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Tuberculosis: Symptoms, Causes & Cure

Tuberculosis also known as TB is a highly infectious, & airborne disease. TB primarily attacks the lungs. The bacteria which causes TB can spread from one person to another through tiny droplets released into the air via cough and sneezing. But other than the lungs it can also attack other parts of the body, including the Kidneys, Spine, and Brain.

Tuberculosis Symptoms:

Many times people are infected with TB bacteria but do not become sick. As a result, two-type of TB-related conditions exist:

  • Latent TB-  In Latent TB infection, the bacteria in your body are inactive and cause no symptoms. It is also called Inactive Tuberculosis or TB infection, it is not contagious but Latent TB can turn into Active TB, that’s why treatment is important at first you notice symptoms.
  • Active TB- In this case, TB bacteria becomes active if the immune system can’t stop bacteria from growing. The TB bacteria which is active and continuously multiplying in your body makes you sick and in most cases, can spread to others. The active disease can occur many years or weeks later. It is a multiorgan disease.  makes you sick and, in most cases, can spread to others. The active disease can occur many years or weeks later. It is a multiorgan disease.

Signs and symptoms of active TB:

  • Loss of appetite
  • Coughing for three weeks or more
  • Coughing up blood or mucus.
  • Chest pain when breathing or coughing
  • Fever
  • Fatigue
  • Chills
  • Night sweats
  • Tuberculosis can occur in many parts of your body other than the lungs, and the symptoms may vary according to organs. For example,

Spinal TB– Spinal TB is also known as Tuberculosis spondylitis or Pott’s disease. It is a type of extrapulmonary TB. The spine is most commonly affected by TB infection. It causes infection of the disc and associated spinal bone.

  • It can be diagnosed by:
  • ESR test
  • MRI scanning
  • CT Scan
  • Mantoux skin

The diagnosis can be delayed because of non-specific symptoms at the initial stage.

Symptoms of Spinal TB:

  • Night sweats
  • Backache in the back
  • Tenderness
  • Stiffness and spasms of the muscles
  • Spinal deformity

Renal TB– Renal Tuberculosis is another name for Kidney Tuberculosis. Renal TB is also a type of extra-pulmonary TB that affects the kidneys. This TB usually affects the inner part of the kidney called the medulla. Though the infection starts from the cortex, the outer part, In some cases, renal tuberculosis affects the entire genitourinary tract.

Symptoms of renal TB:

  • Blood comes in urine.
  • presence of protein or pus in the urine.
  • Decreased kidney function
  • Feeling burned while passing urine

Risk factors in Renal tuberculosis:

  • Hypertension
  • Swelling of the kidney
  • Calcium deposits in the kidney
  • End-stage renal failure


  • An X-ray, which can show the calcium deposit
  • Ultrasound
  • CT scan
  • “Full blood count”
  • ESR
  • Tuberculin skin test

Brain TB: Tuberculosis meningitis causes inflammation of the membrane around the brain. It involves the central nervous system.

Symptoms of Meningitis-TB:

  • Headaches
  • Fever
  • Stiff neck
  • Vomiting

If this goes untreated, it can cause hydrocephalus, deafness, mental retardation, and paralysis on one side of the body.


  • A CT Scan of the head
  • PPD Skin Test
  • Meninges biopsy


Mycobacterium is the bacteria that causes TB. It is very contagious. It can affect someone if they live or work with someone who has an active TB infection. But if someone with active TB has had proper drug treatment for at least two or more weeks, they are no longer contagious.

  • A person who is suffering from HIV/AIDs is much more likely to get TB because HIV suppresses the immune system and makes it difficult for the body to control TB bacteria and people with a history of untreated or inadequately treated TB disease.
  • Using tobacco can get you TB disease.
  • A healthy immune system fights any bacteria, but a weakened immune system can’t fight such kinds of bacteria, including diabetes, severe kidney disease, malnutrition, and cancer treatment such as chemotherapy.


Curing TB with proper medications such as antibiotics and care takes quite a long time, 6 to 9 months or more than that, depending on the TB type.

  • The most common drugs used for treating TB are:
  • Isoniazid
  • Rifampin
  • Ethanbutanol
  • Pyrazinamide

If someone has drug-resistant TB, a combination of antibiotics called fluoroquinolones and injections, such as amikacin or capreomycin, is generally used for 20 to 30 months.

Side-effects of this medication:

Every medication has some side effects, and so does TB. TB has some severe side effects, and it can be toxic to your liver.

If you experience any of the following symptoms during the course of TB, then consult your doctor :

  • nausea or vomiting.
  • Dark or red-colored urine
  • Loss of appetite
  • Blurred vision
  • easy bruising and bleeding.

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