Tuberculosis - Signs and symptoms, Risk factors & Treatment

31 Dec 2022- Posted by Admin

Tuberculosis - Signs and symptoms, Risk factors & Treatment


Tuberculosis (TB) is caused by a bacterium called Mycobacterium tuberculosis. The bacteria usually attack the lungs, but TB bacteria can attack any part of the body such as the kidney, spine, and brain. Not everyone infected with TB bacteria becomes sick. As a result, two TB-related conditions exist latent TB infection (LTBI) and TB disease. If not treated properly, TB disease can be fatal.

Signs and symptoms

  • Coughing for three or more weeks
  • Coughing up blood or mucus
  • Chest pain, or pain with breathing or coughing
  • Unintentional weight loss
  • Fatigue
  • Fever
  • Night sweats
  • Chills
  • Loss of appetite

Tuberculosis can also affect other parts of your body, including the kidneys, spine or brain. When TB occurs outside your lungs, signs and symptoms vary according to the organs involved. For example, tuberculosis of the spine might cause back pain, and tuberculosis in your kidneys might cause blood in your urine.

Risk factors

  • Poverty People living in poverty often lack access to quality healthcare.
  • HIV Infection Because HIV attacks the immune system, it puts people at greater risk of getting sick from other bacteria and viruses.
  • Homelessness People who are homeless often live in crowded conditions with little or no access to healthcare.
  • Substance Abuse Intravenous (IV) drug use and alcoholism weaken the immune system.
  • Taking Medication That Weakens the Immune System Autoimmune disorders, like rheumatoid arthritis, psoriasis, and Crohn's disease, causes the body’s immune system to attack itself.
  • Kidney Disease and Diabetes Chronic conditions, like kidney disease and diabetes, weaken your immune system.
  • Organ Transplants The drugs people take to prevent the rejection of an organ transplant can weaken the immune system.
  • Working in Healthcare Doctors, nurses, and other healthcare workers get exposed to lots of patients regularly.
  • Cancer Chemotherapy weakens the immune system.
  • Smoking Tobacco Smoking can increase your risk of getting TB.


TB infection and disease are treated with these drugs:

  • Isoniazid
  • Rifampin
  • Ethambutol
  • Pyrazinamide
  • Rifapentine

You must take all of the medication your provider prescribes, or not all of the bacteria will be killed. You will have to take these medications for as long as you're told — sometimes up to nine months.

Complications of treatment

Some people have side effects from the drugs used to treat TB that may include: 

  1. Skin rashes and other reactions.
  2. Nausea and stomach upset.
  3. Itchy skin.
  4. Yellow skin or eyes (jaundice).
  5. Dark urine.