Care and Treatment for Tuberculosis (TB)
Why Choose Treatment for Tuberculosis (TB) at University of Colorado Hospital?
The Infectious Disease Group Practice at University of Colorado Hospital is nationally recognized. Our doctors are board-certified and conduct groundbreaking research.
Our multidisciplinary care team has long experience in diagnosing and managing a wide range of infectious diseases, including tuberculosis (TB). And we offer patients access to the latest, most effective treatments to combat the disease.
What is Tuberculosis (TB)?
Tuberculosis (TB) is a disease that is caused by bacteria. Most often, the bacteria attack a person’s lungs. This causes:
- Severe cough lasting three weeks or more
- Chest pain
- Coughing up blood or phlegm.
The TB bacteria sometimes attack other areas of the body, including the kidney, spine and brain. Other symptoms can include:
- Weight loss
- Loss of appetite
- Night sweats.
Tuberculosis is spread from one person to another when someone with TB coughs or sneezes.
Not everyone infected with TB becomes sick. This is called latent TB infection. People with latent TB infection do not feel sick and cannot spread TB. Only some will get sick with TB. This is called active TB.
Treatments for latent and active TB are available. Without proper treatment, active TB can cause death. In 2010, more than 11,000 people in the United States were infected with TB, according to the Centers for Disease Control.
Tests and Treatments
Skin test – a small amount of testing fluid is injected under your skin. The test is read a few days later to determine if there is swelling at the injection. The swelling is measured to check for a positive or negative infection.
A number of medications are used to treat TB.
Patient Education about Tuberculosis
Living with Tuberculosis (TB)
After taking medication for tuberculosis, you might begin to feel better within a few weeks. However, it can take many months for the medication to completely kill the TB bacteria. Your doctor or nurse will tell you when you are no longer infectious and can return to normal activities. Until then, it is important to stay home from activities like work and school. When you feel better and are no longer infectious, you can resume your daily activities.
Even though you may feel better, it is important to take all of your medications. If you don’t take the medicine regularly for the determined length of time, it can be dangerous and make you even sicker.
If you have come in contact with someone with TB, or if you experience symptoms similar to TB, you should be seen immediately by an infectious disease specialist.
Additional Tuberculosis (TB) Resources
American Lung Association
Works to prevent lung disease and promote lung health. Provides education on many lung diseases and infections.
Centers for Disease Control Division of Tuberculosis Elimination
Your Medical Team
The Infectious Disease Group Practice at University of Colorado has a multidisciplinary team of health care providers. Each specialist is trained to provide different aspects of infectious disease care. Your medical team will be assembled with the specialists best suited to treat your condition.
Infectious Disease Specialists at University of Colorado Hospital
Infectious disease specialists – board-certified doctors who are specially trained in diagnosing and treating infectious diseases.
Nurse practitioner (NP) – a registered nurse who has completed a master’s degree. NPs are licensed to see patients for assessment, treatment and follow-up.
Registered nurse – graduated from a formal nursing education program and is licensed by the state of Colorado.
Pharmacists – have a doctorate degree in the science of medication.
Nutritionists – health professionals with special training in nutrition. They help patients determine the best dietary choices for better health.
Endocrinologist – a board-certified medical doctor who is specially trained to diagnose diseases that affect the glands.
Obstetricians/gynecologists – an obstetrician is a board-certified medical doctor who specializes in delivering babies. A gynecologist is a board-certified medical doctor who specializes in treating diseases of the female reproductive system.
Oncologist – a board-certified medical doctor who specializes in diagnosing and treating cancer.
Psychiatrist – a board-certified medical doctor who specializes in diagnosing and treating mental disorders.
Psychiatric nurses – have special training in caring for patients with mental disorders.
Other Infectious Disease Staff
Social workers – help individuals ensure their personal well being and provide the resources for people to get the help they need, by assessing all aspects of their life and culture.