Tuberculosis Primer – Symptoms and Types of TB?

Tuberculosis(TB) is a bacterial disease usually caused by an organism known as Mycobacterium tuberculosis that mostly affects the lungs. Moreover, it is an infectious disease that spreads from person to person through airborne droplets from coughs and sneezes. Moreover, if not treated properly, TB can be fatal.

Symptoms of TB

Active TB usually has the following signs and symptoms:

  • A bad cough that continues for three weeks or more
  • Pain in the chest when breathing or coughing
  • Coughing up blood or sputum
  • Weakness or fatigue
  • Weight loss, that cannot be explained
  • No appetite
  • Chills and fever
  • Sweating at night

The tuberculosis infection may be Active or Latent.

Active TB

In active TB, the disease rapidly multiplies and spreads to different organs of the body. It actively produces symptoms, and can quickly spread to others. Multi-drug treatment is used to treat active TB. Moreover, if you are diagnosed with an active TB, you need to give a detailed history of each person with whom you have had contact. As active TB is transmissible, these people will need testing. Furthermore, according to the WHO, about 10% of infected people develop active TB.

Latent TB

In latent TB, the person is infected with the Mycobacterium TB bacteria. The bacteria remain inactive in the body, and the person does not feel sick and develops no symptoms. Moreover, the chest x-ray and sputum test appears to be normal. Furthermore, the only sign of TB infection is a positive reaction to the tuberculin skin test or TB blood test.

Furthermore, there is an always a risk that the latent infection may turn into an active disease. This risk is increased by other illnesses such as HIV or medications which compromise the immune system. Furthermore, Latent TB is not contagious. Moreover, among the 2.2 billion people who carry the bacteria, most have latent TB.

Moreover, depending on the site of infection, TB may be Pulmonary or Extrapulmonary.

Pulmonary TB

If a TB infection does become active, it most commonly infects the lungs (in about 90% of cases), and is known as Pulmonary Tuberculosis. However, it can spread from lungs to other organs. The symptoms of Pulmonary Tuberculosis are as stated above. Moreover, it is treatable with an early diagnosis and antibiotic treatment. Furthermore, if left untreated, it can cause serious complications such as permanent lung damage. Types of Pulmonary TB are:

  • Primary Tuberculosis Pneumonia
  • Tuberculosis Pleurisy
  • Cavitary TB
  • Miliary TB
  • Laryngeal TB

Extrapulmonary TB

In some active cases, the infection may spread outside the lungs, affecting other organs, causing other kinds of TB. These are collectively called as Extrapulmonary TB. Moreover, the general symptoms of Extrapulmonary TB are the same as for Pulmonary TB, but there can also be specific symptoms depending on the particular site or sites in the body that are infected. Types of Extrapulmonary TB are:

  • Lymph Node Disease
  • Tuberculosis Peritonitis
  • Tuberculosis Pericarditis
  • Osteal Tuberculosis
  • Renal Tuberculosis
  • Adrenal Tuberculosis
  • Tuberculosis Meningitis

India is the country with the highest number of TB cases. It is estimated that about 40% of the Indian population is infected with TB bacteria, the vast majority of whom have latent TB. Furthermore, each year about 2.2 million people develop active TB in India and an estimated 220,000 die from the disease.