COPING WITH TB
Once a diagnosis of tuberculosis (TB) has been made, a drug regime outlined by the Center for Disease Control is generally prescribed. While drugs alone can cure TB, living with this chronic disease and its potential effects can be debilitating unless the sufferer can establish good coping strategies. These include both medical strategies and those based around lifestyle
- Dependent on whether the TB is categorized as active, latent, drug-resistant or extremely drug-resistant, the standard treatment is a long-term prescription of one or more drugs. It is essential that a TB sufferer completes whatever drug regime has been prescribed. Failure to do so can mean that the TB becomes resistant to standard drug treatment.
- The mental health of someone with TB can either assist in the recovery process, or hinder it. TB sufferers can be isolated from others (if infectious), feel weak, be overwhelmed by drug treatments and become depressed by the lack of ability to enjoy life as before. Seek mental health support if it will help. Following doctor's orders will enable a quicker and more favorable prognosis. Online groups such as Dailystrength.org exist to provide information and support.
- Exercise and fitness can greatly reduce the effects of TB. Sunshine and exposure to the outdoors are extremely useful natural therapies. Research shows that UV exposure produces Vitamin D which boosts the immune system. A healthy immune system more effectively fights the bacteria that cause TB.
- A healthy diet boosts the body's immune system and increases its ability to fight TB. Fruit juices, particularly orange juice, leafy green vegetables and a naturally-based diet assist by reducing infectious mucus and fighting the bacteria. Vitamins and minerals have been shown to help limit the effects of TB and help prevent complications and recurrence
- Inevitably, the lungs are weakened by TB and scar tissue can damage the efficiency of the lungs. Long-term effects include an increased risk of recurring lung infections, the possibility of the TB recurring, and lessened breathing ability. Acceptance of these effects helps a sufferer to establish realistic expectations of what the lungs will be able to cope with in future.