, chest pains, fever, fatigue, chills, shortness of breath, loss of appetite, loss of weight, night sweats, and finger clubbing. There are two main variants of TB – pulmonary and extrapulmonary (Langendam, Van der Warf, Sandgren, & Manissero, 2012). In the former case, the lungs are mostly involved, chest pains and serious and prolonged coughs with sputum being the common signs of the disease. In addition, the patient may cough up blood in small or large quantities, depending on the level of infection. In the case of extrapulmonary TB, focus is on other parts of the body, excluding the respiratory system (Menzies, Pai, & Comstock, 2007). This form of TB may spread to the joints and bones, nervous system, lymphatic system, or genitourinary system. Some of the symptoms and signs of the disease are shared with other diseases, such as AIDS, as previously hinted. Some of the main symptoms of AIDS include loss of weight, loss of appetite, fever, coughs, and fatigue, which are pretty much the symptoms of tuberculosis. Other symptoms that evidence AIDS infection include diarrhea, memory loss, pneumonia, depression, and swollen lymph glands. So far, the best evidence of AIDS infection is the presence of HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus) in the body, as noted by Burke et al (1988). The positive test for AIDS is pegged on the presence of HIV in the saliva, urine or serum as evidenced by the presence of antibodies antigens or RNA in a specified setup (Mas, Soriano, Gutierrez, Fumanal, Alonso, & Gonzalez-Lahoz, 1997). On the other hand, the best evidence for TB infection is the presence of Mycobacterium tuberculosis bacteria in a sample drawn from a patient. However, it is worth noting that a complete medical evaluation is the surest may of establishing tuberculosis and AIDS infection. In both the cases, the patient’s medical history, microbial examination, and physical examination should be evaluated, as suggested by Steingart, Henry, and Ng (2006). This is because it is easy to assume, for example, that one is suffering from tuberculosis when in fact he/she is suffering from AIDS. In any case, some of the tests may give inaccurate results, especially if the window period has not been exceeded. When not to use the Best Available Evidence The HIV test and the Mycobacterium tuberculosis bacteria test are assumed to be the best evidence for the infection of AIDS and tuberculosis respectively. However, there are cases when a medical practitioner may opt not to apply these tests on a patient. This is especially the case if the tests will form the basis for discrimination of the patient. Furthermore, the tests may not be used in the event that the medical history, physical appearance, and other tests point to one main health issue. For example, if a person exhibits the aforementioned symptoms of AIDS and is known to have been engaged in a sexual relationship with multiple partners, some of whom have died of AIDS, it may be easy to assume and conclude that the patient is ...
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