Pott's disease, which is also known as Pott’s caries, David's disease, and Pott's curvature, is a medical condition of the spine. Individuals suffering from this condition typically experience back pain, night sweats, fever, weight loss, and anorexia. They may also develop a spinal mass, which results in tingling, numbness, or a general feeling of weakness in the leg muscles. Often, the pain associated with the disease causes the sufferer to walk in an upright and stiff position.
This condition is caused when the vertebrae become soft and collapse as the bone is destroyed, which is typically caused by Mycobacterium tuberculosis. As a result, the person often develops kyphosis, a pronouned curvature in the upper back that results in a hunchback. This is often referred to as Pott's curvature. In some cases, an individual may also develop paralysis, referred to as Pott's paraplegia, when the spinal nerves become affected by the curvature.
A person with Pott's disease may experience additional complications as a result of the curvature. For example, an infection can more easily spread from the paravertebral tissue, which can cause abscesses to occur. Regardless of the complications that may occur, the disease is typically slow spreading and can last for months or years.
A person who has been diagnosed with this illness may have a variety of treatment options. He or she may use painkillers and antituberculous drugs to get the infection under control. It may also be necessary to immobilize the area of the spine affected by the disease, or the person may need to undergo surgery in order to drain any abscesses that may have formed or to stabilize the spine.
Since Pott's disease is caused by a bacterial infection, prevention is possible through proper control. The best method for preventing the disease is reduce or eliminate the spread of tuberculosis. In addition, testing this bacteria is an important preventative measure, as those who are positive for purified protein derivative (PPD) can take medication to prevent the disease from developing. A tuberculin skin test is the most common method used to screen for infection, though blood tests, bone scans, bone biopsies, and radiographs may also be used to confirm the disease.