Tuberculosis, MTB, or TB (short for tubercle bacillus), in the past also called phthisis, phthisis pulmonalis, or consumption, is a widespread, infectious disease caused by various strains of mycobacteria, usually Mycobacterium tuberculosis. Tuberculosis typically attacks the lungs, but can also affect other parts of the body. It is spread through the air when people who have an active TB infection cough, sneeze, or otherwise transmit respiratory fluids through the air. This condition makes you sick and can spread to others. It can occur in the first few weeks after infection with the TB bacteria, or it might occur years later.

Most infections do not have symptoms, known as latent tuberculosis. About one in ten latent infections eventually progresses to active disease which, if left untreated, kills more than 50% of those so infected. This condition makes you sick and can spread to others. It can occur in the first few weeks after infection with the TB bacteria, or it might occur years later. Tuberculosis can also affect other parts of your body, including your 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 may give you back pain, and tuberculosis in your kidneys might cause blood in your urine.

You may not notice any symptoms of illness until the disease is quite advanced. Even then the symptoms such as loss of weight, loss of energy, poor appetite, fever, a productive cough, and night sweats might easily be blamed on another disease. So if have these symptoms frequently visit specialist for tuberculosis.

If a tuberculosis infection does become active, it most commonly involves the lungs (in about 90% of cases). Symptoms may include chest pain and a prolonged cough producing sputum. About 25% of people may not have any symptoms. Tuberculosis is closely linked to both overcrowding and malnutrition, making it one of the principal diseases of poverty. Those at high risk thus include: people who inject illicit drugs, inhabitants and employees of locales where vulnerable people gather (e.g. prisons and homeless shelters), medically underprivileged and resource-poor communities, high-risk ethnic minorities, children in close contact with high-risk category patients, and health-care providers serving these patients. Chronic lung disease is another significant risk factor. Silicosis increases the risk about 30-fold. Those who smoke cigarettes have nearly twice the risk of TB compared to nonsmokers.Certain medications, such as corticosteroids and infliximab, are becoming increasingly important risk factors, especially in the developed world. Also alcoholism and diabetes mellitus increases the risks

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