Tuberculosis: What TB is and Its Symptoms


TB standing for Tuberculosis Bacillus or Tuberculosis in short is a global common disease caused by several strains of mycobacteria. TB usually affects the lungs and is spread through the air since an infected patient coughs, sneezes, spits, laughs or talks.


Because of a contagious disease, anyone could be infected, especially people with compromised immune systems, who are the most endangered by developing active tuberculosis. TB is one of three most dangerous diseases which can cause the death of women at age from 15 to 44. TB has usually impact on lungs but it can also affect other parts of your body, including kidneys, spine or brain.

TB has existed in two conditions which can either be active or latent. Latent TB is when you have the TB bacteria in your body simultaneously it remains in an inactive state and causes no symptom. You will need appropriate treatment or it can turn into active TB. Active TB is the condition when you feel sick and others around you can be infected. After having latent TB, you may have active TB in only few weeks or years later.

In order to realize a person with active TB, you can look at the signs and symptoms mostly consisting of coughing lasting more than three weeks, coughing up blood, chest pain or pain with breathing or coughing, unintentional weight loss, fatigue, fever or high temperature, night sweats, chills and lack of appetite. This is known as pulmonary TB.

However, TB can cause additional symptoms, as well, which is called extrapulmonary TB. The infections still depend on which part of the body outside the lungs is infected, such as the lymph nodes (small glands that form part of the immune system), the bones and joints, the digestive system, the bladder and reproductive system, as well as the nervous system including brain and nerves. Extrapulmonary TB is more common in people with a weakened immune system, especially those with HIV.

In older infants and children, Latent Tuberculosis infection which is the first infection with the tuberculosis bacteria, usually produces no sign or symptom. In most cases, only a tuberculin skin test (used to figure out if someone has been infected by the tuberculosis bacteria) is positive, indicating that the child has been infected. Children with a positive tuberculin test, even if they show no disease, will usually need to receive medication.

This primary infection usually resolves on its own as a child develops immunity over a 6- to 10-week period. But in some cases, it can progress and spread all over the lungs (called progressive tuberculosis) or to other organs. This causes signs and symptoms such as fever, weight loss, fatigue, loss of appetite, and cough.

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