Tom Hanks is diagnosed with type 2 diabetes after suffering with symptoms for …

Hanks added that he is in better shape now and is thinner than he’s ever been in an attempt to control the symptoms of the disease.

“Well it’s controllable and through diet. My doctor said, ‘If you can weigh what you weighed in high school, you’ll essentially be completely healthy and not have type 2 diabetes.'”

However, Hanks’ diagnosis has not slowed him down, and the father-of-four is currently promoting his latest film Captain Phillips.

Hanks was spotted arriving at his London hotel today carrying his granddaughter, ahead of the film’s screening at the London Film Festival tomorrow.

Many Africans with Diabetes Unaware of Illness

— A study published in the World Diabetes Atlas says that more than 80 percent of people living with diabetes in sub-Saharan Africa do not know that they suffer from the disease. Sub-Saharan Africa has more than 15 million of the 371 million people living with diabetes in the world.

The report states that diabetes is a global burden as the number of people living with the disease continues to rise. But it says the situation is worse in sub-Saharan Africa.

Dr. Palma Mesumbe of the Cameroon Diabetes Association said even in North Africa where many more people visit hospitals, half of the patients did not know that they had diabetes.

“It is clearly established today that the number of diabetics is increasing on the day. Half of the people who have diabetes do not know they have it. We are talking about 52.9 percent for instance in North Africa that do not know that they have diabetes,” said Dr. Mesumbe.

The World Diabetes Atlas study adds that the greatest number of people with diabetes are between the ages of 40 and 59. Another medic, Dayawa Akuns, said a lot more within the same age group may be living with diabetes without knowing it, since symptoms can only be noticed at chronic stages.

“At the moment when we have the signs and symptoms of diabetes, it is assumed that more than 50 percent of the cells that have the responsibility to produce insulin have been destroyed. Over time as these cells are being destroyed, we are not going to see the symptoms because it has not reached a particular threshold to trigger signs and symptoms,” said Akuns.

It is projected  that by 2031 the number of people living with the disease will increase to more than 552 million. Palma Mesumbe said that it would be a serious problem, especially in Africa which is socially and economically disadvantaged.

“It’s going to be a problem in Africa where we are going to see a doubling in the prevalence of diabetes. We are at 4.3 percent and in 20 years that percentage is going to double, and the problem is how ready are we to handle that situation,” said Dr. Mesumbe.

To control the situation, the report says governments must reinforce diabetes awareness strategies and support associations fighting the disease.

Chinese herbs help cut diabetes symptoms

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The study involved a controlled clinical trial of 800 type 2 diabetic adults, comparing the anti-diabetic drug Glibenclamide as a stand-alone treatment and treatment with Glibenclamide in conjunction with traditional Chinese medicine.

Results show patients treated with traditional Chinese medicine were more than a third less likely to experience hypoglycaemia—dangerously low levels of blood sugar—than those treated with Glibenclamide only.

Straight from the Source

Read the original study

DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0056703

“They were also less likely to experience other symptoms of diabetes, including fatigue, hunger, and palpitation,” says Sanjoy Paul of the University of Queensland.

“Traditional Chinese medicine has long been used to treat diabetes in China and around the world but until now there has been a lack of evidence regarding its safety and efficacy. This absence of scientific understanding has caused skepticism and criticism about traditional Chinese medicine.”

More studies are needed to interpret just how traditional Chinese medicine works to reduce hypoglycaemia, but the new study, published in the journal PLOS ONE, highlight its potential to reduce the treatment gap in developing countries where diabetes is at epidemic proportions, Paul says.

“A vast majority of people in developing countries depend on herbal medicine for basic health care. The findings of this study may improve the safe delivery of effective health care to people who may otherwise be unable to access treatment.”

The study is the largest scientifically designed clinical trial evaluating the safety and efficacy of traditional Chinese medicine on glycaemic control in patients with type 2 diabetes.

Lilong Ji, professor at Peking University, contributed to the study.

Source: University of Queensland

ADHD Symptoms Raise Obesity Risk

This article is from the WebMD News Archive

ADHD Symptoms Raise Obesity Risk

Boy with paper airplane

Oct. 29, 2010 — Having ADHD symptoms in childhood is associated with an increased risk for obesity later in life, a new study suggests.

Symptoms such as problems with impulse control and hyperactivity were strongly linked to obesity in young adulthood, even among children without a diagnosis of ADHD, Duke University Medical Center researchers report.

The study is not the first to suggest an association between ADHD and obesity, but it is the first to examine the role of specific ADHD-related symptoms in weight control.

“Symptoms such as hyperactivity and [problems with] impulse control were associated with higher body mass index (BMI) in adulthood, even when there was no diagnosis of ADHD,” study co-author and Duke ADHD Program director Scott Kollins, PhD, tells WebMD.

ADHD and Obesity

The investigation, published in the International Journal of Obesity, included almost 15,200 children enrolled in a nationally representative adolescent health study followed from 1995 until 2009.

After controlling for other obesity risk factors, the researchers found that children with the most hyperactivity and impulsivity symptoms also had the highest risk for obesity in early adulthood.

The more symptoms children exhibited the greater their later obesity risk.

Although it is not clear from the study how these symptoms influence weight, the researchers speculate that impulse control issues may be more to blame than hyperactivity.

“Self-regulation and impulse control problems are hallmarks of ADHD and overeating,” Kollins says. “Kids with these issues may not be able to resist the urge to eat five cookies instead of two and they may ignore signals telling them they are full.”

It is well recognized that children with ADHD are at increased risk for substance abuse and addiction later in life.

Obesity researcher Caroline Davis, PhD, of Toronto’s York University, believes this propensity for addiction explains why kids with symptoms of ADHD may be more likely to overeat.

Researcher: ‘Food Is a Drug’

Davis tells WebMD that foods that are high in fat, sugar, and salt act on the brain’s reward system in the same way addictive drugs do.

Davis says it is no coincidence that the first studies linking ADHD to obesity were published just over a decade ago.

“It is my personal feeling that this link is pretty new,” she says. “The food environment has changed dramatically just within the last several decades. We now have a whole generation that has grown up on these highly addictive foods.”

Duke assistant professor of community and family medicine Bernard Fuemmeler, PhD, says findings from the newly published study may be useful for understanding ADHD and obesity.

“Clinicians need to be aware that children who exhibit symptoms of ADHD may have difficulty managing their weight as they get older,” he says. “For these children, working on behavioral control strategies may reduce this risk.”

Facts about Herpes: What is Herpes?

Herpes is a disease, which is easily transmitted by direct contact with the body fluid or the cut of an infected individual.

Transmission of herpes may also occur through skin-to-skin contact during the no symptoms period. Essentially, there are two types of herpes: Herpes type 1 (HSV -1 or oral herpes) and herpes type 2 (HSV -2 or genital herpes). A herpes cycle lasts from the active period – wherein blisters appear, containing infectious virus till the last period – to the remission period.

Causes of Herpes

Oral and genital herpes are caused by an infection of the herpes simplex virus. Oral herpes is caused by herpes simplex virus type 1 and genital herpes is caused by herpes simplex virus type 2.

Herpes viruses are passed from one person to another during sexual contact that involves touching of the mouth or genitals, or vaginal or anal sex. Oral sex can spread genital herpes to the mouth or transmit oral herpes to the genitals. Oral herpes can also multiply by kissing and other activities in which you are exposed to the mucous membranes or saliva of a person with oral herpes

Any person who takes in sexual activity can obtain and pass on a herpes infection. This includes heterosexual, homosexual and bisexual men and women. The more one night stands you have or had in the past, the greater are the risk of catching a herpes infection. It’s important to know that herpes can be spread between people even when no blisters or symptoms are present.

The herpes virus can also be passed from an infected mother to her newborn during vaginal delivery. Hence, the pregnant women with genital herpes should consult her doctor to prevent transmission of the herpes.

Risk factors for Herpes

Besides acquiring herpes through skin-to-skin contact and direct contact with the bodily fluids of the infected person, there are certain factors which increases the risk of transmitting the herpes infection. They are as follows…

Born to a mother with active genital herpes during pregnancy or delivery

Low immune system because of some medications or treatment or due to some diseases like HIV/AIDS or lupus.

Direct exposure to the saliva or any other bodily fluids of a person with oral herpes

Past history of any sexually transmitted disease (STD)

Unprotected sex, including vaginal, oral or anal sex

Symptoms of Herpes

Symptoms of herpes vary from person to person. Both men and women with herpes may have vague or mild symptoms or no symptoms at all. Quite a few people with herpes may have recurring outbreaks of symptoms. This recurrence can go on for days, months or even years. Recurrences are generally milder in nature and do not last as long as the initial outbreak.

Symptoms of oral herpes include:


Itching, discomfort or pain in the areas of the blisters and sores

Small blisters filled with clear yellowish fluid.

Sore throat

Swollen neck lymph nodes

After a period of time, blisters, sores or cuts can reappear due to reactivation of the herpes virus due to some illness or stress.

Symptoms of genital herpes

Early symptoms of genital herpes occur two to six days after exposure and can include:

Primary symptoms

Decreased appetite


General feeling of malaise or not feeling well


Muscle aches

Pain, sensitivity or itching near or on the penis, vulva or rectum.

Secondary symptoms

Appearance of groups of blisters on areas, such as the genitals, vagina, cervix, thighs, buttocks or anus
Blisters that break open and develop into painful lesions or sores that last about two weeks
Swollen lymph glands
Unusual vaginal discharge

Treatment for Herpes

Although there is no complete cure for herpes available in the market, there are numerous medicines available to reduce the pain and symptoms of herpes. These medicines delay the onset of serious herpes related health complications and lowers the possibility of spreading herpes to others.

Besides the normal medicines and ointments, apply sun block or lip balm to lips when outdoors, apply cold packs to the affected areas, avoid touching affected areas, prefer cesarean delivery if you have genital herpes, keep the area clean and dry, don’t share your personal items like toothbrush etc and lastly wash the affected area thoroughly after using the bathroom.

Read more Personal Health, Diet Fitness stories on

Dyslexia – Causes, Symptoms and Treatment

The term dyslexia is derived from the Greek language and broadly means difficulty with words. It is a very common type of learning difficulty that is associated with problems reading and spelling words. The severity of symptoms vary from very mild to severe. Most people are diagnosed during childhood, when problems reading and writing become apparent despite adequate intellectual ability and teaching.

What causes it?

There are various different theories on what causes dyslexia, but most agree that it is a genetic condition, which changes the way the brain processes information and is passed down through families. If you suffer from dyslexia, the likelihood of your child inheriting it is 40-60%. This theory is further supported by the fact that identical twins are usually both affected by it.

People with dyslexia often feel overwhelmed by words

The phonological processing impairment theory explains how dyslexia affects reading and writing. In speech, humans have the natural ability to distinguish between phonemes (the smallest units of sound that make up words) and reassemble them together so they make sense. With reading a writing, it is a little different. These skills require the ability to recognise the letters in a word, then using those to identify the appropriate phonemes and then assembling them to make a word. This is known as phonological processing. It is believed that people with dyslexia find this process more difficult than others.

It is also thought that the reason why people with dyslexia find phonological processing more difficult than others is that some parts of their brain function in a different way. MRI scans have revealed that activity levels in the left hemisphere of the brain are lower in people with dyslexia when they are reading.

It is important to emphasise that dyslexia has nothing to do with intellect and that sufferers show a normal range of intelligence.

[adsense]What are the symptoms?

Dyslexia often becomes apparent in early childhood with problems putting together sequences, for instance, such as numbers or coloured beads. Some toddlers may mix up their words, have problems with rhyming, clapping rhythms or show a lack of interest in reading and writing and delayed speech development. Over the cours of growing up, these symptoms can seriously affect the child’s self-esteem.

How is it treated?

While there is no cure for dyslexia, there are treatments available to manage the condition. It is important to have dyslexia diagnosed by a psychologist or a dyslexia specialist to figure out the best treatment. Teaching methods can be tailored appropriately to help the child learn better and instruction on phonemic, fluency and comprehension provided. Using colour overlays, mind maps (diagrams using images and keywords to create visual representation) and voice-recognition software among many other things can also help in later life.

Click here to read about Magic johnson and his battle with dyslexia and ADD and how Tom Cruise believes ADD is a myth.

Images: pinkcotton and denverjeffrey on Flikr

Psoriatic arthritis

Psoriatic arthritis is an inflammatory joint disease associated with the skin ailment, psoriasis. Like all arthritis, it most commonly affects the joints in the hands and feet, but can also cause inflammation, swelling and pain in larger joints, including the knees, elbows, hips and the spine. In cases of psoriatic arthritis, the tendons (the fibrous tissue attaching the muscle to the bone) can also be affected.

Psoriasis causes red, scaly patches on the skin called plaques, which can become itchy and sore. The plaques can cover a small area (usually on the head, knee, elbows and buttocks) or a larger area. It also affects the nails.

The chances of getting psoriasis or psoriatic arthritis are the same for men and women, although women are at more risk after pregnancy or the menopause.

Psoriatic arthritis can occur at any age. It usually only develops if the sufferer already has psoriasis. However, having psoriasis does not automatically mean it will develop into psoriatic arthritis. In around 70% of cases psoriasis precedes psoriatic arthritis, in 15% the skin and joint conditions occur at the same time and in the remaining 15% psoriatic arthritis is present before the skin condition psoriasis appears, according to the Psoriasis Association.

People with psoriasis can also develop other forms of arthritis, such as rheumatoid or osteoarthritis. The severity of psoriatic arthritis isn’t necessarily related to how bad the psoriasis is. This means bad psoriasis can come hand-in-hand with little or no arthritis, or well-controlled psoriasis with more severe arthritis.

There are five types of psoriatic arthritis, according to Bupa, and some overlaps:

  • Symmetric arthritis affects the same joints on each side of the body – symptoms in several joints are likely.
  • Asymmetric arthritis affects different joints on each side of the body, for example a few finger joints and a knee joint.
  • Distal interphalangeal predominant (DIP) arthritis happens in the joints closest to the finger- and toenails.
  • Arthritis mutilans leads to serious deformity in the fingers and toes, and can also affect the spine.
  • Spondylitis – the arthritis develops in the spine and the sufferer will experience pain and stiffness in the back and neck.

What are the symptoms of psoriatic arthritis?

Symptoms of psoriatic arthritis can come and go and vary from mild to severe. Common ones include:

  • General tiredness.
  • Tenderness, pain, redness and swelling over tendons
  • One or more entire fingers or toes swelling up – this is called dactylitis, caused by the joints and tendons becoming inflamed
  • Stiffness, pain, throbbing and swelling in one or more joints
  • A reduced range of movement
    Nail changes – pitted or thickened nails
  • Flaking white patches of skin with red, inflamed skin underneath
  • Conjunctivitis or sore, red eyes

[adsense]How is it treated?

There are many different medicines and treatments available for psoriatic arthritis and they depend of the type and severity of the condition. Seeking professional medical advice is essential to managing the condition properly. Living with the illness can be frustrating and a change in lifestyle, as well as close cooperation with a doctor, is essential.

Keeping up a moderate amount of exercise is important as otherwise the muscles around the joints will weaken and become stiff. Exercise will also help reduce pain and stiffness and make it easier to move around.

There are three types of exercise that can help, according to Bupa, including:

  • Strengthening the muscles around your joint
  • Range of motion exercises to maintain joint motion and improve flexibility
  • Aerobic exercise, such as walking, swimming, cycling or hydrotherapy (supervised exercises in a pool)

Click here to read about how rheumatoid arthritis can negatively affect your sex drive, a study into whether or not aerobics is safe enough for arthritic patients and how social rejection can trigger arthritis.

Images: Wikimedia Commons

Bacterial Vaginosis (BV)

Bacterial Vaginosis, also known as BV, is one of the most common causes of bacterial infection in the female reproductive system and is brought on by an imbalance in the usual bacteria found in the vagina. It mostly affects women of childbearing age and those who are pregnant.

What causes BV?

The exact cause of BV is not fully understood, according to CDC, but it is associated with the imbalance of bacteria.

Some types of bacteria are always present in the vagina to keep it healthy. It should contain lactobacilli (lactic acid bacteria). The lactobacilli produce lactic acid, making the organ slightly acidic, thus preventing other bacteria from growing there.

BV causes the sufferer to have less lactobacilli, meaning the vagina is not as acidic as it should me. This allows other types of bacteria to grow.

Women who are sexually active are more likely to get BV. Risk, according to the NHS, can also be increased by:

  • Having a new or multiple sexual partners
  • Using soap or deodorant on the vagina
  • Washing underwear with strong detergent
  • Smoking
  • Using an intrauterine device (IUD) as a contraceptive

What are the symptoms?

BV usually causes an abnormal vaginal discharge, accompanied by an unpleasant fish-like odour (especially after intercourse), white or grey discharge, itchiness and burning during urination.

How is it treated?

It is important to see a doctor if you suspect you have BV, as it needs to be correctly diagnosed and distinguished from other possible vaginal conditions and sexually transmitted diseases.

BV is usually treated with a course of antibiotics, which are 85-90% effective in combating the infection.

There is currently no evidence that probiotics, such as those found in live yoghurt, are of any benefit for treating or preventing BV.

If, after treatment, the symptoms have vanished, there is no need to take any further action. More tests are needed if symptoms persist.

[adsense]Could there be any complications?

BV is not usually accompanied by complications. However, it can increase certain risks, according to CDC:

  • Having BV can increase a woman’s susceptibility to HIV if she is exposed to the virus.
  • Having BV has been associated with an increase in the development of an infection following surgical procedures such as a hysterectomy or an abortion
  • Having BV during pregnancy can put a woman at increased risk of complications, such as premature delivery or the baby being born weighing less than normal
  • Having BV can increase a woman’s susceptibility to other STDs, such as genital herpes, chlamydia and gonorrhea

The bacteria that cause BV can sometimes infect the uterus (womb) and fallopian tubes (tubes that carry eggs from the ovaries to the uterus). This type of infection is called pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) and can cause infertility or damage the fallopian tubes enough to increase the future risk of ectopic pregnancy and infertility.

Click here to read more about candida yeast infections in women and in men.

Images: Wikimedia Commons and Wikipedia

What happens during a miscarriage?

A miscarriage is a pregnancy that ends before 24 weeks, which is before most developing babies can survive outside the womb.

The majority of miscarriages happen during the first 12 weeks of pregnancy, which is often referred to as the first trimester and are much more common that people realise. Many women who miscarry do not like talking about.

An estimated 20% of pregnancies end in miscarriage, according to the NHS, but many cases go unreported because a woman often loses the baby before she even realises she’s pregnant.

What causes a miscarriage?

About half of all early miscarriages happen when a problem in the way chromosomes from the egg and sperm combine during the fertilization process, according to Bupa, leading to problems with the foetus. Many couples never find out why this has happened, and it is often put down to chance rather than another underlying cause.

While these chromosome problems often happen by chance, there are some known risk factors, which increase the chances of these issues occurring in the first 3 months of pregnancy (first trimester):

  • Age – women under 25 are at lowest risk with 9%, whereas those over 45 have a 75% chance of miscarrying, the NHS states.
  • Obesity
  • Smoking
  • Drug use
  • Alcohol and caffeine consumption – drinking more than one cup of coffee a day and 2 small glasses of wine a week increases risk.

Second trimester miscarriages can often be caused by:

  • Underlying health conditions such as diabetes, lupus, kidney disease or thyroid problems
  • Infections such as rubella or bacterial vaginosis (BV)
  • A higher than usual level of the antibody called antiphospholipid (aPL) in the blood
  • A weakened cervix
  • Polycystic ovary syndrome

The NHS dispels myths by stating that miscarriage risks ARE NOT linked to:

  • The mother’s emotional state during pregnancy
  • Being shocked or having a fright
  • Exercising during pregnancy (the most appropriate type of exercise should be discussed with a doctor)
  • Lifting or straining
  • Working during pregnancy or having sex

What are the symptoms of miscarriage?

The most common symptom of a miscarriage is vaginal bleeding. This can vary from light to very heavy, including blood clots and brown discharge. There may also be:

  • Cramping and pain in the pelvis and back
  • Usual pregnancy symptoms such as sickness and breast tenderness suddenly stopping

[adsense]You should contact your doctor or midwife immediately if you start experiencing bleeding during your pregnancy. A gynaecologist can diagnose a miscarriage through an ultrasound scan and blood tests.

How is a miscarriage treated?

Treatment depends on whether or not the miscarriage is complete or incomplete. In cases of a complete miscarriage, no further medical treatment is needed. If the latter occurs, however, the foetal tissue needs to be removed otherwise it may become infective. This can be done in three ways:

  • Surgical treatment where minor surgery is used to remove the tissue,
  • Medical treatment – where medication is used to remove the tissue, or
  • Expectant treatment – where you wait for the tissue to pass naturally out of your womb.

If you are experiencing recurring miscarriages, it is important to talk to your doctor about what treatments are available to maximise the chance of having a successful pregnancy.

Celebrities who have previously had miscarriages include screen siren Sharon Stone and songstress Lily Allen. Also read about Kym Marsh’s agony over giving birth to a premature baby and how Chris Evans’ wife nearly died during an ectopic pregnancy.

Images: Wikimedia Commons

What is Tuberculosis?

Tuberculosis (TB) is a bacterial infection, spread by inhaling tiny droplets of saliva released through the cough or sneeze of an infected person. It affects the lungs primarily, but can spread to almost any part of the body. Before antibiotics, TB was a major problem and resulted in many deaths.

What causes it?

Tuberculosis is caused by a strain of bacteria called mycobacterium tuberculosis. It is spread when someone with an active infection in their lungs coughs or sneezes and another person inhales droplets of the saliva.

However, despite the fact that it is spread in the same way as Influenza (flu), TB is not as contagious, according to the NHS, and a person would usually need to spend a considerable amount of time in close contact with the patient before contracting it themselves.

It is therefore often spread between family members and others who live together. It is unlikely to get TB from sitting next to someone who is infected on the bus or train. The very young, elderly and those with pre-existing health conditions affecting their immune system (such as HIV/AIDS) are more likely to contract TB. The risk is also heightened for those who live in a community or have received visitors from a part of the world where TB is still commons.

What are the symptoms?

There are three types of TB and three ways in which the body could react to the infection. The NHS outlines these:

  • Your immune system kills the bacteria, and you experience no further symptoms. This is what happens in the majority of cases.
  • Your immune system cannot kill the bacteria, but manages to build a defensive barrier around the infection. This means that you will not experience any symptoms, but the bacteria will remain in your body. This is known as latent TB but could develop into active TB at a later date if the immune system becomes weakened.
  • Your immune system fails to kill or contain the infection and it slowly spreads to your lungs. This is known as active TB.

TB does not usually cause any symptoms until it reaches the lungs. As the bacteria are slow moving, it may take months or even years for any symptoms to surface. When they do, they commonly include, according to the BBC:

  • A persistent cough, usually lasting longer than three weeks – it may be dry to start with but eventually bring up bloody mucus
  • Night sweats for weeks or months
  • Weight loss
  • Fatigue
  • High temperature
  • Breathlessness

In some cases, TB can spread from the lungs to other parts of the body (this is called extrapulmonary TB) causing a host of different symptoms:

  • Lymph nodes – this causes the nodes to swell up and, over time, begin releasing fluid
  • Genitourinary – this can cause groin pain and blood in the urine
  • Gastrointestinal – this can cause abdominal pain, diarrhoea and bleeding from the rectum
  • Skeletal – this leads to bone weakness and pain, loss of feeling and curving of the affected bone or joint
  • Central nervous system – this can lead to headaches, vomiting, blurred vision and seizures

[adsense]How is it treated?

It is important to seek immediate medical advice if you suspect that you may have TB. The illness takes a long time to leave the body and is usually treated through a course of different antibiotics over 6 months.

A vaccine is available and recommended to those who are more at risk of being exposed to the bacteria – by living with someone who has the illness, for example, or travelling to a country where TB is still common.

Click here to read about Nelson Mandela and his struggle following TB and the new hope of a cure for TB.

Images: Wikimedia Commons and EOL