Tuberculosis – Causes, Symptoms and Treatment

Tuberculosis – Causes, Symptoms and Treatment

Tuberculosis is a bacterial disease in humans caused by an organism called Mycobacterium tuberculosis (M. tuberculosis). TB is an abbreviation of the word Tuberculosis and is how people usually refer to the disease.

Tuberculosis is known to be the second largest killer worldwide that is caused by a single infectious agent as compared to other diseases. It is an infectious disease that usually distresses the lungs.

There is only a 10% lifetime chance of the TB bacteria to actively cause symptoms and reactivate itself in someone with a healthy immune system. But, if the immune system has already undergone the trauma of HIV ((human immunodeficiency virus) or any other illness then its risk of becoming an active symptomatic disease from an inactive infection increases 10% per year.

Infants, babies, preschool children and old age people are also at greater risk of recurrence due to weaker immune functionality.


The symptoms entirely depend on the infected area of the body. If the disease is pulmonary (TB in lungs) the person will have a bad cough lasting more than two weeks. They might even cough out blood or phlegm from deep inside their lungs and experience chest pain.

The symptoms depend on which area of the body has been infected. If someone has pulmonary disease, which is TB in the lungs, then they may have a bad cough that lasts longer than two weeks. They may also have pain in their chest and they may cough up blood or phlegm from deep inside their lungs. Other symptoms of TB include:

  • Recurrent and constant cough
  • Night sweats
  • Chills & Fever
  • Lack of appetite
  • Weight loss
  • Painful breathing and coughing
  • Fatigue and weakness
  • Enlargement of lymph nodes (in the neck and inside the chest)


One can get Tuberculosis by inhaling the TB bacteria present in the air. The bacteria can be spread from one person to another through the air. This bacteria is released into the air by the infected person.

When a person having TB of the lungs or throat coughs, sneezes, sings or talks, droplets containing the bacteria are released into the air. This is the reason why infectious people cover their mouths by wearing a mask when in a group of people to prevent spreading the bacteria. Even the doctors or any person working inside a TB clinic wears a mask to prevent their selves from infection passed.

People mostly with the TB of the throat or lungs are most infectious. The efficiency of treatment matters a lot because an effective TB treatment reduces the number of infectious droplets released by a person dramatically.


If the disease is administered correctly and cured using the right medication then tuberculosis can easily be cured. It can be treated using an effective antibiotic treatment which depends on a variety of factors such as person’s age, overall health state, immunity, resistance towards medicine.

Whether the TB is active or latent or is on any infectious location like lungs, brain, kidneys it can be cured is the medication available is right and is administered correctly.

People having latent TB may need just one kind of TB antibiotics, whereas the people with active TB (particularly MDR-TB) will often require a prescription of multiple drugs.

Antibiotics are required to be taken for quite a long time. The standard length of time of a TB antibiotic course is about six months minimum.

Some of the potential reported side effects of TB medication include:

  • Dark urine
  • Fever
  • Jaundice
  • Loss of appetite
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Toxic Liver

It is very important for TB patients to complete the course of treatment fully if the symptoms have gone away and infection fully eradicated.

Any bacteria that has survived the treatment could become immune to the prescribed medication and could lead to developing MDR-TB in the future.

A medical worker can be directed to observe and ensure the right implementation of treatment and its completion.


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