Tuberculosis: All You Need To Know


  • Tuberculosis is one of the top ten causes of death worldwide.
  • It is the primary cause of death among people who are HIV positive.
  • Approximately ten million individuals got sick with Tuberculosis as per the survey conducted for the year 2018. Amongst them, for 1.5 million individuals, the results were fatal.
  • About 1.1 million children fell ill with Tuberculosis. The number of deaths among children was 251000. Some of them were HIV positive too.
  • The percentage of TB affected individuals are declining by 2% every year. We need to increase this percentage to $ or % % top make it TB free by the end of 2020.

What Is Tuberculosis?

Tuberculosis is one of the deadliest diseases which is avoidable and curable. It is caused by mycobacterium tuberculosis. It is very infectious and can spread between individuals over air when a person with TB sneezes, coughs or spits, germs are propelled in the air. People who breathe in the same atmosphere as the victim can get the disease very quickly. 

There are two types of tuberculosis conditions:

Latent Tuberculosis

If you have latent TB, you will not feel ill. It is because the bacteria in your body remains in an inactive state. Also, you can't transmit the disease to others. 

There is a possibility that the bacteria become active over a while. The good thing is that latent TB is curable.

Active Tuberculosis

If you have active TB, the bacteria in your body are at the active condition. The disease can be spread to other people and can be very harmful to health. Active TBs are also durable and treatable and preventable with a course of medicine. 

Some of the fundamental differences between the two types of tuberculosis disease are as follows:

Latent TB

  • Bacteria is not in the active condition.
  • You will get no symptoms, and you'll not feel ill.
  • You cannot spread the disease to others.
  • Latent TB can only be diagnosed by a TB skin test or blood test.

Active TB

  • Bacteria is in active condition.
  • You will get symptoms and will not feel well.
  • You can spread the disease in case TB has an impact on the lungs.
  • The disease could be detected with a chest x-ray if it has affected your lungs

Also Read : The Zone Diet - The Best Beginner’s Diet 

What Are The Early Warning Signs Of Tuberculosis?

The symptoms of TB when it affects the lungs are:

  • Persistent coughing
  • Chest pain
  • Appetite suppression
  • Shivers
  • Coughing up blood
  • Cold sweats
  • Fever
  • Tiredness
  • Unexpected weight loss

TB can affect other body organs like the spine, brain, or kidney. When it concerns the spine, a person may have back pain. The disease can also affect the kidney, causing blood in the urine. The symptoms usually differ from person to person, depending on the affected organ.

What Are The Risk Factors For Tuberculosis?

People who are in close association with the TB infected person are at a higher risk of getting the disease. He can be a person in your family or a close friend or colleague in your workplace. Following class of individuals are also at risk of developing the disease:

  • Children
  • Elderly people
  • People who smoke
  • People who are on drugs
  • People with kidney disease or diabetes
  • People with some immune deficiency syndrome(this includes people who are HIV positive patients, enduring chemotherapy, using chronic drugs)

How Can You Prevent Tuberculosis From Spreading?

Stay at home

If you have active TB, don't go outside in the first few weeks of treatment. For this duration, TB is known to be highly contagious. 

Cover up mouth

While sneezing, coughing or laughing, cover your mouth with a tissue or a piece of cloth. Also, discard it after use. 


 Wear a mask

When you are around other people, wear a mask during the initial phase of treatment. Prevent the transmission of this disease with this simple step.


Bacille Calmette Guerin or BCG is a vaccine to prevent the disease of Tuberculosis. The residents of the United States of America don't prefer it because of its uncertainty. Some countries usually inject this vaccine to infants and small children, where disease transmission has become rapid.

How Does HIV Infection Affect Tuberculosis?

HIV, an acronym for Human Immunodeficiency Virus, assists TB germs, and makes you ill. If you are HIV positive and get bacteria of Tuberculosis, you can get the disease most probably. HIV or the AIDS virus can eventually weaken your immune system, and that's the reason you can get TB very quickly. 

If you believe that you may have HIV, consult your doctor right away and get an HIV test done. Now, if you get HIV with Tuberculosis, consult your physician and get proper treatment. The disease is curable, but only if you follow your doctor's advice, sincerely. 

How Can Tuberculosis Be Treated?

First, the doctor will take your physical exam and check your lymph nodes for swelling. He will then listen to the sound your lungs make while breathing. 

One of the commonly used tools for the diagnosis is TB Skin Test. Nowadays, Blood Test has also become somewhat famous. PPD tuberculin named substance will inject beneath the skin of your upper arm. 

The doctor will then check for swelling on the site of injection within 48-72 hours. You will get a harsh red bump over there if you are infected with TB. 

One more thing to note is that these skin tests are not always right. The result may show you are TB positive even if you aren't, and vice versa. It happens if you have recently taken the BCG vaccine. 

Small children, older adults, or HIV patients can get erroneous negative results in skin tests as their immune system is comparatively weaker than other classes of individuals. If you have recently affected by tuberculosis bacteria, but your immune system hasn't yet responded to it, you may get erroneous negative results.

Blood Tests

It is another way to ascertain the tuberculosis germs in your body. There are two kinds of blood tests usually done for TB:

  • QuantiFERON TB

You should undergo these TB tests if:

  • You have recently lived or are living in a nation with many TB infected persons. 
  • You have a weak immune system.
  • You live near a TB infected person.






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