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Understanding Tuberculosis – Causes & Symptoms

By Dr. Nikita Toshi +2 more

Tuberculosis or TB is an airborne disease, caused by a bacterium called Mycobacterium tuberculosis. These bacteria are generally known to attack the lungs but if unchecked or untreated, they can spread to any part of the body like the kidney, spine or brain and in extreme cases, can also be fatal.

How does TB spread?

TB spreads from one person to another, when a person infected with TB coughs, sneezes, speaks or sings and people around him breathe in the bacteria that have been released in the air. Though TB is contagious, it is a little difficult to catch. People are seldom infected by an infected stranger. It is mostly got from a person you spend a considerable of time with. There is a common myth that TB can spread by – shaking hands – kissing – sharing toothbrush – toilet seats – sharing food Tuberculosis does NOT spread through any of these. The TB bacteria, Mycobacterium tuberculosis can remain dormant in the human body without making the person sick. As a result, not everyone who is infected with TB bacteria becomes sick. Therefore, two TB- related conditions are prevalent: Latent TB infection and TB disease.

Latent TB Infection

Under normal health conditions, the human body is capable of fighting the bacteria and stop them from growing. In this condition, the person isn’t sick, doesn’t show any symptoms and isn’t contagious either. Whenever the immune system weakens or if the person is infected with aids, the bacteria in the body becomes active and starts multiplying. The person then is no longer under the latent TB infected category.

TB Disease

If the immune system can’t fight the bacteria, they become active and start multiplying in the body. The person becomes sick and shows symptoms of TB. It is not necessary that an infected person will be sick. Many people are TB infected for years and yet do not develop TB. While others do so immediately and some others are affected after years.

Symptoms of Tuberculosis

– chest pain – cough that lasts for more than 3 weeks – loss of appetite – weight loss – fever – excessive sweating at night Today, new and more dangerous antibiotic-resistant strains of the disease are prevalent and have created a major public health crisis in a number of large cities worldwide. It is advised that you seek medical aid immediately if you have TB in an active or latent state.Disclaimer:  The information provided here is for educational/awareness purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for medical treatment by a healthcare professional and should not be relied upon to diagnose or treat any medical condition. The reader should consult a registered medical practitioner to determine the appropriateness of the information and before consuming any medication. PharmEasy does not provide any guarantee or warranty (express or implied) regarding the accuracy, adequacy, completeness, legality, reliability or usefulness of the information; and disclaims any liability arising thereof.

Links and product recommendations in the information provided here are advertisements of third-party products available on the website. PharmEasy does not make any representation on the accuracy or suitability of such products/services. Advertisements do not influence the editorial decisions or content. The information in this blog is subject to change without notice. The authors and administrators reserve the right to modify, add, or remove content without notification. It is your responsibility to review this disclaimer regularly for any changes.

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