Tuberculosis - TB

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Dealing with disease is tiresome, both physically and mentally. And this applies to not only the person suffering from the said illness but also their family and friends. The situation becomes worse if this disease is a grave one, like a critical illness. While not technically a critical illness, tuberculosis is rather a serious disease that requires immediate medical attention and treatment. When left untreated or treated late, tuberculosis can be fatal. In addition to that, treatment for tuberculosis is generally quite expensive. This calls for the need to be informed about online health insurance for TB in the UAE, what it covers, along with how TB is diagnosed, treated and prevented. Let’s begin from the top – what is tuberculosis?

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What is TB or Tuberculosis?

Tuberculosis is a bacterial disease of the lungs that is caused by a bacterium called Mycobacterium tuberculosis. Cough is the most persistent symptom of this disease, which can get to a highly severe state if the bacteria takes a tight hold on the body. Tuberculosis can also turn into other severe critical illnesses as it can spread to other parts of the body as well. If spread to the brain, tuberculosis takes the form of cerebral tuberculosis. Paving the way for rather long-term treatment, tuberculosis is categorised as a life-threatening disease. Tuberculosis or TB is very contagious and can spread to healthy people if they come in contact with an infected person. Needless to point out, treatment for tuberculosis is quite extensive and expensive, which makes it necessary for everyone to get an insurance plan that includes TB as a covered disease. 

Symptoms of Tuberculosis

While cough is the most commonly reported symptom of tuberculosis, some others may follow its lead as well. Given below is the complete list of all the top symptoms of tuberculosis:

  • Fatigue
  • Persistent cough, often laced with blood
  • Painful breathing 
  • Sudden and excessive weight loss 
  • Loss of appetite
  • Night sweats

Tuberculosis starts in the lungs but can also spread to other organs in the body. The most commonly affected parts of the body from tuberculosis are the kidneys, spleen and brain. Depending on the affected part of the body, the symptoms can differ a little for each patient. Yet, in some cases, TB patients may not show any symptoms at all, even when infected. Such cases can be categorised as asymptomatic tuberculosis. 

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Diagnostic Methods for Tuberculosis

Since tuberculosis is an air-borne disease, it can spread at an alarming rate in crowded places. Untreated or late-diagnosed tuberculosis is fatal, and hence anyone who has developed any of the aforementioned symptoms should get themselves tested. Visiting your primary care physician is the right thing to do in case you have any symptoms indicating tuberculosis. The doctor may suggest a series of tests for proper diagnosis. The most common tests for tuberculosis diagnosis include:

  • Acid-Fast Bacillus Smear and Culture
  • Blood test indicating tuberculosis infection
  • X-Ray of your chest cavity 
  • Tuberculin Skin Testing
  • TB Screening 
  • CT scans and MRI of the lungs
  • Lung biopsy

Tests like MRIs and lung biopsy are only suggested when the other tests are inconclusive. Since even the slightest possibility of having tuberculosis should not be ignored, it is wise to take all the necessary tests as soon as possible. 

Tuberculosis Treatment

The treatment procedure for tuberculosis is a rather long and expensive one. The generic timeline for tuberculosis treatment is 6 to 9 months, but depending on the severity of the case, the treatment course can be stretched to 1 year. The initial course of antibiotic medicines is prescribed for six months. If the infection is still present in the patient, another 2 or 3 months are added to the course. Many TB patients also become resistant to antibiotics during the course of their treatment. Such cases are categorised as drug-resistant tuberculosis. Here, the bacteria become resistant to the drugs generally used for tuberculosis treatment. In such cases, a different course of antibiotic drugs is prescribed. In addition to the basic medicine regime, several diagnostic tests like CT scans and MRIs are also part of the process of detecting tuberculosis in infected TB patients. Vaccination for tuberculosis is offered in regions that are highly susceptible to the bacteria. This vaccination is prescribed to children as one of the mandatory child vaccination lists. 

Health Insurance for Tuberculosis in the UAE

There are several online health insurance plans in the UAE that cover tuberculosis. The coverage can depend on the providers, though. An important thing to note here is that even though basic online health insurance in Dubai may cover tuberculosis, its diagnosis and treatment, they probably will not cover any critical illness arising from tuberculosis. If your doctor suspects that you have a chance of developing any critical illness from tuberculosis, it is best to opt for a critical illness cover along with your generic online health insurance in Dubai for TB. Apart from the critical illnesses, most treatment and diagnosis expenses for tuberculosis are covered by general comprehensive online health insurance in Dubai. 

Inclusions of Health Insurance for Tuberculosis

Given below are the general inclusions of health insurance plans for TB in the UAE:

  • Hospitalisation expenses are generally in the form of reimbursements.
  • Diagnostic tests and lab tests before hospitalisation. 
  • The consultation fees of the doctor.
  • Pharmaceutical cover for medications used before, during and after hospitalisation.
  • Room rent for the hospital.
  • Additional treatment charges for services like ICU, transfusion, etc. 

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Exclusions of Health Insurance for Tuberculosis

A waiting period may apply for tuberculosis treatment. The waiting period may differ for each plan and provider as per their individual terms. When applicable, the minimum waiting period will be 30 days. An additional waiting period may apply if tuberculosis is a pre-existing condition for the policyholder. Treatments taken before the completion of this waiting period will be excluded from the insurance cover. The pre-existing condition waiting period may range from 6 months to 2 years depending on the comprehensiveness of the plan. 

Preventive Steps for Tuberculosis 

While treatment for tuberculosis is available in most parts of the world, the best thing to do is take preventive measures. Tuberculosis treatment is lengthy and will put you through a great ordeal, physically, mentally as well as financially. Hence, take as many preventive steps as you can to stop the spread and stay healthy. Given below are some of the top things you can do to prevent the spread of tuberculosis:

  • Get Vaccinated – The very first thing to do to prevent catching tuberculosis is to get vaccinated with the available vaccination in your region. Tuberculosis vaccines are now commonly available in most parts of the world including the UAE. They are included as a part of the vaccination portfolio for children and infants. 
  • Practice Cleanliness – Maintaining cleanliness is a top priority to not only stop the spread of tuberculosis but also other communicable diseases. Regularly use disinfectants in your homes and wash clothes with disinfecting liquids as well. If there is a tuberculosis patient in the house, separate their belongings and disinfect their surroundings as well. Make sure that healthy people in the household are maintaining a safe distance from the patient. Wear masks when in the company of a TB patient.
  • Keep the House Ventilated: Ventilate the house regularly to kill any infectious bacteria present. Maintain the same practice for other properties you own as well. 
  • Seek Early Treatment: If infected with tuberculosis or displaying early symptoms, choose to see a doctor right away and start the treatment. Waiting for the very last moment can be fatal. 
  • Eat Immunity Booster Foods: Consume foods that boost your immunity and maintain a healthy diet in general at all times. 
  • Maintain Personal Hygiene: Be on top of your personal hygiene game as well. Make sure that you cover your mouth when sneezing and coughing. Use tissue or handkerchiefs all the time. 

In a Nutshell 

Tuberculosis is a serious illness requiring equally serious attention. Be sure to analyse and identify all the early symptoms, even when they seem mild. Persistent coughing that doesn’t seem to be getting better with taking numerous cough syrups can be your first sign to see a doctor. It is best to get tested and rule out the possibility of tuberculosis instead of waiting for the symptoms to get worse. If you are exposed to the bacteria, be on the safe side and check that your online health insurance plan in Dubai covers tuberculosis. If not, find medical insurance in Dubai for TB immediately and change your coverage. Maintain good hygiene and keep your immunity strong to steer clear of the disease altogether. 

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