Symptoms and Causes of Tuberculosis

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By Dr. Rajashekhar, General Physician

Tuberculosis, often referred to as TB, is an infectious disease which is caused by a particular bacterium known as Mycobacterium Tuberculosis. This disease usually affects the lungs but in severe conditions, can affect other parts of the body as well.

Tuberculosis can be of two types:

  1. Latent Tuberculosis: In this particular condition, the bacterium thrives in your body but in a passive state and doesn’t cause too many symptoms. Inactive bacterium isn’t contagious but proper treatment can help in controlling the spread of tuberculosis.
  2. Active Tuberculosis: In this condition, the bacteria cause infection and can prove to be contagious.

Causes of Tuberculosis:

  • Mycobacterium: The primary cause of tuberculosis is Mycobacterium tuberculosis which is a small, non-mobile bacillus. The bacterium has unique characteristics and divides every twenty hours. The different kind of mycobacterium causing tuberculosis are:
    • M. bovis
    • M. africanum
    • M. canetti
    • M. microti
    • M. leprae
    • M. avium
    • M. kansasii
  • Interacting with a person with active tuberculosis can prove to be contagious as the bacteria spread through saliva when the infected person spits, coughs or sneezes.
  • People with HIV are more likely to contract the bacteria causing TB.

Signs and Symptoms of Tuberculosis:

  1. Excessive coughing
  2. Blood during cough
  3. Throbbing chest pain while breathing and coughing
  4. Loss of appetite
  5. Weight loss
  6. Extreme fatigue
  7. Fever
  8. Chills

Tuberculosis medication can be very dangerous to your liver. They can cause serious side effects which affect your internal organs grievously:

  1. Dark urine
  2. High fever and chills are very common for a person who is suffering from TB
  3. Jaundice can be an outcome of the medication
  4. A person taking these medications is likely to lose appetite which gradually leads to weight loss
  5. Nausea and constant vomiting