Tuberculosis (TB) - Symptoms, Types, Causes & Diagnosis

Tuberculosis (TB) - Symptoms, Types, Causes & Diagnosis

Tuberculosis is an extremely harmful disease that primarily affects the lungs (TB). A particular sort of bacteria is the germs that cause tuberculosis. When a person with tuberculosis starts to cough, sneeze, or sing, the...

Tuberculosis is an extremely harmful disease that primarily affects the lungs (TB). A particular sort of bacteria is the germs that cause tuberculosis. When a person with tuberculosis starts to cough, sneeze, or sing, the disease can spread. Little droplets containing the germs may enter the air as a result. When someone else can breathe in the droplets, the bacteria then go to their lungs. Anywhere people congregate or where people live in crowded settings, tuberculosis can spread quickly.

The risk of contracting tuberculosis is higher in those with HIV/AIDS and other immune system disorders than in healthy individuals. Antibiotic medications are used to treat TB. Yet, certain strains of the bacteria are no longer susceptible to cures.


Mycobacterium Tuberculosis

is a type of bacteria that causes tuberculosis (TB). When a person with active TB disease in their lungs starts to cough or sneeze, TB bacteria-containing droplets that are ejected are inhaled by the other person. Although TB spreads as same as the flu or the common cold, it is not as contagious. To become infected oneself, you would need to come in contact with an infected individual for several hours at a time. For instance, TB infections typically spread inside households where family members reside. It would be extremely uncommon for you to contract the disease by sharing a seat with an infected person, like on a bus or train.

Not all TB patients are contagious. Latent or active TB Most healthy individuals have an immune system that can eliminate the TB-causing germs. But occasionally, the bacteria invade the body but do not produce any symptoms (latent TB), or the infection takes weeks, months, or even years to produce symptoms (active TB). After some years the original infection, up to 10% of patients with latent TB eventually acquire active TB. This typically occurs within the first year or two of the infection caused or when the immune system is compromised, such as when undergoing chemotherapy for cancer.

Who are Most in Danger?

Anybody can contract TB, although some of the groups are most at risk: who reside in, originate from, or have travelled through a nation or region having a high TB prevalence. Around 3 out of every 4 cases of tuberculosis (TB) in the UK are caused by people who were born abroad, who have been in close contact with an infected person for a long time, who live in crowded quarters, who have a disease like diabetes, who are receiving treatments like chemotherapy or biological agents, who are very young or very old, and who are in poor health or who have a medical condition that weakens their immune systems.


The location of the TB germs in the body affects the signs and symptoms of TB disease. The lungs are where TB germs typically grow (pulmonary TB). Lung TB illness may manifest as symptoms such severe cough that lasts for three weeks or longer and causes chest pain, blood or sputum coughing (phlegm from deep inside the lungs)Additional signs of the TB condition include-weakness or exhaustion-losing weight but not eating-chills fever-evening perspiration. The location of the infection determines the symptoms of TB disease in different body areas. Latently infected TB patients have no symptoms, no illness, and cannot transmit TB to others.


The spread of M. tuberculosis aerosols starts the TB infection cycle. One to ten bacilli are released into the air at a time, increasing the likelihood of transmission. Alveolar macrophage cells in the patient's lung phagocytize the bacteria before attacking and obliterating the underlying epithelium. While the immune system works to eradicate the illness, monocytes from surrounding blood arteries develop the first stages of a granuloma in this area.

This stands out as a distinctive feature of tuberculosis. Inside the granuloma, lymphocytes, mononuclear phagocytes, and foamy macrophages encircle an infected macrophage core. As a result, a fibrous capsule with more foamy macrophages forms, which is thought to be the usual caseous debris (necrotic tissue that resembles cheese) in the granuloma's centre. The caseous centre tends to liquefy and cavitate as it releases many M. tuberculosis bacilli into the airway, despite immunologically appearing to be contained.

When the injured lungs release a cough that formerly contained the extremely contagious infectious droplet nuclei, the cycle is over. macrophages may be carried with the help of lymphatic system to the lungs, lymph nodes, kidneys, epiphyses of the long bones, and other areas of the body. Infected macrophages can also be carried in the blood of an immunocompromised host (eg, AIDS patient). After three to eight weeks, despite widespread infection, there are no immediate symptoms and signs other than the positive TB skin test (TST). In children, the elderly, non-white races, and AIDS patients, the disease progresses quick enough to pneumonia from hilar or mediastinal lymph nodes to cavitation in the bronchi.

It is here that the distribution of caseous material occurs, such as in acute miliary TB (disseminated disease) or TB meningitis, especially in children. Patients infected at ages over 30 years and less than 65 years have a better prognosis as compared to children, adolescents, young adults, and the elderly because they have a lower risk of tissue necrosis. In general, hypersensitivity develops between the three-to-eight week period after infection, signaling the action of cellular immunity and control of the infection. A skin test reaction will now be positive, indicating the presence of a latent infection. However, as previously stated, in high risk groups, progression of the disease to cavitation in the lung and hematogenous dissemination are oftenly to occur.

The release of M. tuberculosis aerosols starts the TB infection cycle. Given that one to ten bacilli is present in the air, there is a high risk of transmission. Prior to invading the underlying epithelium, alveolar macrophage cells in the patient's lung phagocytize the bacteria. As the immune system works to fend off the illness, monocytes from nearby blood vessels form the first stages of a granuloma in this location. This is a defining feature of TB. Foamy macrophages, mononuclear phagocytes, and lymphocytes surround an infected macrophage core within the granuloma. The outcome is a fibrous capsule with more foamy macrophages, which is thought to produce the typical caseous debris (necrotic tissue that looks like cheese) in the granuloma's centre. Despite appearing to be enclosed


Your doctor will do an examination that includes the following to determine whether you have tuberculosis (TB): Using a stethoscope to hear your breaths. Consulting for enlarged lymph nodes.-questioning you about your symptoms Pulmonary TBIt can be challenging to diagnose pulmonary TB, or TB that affects the lungs, and numerous tests are frequently required. To look for TB-related changes in the way your lungs look, a chest X-ray may be performed on you. Phlegm samples are frequently taken and examined for the presence of TB germs.

These tests are crucial in identifying the optimal course of treatment. They are both required and significant. Extrapulmonary TBA long, thin, flexible tube with a light and camera at one end that is used to examine the inside of your body while conducting an endoscopy. In order to evaluate different parts of your body as necessary, urine and blood tests are utilised. The endoscope can be placed either by a small cut made in your skin (laparoscopy) or through a natural hole like your mouth.

TB bacteria are detected with a biopsy, which involves removing a small sample of tissue or fluid from the afflicted area. Additionally, a lumbar puncture might be done on you. Interferon gamma release assay (IGRA)An asending order used blood test for TB is the test for interferon gamma release (IGRA). With the aid of the IGRA, latent TB may be detected:

If you have a positive Mantoux test - if you've previously received the BCG vaccine, as part of your TB If you recently immigrated to the UK from a country where tuberculosis is prevalent, screening may be performed as part of a health checkup when you register with a GP. A healthcare worker who is about to receive treatment that will suppress his immune system.Some common tests : Skin test: Blood tests: Sputum tests: Breath tests: Urine test: Test of cerebrospinal fluid: X-RAY–The uneven lung patches that are indicative of active TB disease can be seen on a chest X-ray.


BCG Vacunation

The BCG (Bacille Calmette-Guérin) is a live tuberculosis vaccine (medicine that can be injected). Mycobacterium bovis, a weakened strain of the bacillus that causes bovine tuberculosis, is used to make the vaccine. Since 1921, the BCG has been the only TB vaccination that has received official approval.

It is one of the most commonly used vaccines worldwide, yet we still see around 9 million new cases of TB annually – a testament to the BCG’s limited effectiveness. Masks must be used by the patient with tuberculosis to prevent it by the droplets from mouth while coughing and sneezing.

The BCG is 80% effective for 15 years at preventing TB; it is more successful in preventing complex types of TB in youngsters; it has limited efficacy in people over 35; and When given in equatorial areas, it is less effective (due to high levels of naturally occurring environmental mycobacteria).


Your doctor may start pharmacological therapy if you have a latent TB infection. Those who have HIV/AIDS or other conditions that raise their chance of developing active TB disease should be especially aware of this. Most latent TB infections require three to four months of treatment. Four, six, or nine months of treatment are possible for active TB illness. Which medications are most suitable for you will be decided by TB treatment experts.

You will visit the doctor on a frequent basis to check on your progress and look out for any negative effects. Take all the medications. Every dose must be taken exactly as prescribed. You must also finish the entire course of treatment. To eliminate the bacteria already present in your body and stop the emergence of new, drug-resistant bacteria, do this.

One program used by your public health department is called as directly observed therapy (DOT). With DOT, a healthcare professional comes to your house to observe you as you take your medication. You can take your medications on your own with certain programs offered by healthcare organisations.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention provides downloadable forms so you can keep track of your daily dosages. most popular TB treatments. You may only need to take one or two different types of medications if you have a latent TB infection. Several medications are needed to treat active TB illness. The following are typical drugs that are used to treat tuberculosis:-

  • Isoniazid.-Rifampin
  • (Rimactane).-Rifabuti
  • (Mycobutin).-Rifapentine
  • (Priftin).-Pyrazinamide.-Ethambutol
  • (Myambutol).

If you have drug-resistant tuberculosis or further illness-related consequences, you might be given different medications. Side effects of medication using TB medications typically have no negative side effects. Your healthcare professional could advise you to discontinue taking a medication if you have severe side effects. A medication's dosage may need to be controlled and adjusted. If you suffer any of the following, consult a medical professional:-

  • Upset stomach
  • Vomiting
  • Loss of appetite.-Severe diarrhea
  • Light-colored stool
  • Sadness or depression
  • Rashes
  • Joint pain 
  • Dark urine
  • Yellowish skin or eye color
  • Changes in vision
  • Dizziness or trouble with balance
  • Tingling in hands or feet
  • Easy bruising or bleeding
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Unexplained tiredness

It is crucial that you identify all prescription medications, over-the-counter medications, and herbal therapies you use. When receiving therapy, you might need to stop taking some of these.


It has been discovered by researchers that those who successfully treated and overcame active tuberculosis sickness may live 3–4 years less than those who have a latent infection. To prevent a latent TB infection from turning into an active tuberculosis disease, doctors advise treating it as soon as it is identified.

Recurrent TB can occur even after the initial infection has been successfully treated, either because the original strain reactivates or because the patient becomes infected again. Due to risk factors such as medication resistance, HIV infection, smoking, lung illness, and drug addiction, among others, the chance of developing recurrent TB is higher in places where the disease is endemic (high prevalence).