Tuberculosis (TB) Symptoms And Causes

Among the common infections that people around the world face, one that you should have definitely heard about is that of tuberculosis also known as TB. According to researchers, about 2 billion of people experience this infection every year and about 3 million out of these cases prove to be fatal for the sufferer. However, the best you can do is to start the treatment of TB as soon as possible. For the very same purpose, along with knowing the treatments, you need to be well aware of the various causes associated with it as well as the signs and symptoms.


Tuberculosis (TB) Symptoms And Causes:

The list below has been prepared for the convenience of the users to actually understand the proven causes and signs and symptoms of tuberculosis(tb). Check them out to get a deep knowledge about the crisis. It is bound to help you in a lot of ways and also keep some preventive measures handy.

Causes Of Tuberculosis (TB):

1. Infected From Person To Person:

The only known cause of TB has come from the fact that a person who is already suffering from the infection can easily transfer it to the other with contact. The bacteria mycobacterium tuberculosis is what causes the problem but only through transfer. Airborne particles can be one of the other dedicated ways in which the bacterium passes from a person to other. However, just inhaling the bacteria doesn’t mean that there will be a reaction of tuberculosis in the body.

It is only a weak immune system that can finally cause the problem in the body. In other cases, the TB (tuberculosis) infection might enter the body and stay dormant in it for a long time before activating into tuberculosis infection.

It is worth noting down here, that people who are in the first two weeks of tuberculosis infection are those who are contagious and causes the problem in others.

Tuberculosis is mainly caused due to infection by mycobacterium, a kind of bacterium. It is therefore also known as mycobacterium tuberculosis. It usually affects the lungs. Tuberculosis spreads when a person comes in contact with the droplets that are expelled during coughing and sneezing from an infected person. TB is not as contagious as common cold or flu. Given below are 10 main causes of Tuberculosis:

2. Latent Or Active TB:

In healthy people, the immune system of the body fights again the bacterium that causes tuberculosis. But in few cases the bacteria remain dormant in the body and do not show any symptoms. It has been found that nearly 10% of the people with latent TB bacteria are more at higher risk of developing the disease in a span of few years.

3. Tuberculosis In The Family:

Even though tuberculosis is not contagious, your chance of getting the disease is relatively high if one of your family members is infected with the disease and you live in the same house.

4. Ethnicity:

The background of a person can also be one of risk factors of tuberculosis. It is found that if you reside in a country or a place where the occurrence of tuberculosis is very high, your chances of developing the disease increases by manifold.

5. Place Of Work:

It has been found that your chance of developing tuberculosis are high if you work in a place that is exposed to mycobacterium infection like hospitals, nursing homes, homeless shelters or correctional facilities.

6. Age:

Age also affects the development of tuberculosis. Research conducted in the regard has revealed that the likelihood of developing tuberculosis is comparatively high in toddlers and old people as compared to normal adults. This is because their immune system is weaker, making the chances of bacterial infection very high.

7. Diet:

Diet also plays a key role in tuberculosis development. A poor diet that is low in essential vitamins and nutrients does only make the body weak; it also increases the risk of tuberculosis.

8. Weakened Immune System:

Weakened immune system is also one of the top 10 TB causes. It often results after a person has undergone few medical treatments like corticosteroids, tumour necrosis factor (TNF) inhibitors or chemotherapy.


Recent studies have revealed that the chances of tuberculosis in people with HIV or AIDS infection are 20% higher than those individuals who never have HIV or AIDS.

10. Smoking:

Smoking is a significant cause of tuberculosis. Tobacco smoke hampers the healthy functioning of lungs, making the body more susceptible for TB infection. It has been found that more than 20% of TB cases are related to smoking.

11. Alcohol:

Excessive intake of alcohol can weaken the immune system and thereby increase the chance of getting tuberculosis infection.

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Symptoms of TB (Tuberculosis):

The symptoms of tuberculosis range from being very discrete to showing active symptoms for the same. In most of the cases, TB infection cannot be detected until revealed with the skin test. A recent survey conducted on the disease has suggested that the mortality rate of tuberculosis is as high as 50%. Early detection and treatment can however lessen the risk for the same. Therefore the top 10 symptoms of tuberculosis are given below, which you must not ignore.

1. Chronic Cough:

Chronic cough with blood-tinged sputum has been found to be the most common and first TB symptoms. Generally, cough is defined as sudden and recurring reflex that is caused due to irritants or foreign particles, such as mycobacterium. Infections like these are highly contagious. In some cases of tuberculosis, chronic cough is also accompanied by chest pain.

2. Fever:

Although fever or sudden rise of body temperature can be attributed to several other medical conditions, it is also known to be one of tuberculosis symptoms. In most of the cases, fever is also followed by shivering.

3. Continuous Feeling of Unwell:

During tuberculosis infection, the patient feels unwell most of the time. There is a feeling of uneasiness that lingers all the time that persists even after taking adequate rest.

4. Rapid Weight Loss:

There is a rapid and an unexplained weight loss in the case of TB infection in the body. In fact, it is one of the first few symptoms that gives you a feel that something is wrong with the regular body functions. However, the loss of weight will depend on the extremity of the infection and the stage of TB the person is in.

5. Loss/Decreased Appetite:

There is either a complete loss of appetite or else a significant decrease in the hunger pangs when it comes to TB signs and symptoms. This is yet again, one of the sure shot symptoms that is directly associated with the occurrence of the problem. Appetite loss may also weaken the immune system and lead to degradation of health. However, loss or decreased appetite is a symptom for a lot of health conditions so make sure you check it in combination with others mentioned here to detect TB.

6. Abdominal Pain And Diarrhoea:

When tuberculosis affects the abdominal region it may cause pain, diarrhoea or even bleeding from the rectum or anus.

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7. Shortness Of Breath:

There are breathing issues and shortness of breath when it comes to tuberculosis. There is no doubt that people even have extreme breathing and respiratory problems in such a case. However, again the level of this problem will depend on the stage of the tuberculosis.

8. Chills And Night Sweats:

Chills and shivers throughout the day and excessive night sweat are some of the other signs that you can very well connect to the problem of tuberculosis. It is one of the discomforting problems that is worth mentioning here so that you are prepared.

9. Fever:

High body temperature is a common symptom that easily occurs as a sign of tuberculosis. Fever is undoubtedly something that stays till the time the TB is completely treated even if the temperature goes up and down all the time.

10. Fatigue And Tiredness:

A constant level of tiredness and fatigue is felt in the body in the situation of TB infection.

These are some of the common TB symptoms but it may also vary from person to person, depending on the body type. Most of the symptoms of tuberculosis could also be indicative of some other ailments like pneumonia or bronchitis. However it is important to consult a doctor if you find any of these symptoms familiar. Also if you have frequent interaction with a person suffering from active tuberculosis, confront your doctor and ask for regular screening.

Without treatment, tuberculosis can even turn to be fatal. If left untreated, the disease can spread to the lungs and spread throughout the body, by the medium of your bloodstream. During the later stages of tuberculosis it can lead to other complications like:

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• Heart Disorders:

Although rarely, tuberculosis may also infect the tissues surrounding the lungs. This leads to fluid collection and inflammation that hampers the normal functioning of the heart. This condition is medically referred as ‘tamponade’ and can even be fatal.

• Kidney or Liver Problems:

The function of kidney or liver is to remove impurities and waste from the body. However if these organs are affected by tuberculosis infection, they fail to retain their normal functioning.

• Spinal Pain:

Stiffness and back pain are also the two common complications arising from tuberculosis infection.

• Swelling In The Brain:

When tuberculosis infection affects the brain, it causes swelling in the membranes that line your brain. This medical condition is known as ‘meningitis’ and causes severe headache that lasts for more than few weeks. During this time changes in the mental condition may also happen.

• Joint Damage:

Tuberculosis arthritis is a disease that adversely affects the knees and hips.