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Tuberculosis - Symptom, Treatment And Causes

What is Tuberculosis?

Tuberculosis is a disease that dates as back as the Ancient Egyptian civilization of the Pharaohs. For its presence has been found in the preserved spines of the ancient Egyptian mummies.During the 18th and 19th century, an epidemic of this fearsome disease rampaged throughout North America and Europe, before Robert Koch the German microbiologist discovered the cause of tuberculosis in 1882.Following Robert Koch’s discovery, vaccine and effective drug treatment that was developed, led to the belief that this illness has been almost defeated. At a point of time, even the United Nations, suggested that TB (Tuberculosis) would get eliminated by 2025.

Nevertheless, the counts of the patients suffering from this disease started to rise in the US and worldwide in the mid-80s. In 1993 the WHO (World Health Organization) declared Tuberculosis as a global emergency.Although with proper diet and medications this disease is curable, but without proper treatment experts say that two third of the people suffering from TB will die.

There are two types of Tuberculosis:

  • Latent TB
  • Active TB

In the latent TB cases, the TB bacteria remain in a dormant mode in the body. It doesn’t cause any symptoms of the disease and so is not contagious. However, the latent TB bacteria can become active any point of time. About one third of the world population is believed to have latent TB. Although there is only 10% chance that latent TB will get active, but people who have compromised immune system, have higher risks of triggering this latent disease. In active TB, the disease causing bacteria shows symptoms of TB and this illness is contagious.

Causes and Symptoms :

TB is caused by Mycobacterium tuberculosis bacterium. This disease spreads through the air, when someone suffering from this disease sneezes, coughs, laughs, talks or spit. Although TB is contagious, but it is not easy to catch. However, the chances of getting infected with this disease is more from someone you work or live, rather than from a stranger. With people suffering from active TB, it take not more than two weeks to be non-contagious, if they are provided proper medications.

In most of the cases the common diagnostic test for detecting this disease is a skin test whereby a small injection of PPD tuberculin (which is an extract of the TB bacterium) is given below the inside forearm of the patient. The injection site is then checked after 2-3 days. If the site of the injection shows signs of red bump, gets swollen and hard, then it’s likely that the patient is suffering from TB. Apart from that, other tests which are also used for diagnosis of this disease are blood tests, x-ray of the patient’s chest, which are done along with the above mentioned skin test.

Treatable by medical professional Require medical diagnosis Lab test always required Short-term: resolves within days to weeks Spread through the air or contaminated surfaces
Feeling chilly and having fever. Coughing, which sometimes spurts out mucous and blood. Loss of appetite leading to weight loss. Night sweats and loss of energy during the morning hours of the day.

Popular Health Tips

How HIV & TB Are Related?

MBBS, MD - Dermatology
HIV Specialist, Mumbai
How HIV & TB  Are Related?

Tuberculosis is an opportunistic infection caused by the bacteria Mycobacterium tuberculosis. The infections occurring in people with weak immunity as compared to the people with a healthy immune system are called as opportunistic infections. As, HIV enters the human body, it replicates and weakens the immune system which in turn increases the risk of contracting Tuberculosis in people already suffering from HIV infection.

An HIV and Tuberculosis co-infection occurs when an individual has both, the HIV infection and an either latent or active TB disease simultaneously.  Each disease acts in speeding up the progress of the other, when HIV and TB infection is present together in the body. HIV infection speeds up the progression from latent to active Tuberculosis, Mycobacterium tuberculosis also accelerates the progression of replication and spread of the HIV infection.

HIV infection and Tuberculosis are totally different type of infectious diseases. HIV is a viral infection and TB is a bacterial one. An HIV infected person will not contract TB unless a contact happens with a TB infected person. TB spreads via droplet infection and is communicable. If a person lives in a country with a high prevalence rate of TB, an HIV patient is highly susceptible to contracting the infection. In the similar manner, a person suffering from TB gets infected with the HIV infection only through the blood and bodily fluids borne route, with unprotected sexual intercourse with an HIV infected individual being the most important cause.

Amongst all the other opportunistic infections, TB occurs at an earlier stage in the course of an HIV infection than most other opportunistic infections. Mortality rate in the co-infected patients is more than twice that of HIV infected individuals without a TB infection. Even if a patient is undergoing anti-retroviral therapy, the death rates remain high in co-infected individuals.The natural history and course of TB gets altered in people with an infected immune system. The damage to immunity due to HIV infection causes a drastic reduction in the pathogen killing capacity of the body. In such patients if there is no anti-retroviral treatment prescribed, then the latency period between the infection and progression of disease gets eliminated.

An active phase of TB is observed in such individuals progressing within a short span of time, ranging from weeks to months, rather than years as it normally should be spanning. Risk of progression from a latent stage to an active stage of TB is around 10-15 times greater in an HIV infected individual as compared to the non-infected person. Such individuals also communicate the disease more rapidly to others.Pulmonary tuberculosis in an HIV infected person can present similar symptoms like that of a classic TB disease. However, a co-infection can sometimes show less presenting TB symptoms, where even the chest X-ray scans can be observed to be normal. A ‘subclinical’ phase of Tb in co-infected patients can cause delay in the diagnosis of the symptoms and subsequently affect the prognosis due to lack of timely treatment.

Social stigma and discrimination has caused an obstacle in provision of adequate treatment for people with HIV. Proper counseling  and initiatives taken to provide indiscriminate care can aid in identification of co-infection and earlier stages. Anti-retroviral treatment teamed up with anti-tubercular drug regimen is prescribed and a successful treatment for drug sensitive cases of TB can be provided with medications for 6-8 months.

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Pulmonary Function Tests - Types And Reasons To Undergo Them!

MBBS, MD - Respiratory Medicine , Trained In Treating Sleep Disorder , Trained In Interventinal Bronchoscopy , Trained In Medical Thoracoscopy , Trained In Rigid Bronchoscopy
Pulmonologist, Delhi
Pulmonary Function Tests - Types And Reasons To Undergo Them!

Lung function is a major indicator of health since it determines the amount of Oxygen that a body is getting. Doctors resort to Pulmonary Function Tests if there is a problem with breathing or the lungs. Pulmonary tests show how the lungs are functioning. These tests measure parameters like lung capacity, lung volume, gas exchange, rate of flow, etc.

Armed with information from these tests, a doctor can decide whether a person has some issues with lungs or not. And if there’s some issue, doctor will be able to easily decide the line of treatment for accelerated recovery.

Type Of Pulmonary Function Tests

There are two common types of Pulmonary Function Tests: Spirometry and Plethysmography

Spirometry Test

● This test measures how much air a person can inhale and exhale, as well as how fast one can empty the lungs.
● It may also be done to monitor the lung condition periodically to measure the outcome of a treatment a person may be undergoing.
● In this test, a person needs to breathe into a tube. The tube is attached to a Spirometer.
● Before the test, nostrils will be closed with a clip. The person will also need to create a seal around the tube, so that there is no leakage of air.
● Patient will be asked to take a deep breath and then breathe out as hard as possible through the tube.
● The doctor may ask the person to repeat the effort three times so that he gets consistent result.

Plethysmography Test

● This measures how much air is actually in the lungs after a deep inhalation.
● During the test, one needs to sit in a plastic box, wear a clip on the nostrils, wrap lips around a special mouthpiece and breathe in and out through it.

Why To Undergo Pulmonary Function Tests

Doctors may conduct Pulmonary Function Tests even on healthy people. If a person works in certain hazardous environments like graphite factory, coal mine, etc., the employer may order such tests on a regular basis. People working in such places are at risk of developing Pulmonary problems.

However, the most common condition when a doctor may advise a PFT is when someone faces health problems like:

● Respiratory infections
● Allergies
● Breathing problem after injury
● Chronic lung problems like Bronchiectasis, Asthma, Chronic Bronchitis, Emphysema, etc.
Tumors in the lungs or scarring or inflammation of the lungs

Diseases That May Precipitate The Need For A PFT

Sarcoidosis, a disease characterised by the formation of lumps of inflammatory cells around the lungs, spleen, eyes, skin, etc.
Asbestosis, a disease that results from inhalation of Asbestos particles.
Scleroderma, which causes thickening of connective tissues.

One of the Pulmonary Function Tests may be advised by a doctor for a variety of reasons. These tests do not always mean that Lungs have a problem. They are just a way to measure the parameters of working of the Lungs so that a Physician can treat a problem effectively if found.

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How A Right Diet Helps Recover From Pulmonary Tuberculosis?

MD - Pulmonary, DTCD
Pulmonologist, Faridabad
How A Right Diet Helps Recover From Pulmonary Tuberculosis?

Pulmonary tuberculosis was a fatal disease in the past in India. On an average, 95% of the deaths occur in third world countries, especially the developing ones, due to tuberculosis. In India, the deaths account to 50% out of the 95%. Such is the scenario that everyone is apprehensive if they have a prolonged cough and cold. As sputum with blood is a clear sign that the person is suffering from tuberculosis, steps must be taken promptly and at a swift pace to streamline things for quick care.

Tuberculosis is an air-borne disease and it can easily travel through the air when the affected person is in contact. In tuberculosis, specific bacteria called mycobacterium tuberculosis affects the lungs. On an average, 10% of such infections progress into acute disease and kill the affected individuals.

The symptoms of tuberculosis are seen more in patients suffering from AIDS as their immunity is often compromised. Early detection can be made possible through a chest X-Ray, microscopic examination, and the nature of the fluids. In case you are suffering from a prolonged cough and cold, you must go for tuberculin skin test or blood test to find out more about the problem.

Why is it important to eat a proper diet during pulmonary tuberculosis?
Malnutrition and pulmonary tuberculosis are interrelated. If you are eating right and inducting all healthy means in your daily lifestyle, it will build your immunity and help fight against grave diseases. When you have pulmonary tuberculosis, the desire or craving for the food will disappear and eventually, your body will wither off. You will lose mass by losing muscles.

So, eating healthily can only help you stay strong to defeat pulmonary tuberculosis. Those who are suffering from tuberculosis face challenges with nutrients in their body. They are deprived of essential micro-nutrients and they have severe deficiencies of zinc, Vitamin A, D, C & E, selenium, iron and copper.

A protein- and vitamin-rich diet can boost the immunity of the body and prevent deadly diseases from wreaking havoc in the body. So, if you are wondering about food, here are a few items that you can eat and few that you can avoid when you have pulmonary tuberculosis.

Food to eat

  • Kale and spinach are instant sources of high iron and Vitamin B, which will help you power-up your immune system.
  • Whole grains like wheat, bread and cereals are a must-have during this time-tested period.
  • Carrots, peppers, tomatoes, blueberries, and cherries are rich anti-oxidants and they can boost your immune system by flushing out the oxidants from the body, which are tantamount to poison.
  • Vegetable oil (not butter) could be a “green go” during pulmonary tuberculosis.

Food to avoid

  1. Greasy food like beef, chicken, and mutton must be avoided. They can increase the cholesterol level in the body and compromise on the power of immunity.
  2. Avoid margarine and butter. One should not eat cake, pastries, and other food with hydrogenated oil.
  3. Keep an eye on your regular diet, work to build a strong immunity, and always stay healthy.

In case you have a concern or query you can always consult an expert & get answers to your questions!

3179 people found this helpful

When To Consult A Lung Specialist For Your Child?

MD - Pulmonary, DTCD
Pulmonologist, Faridabad
When To Consult A Lung Specialist For Your Child?

Lung specialists are able to provide a thorough evaluation, diagnosis, and treatment of a number of breathing disorders in children. In addition to asthma, they can help in the management and treatment of conditions such as cystic fibrosis, upper airway obstruction recurrent pneumonia, chronic or a recurrent cough, wheezing and sleep disorders. These specialists even known as paediatric pulmonologists can also be consulted in cases breathing and lung diseases in children from birth till the age of 21 years.

When to see a specialist?
You should consider visiting a lung specialist if you observe any of the following signs in your child:

  • If your child had to be hospitalised for an asthma attack more than once
  • If the condition cannot be properly controlled or managed even after following the advice of the doctor.
  • If your child has had more than two courses of oral steroids for asthma in the past year.
  • If your child has been diagnosed with asthma and you want a second opinion.


  • If your child has a chronic cough, which lasts for more than four weeks, or a congestion that does not seem to respond to any form of medication.
  • If your child coughs for more than two nights a month or more than two days a week.
  • If your child starts coughing when exercising or running or performing any other strenuous activity.


  1. If you observe any changes in breathing or if your child seems to stop or pause while breathing when asleep or awake.
  2. If you notice frequent bouts of fast or laboured breathing.
  3. If your child is susceptible to viral or bacterial respiratory infections.
  4. If your child snores or has a disturbed sleep at night.
  5. If your child has raspy or rattling breathing.


  • If your child has been diagnosed with pneumonia more than once.
  • Children or young adults with breathing problems or asthma combined with conditions such as deformity of the chest wall or pectus excavatum and Sickle cell disease will require a consultation with a paediatric lung specialist.

A paediatric lung specialist has the qualifications, training, and experience required to best treat your child. They would require the parent or guardian of the child to fill in a comprehensive questionnaire so as to correctly diagnose, treat and manage the condition. These questions would also form the basis of the medical history of the child.

In order to disease, the specialists may perform tests such as pulmonary function testing and flexible fiberoptic bronchoscopy or FFB in a way that is best suited for your child. They will be able to interact and effectively answer any questions that the child would have.

In case you have a concern or query you can always consult an expert & get answers to your questions!


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Tuberculosis (TB) - When A Person Can Develop It?

Pulmonologist, Delhi
Tuberculosis (TB) - When A Person Can Develop It?

Tuberculosis or TB as it is commonly known in medical circles is a bacterial infection commonly affecting the lungs. While there are some countries in the world, where TB is more common, anybody can develop TB if they are not very healthy. The TB bacteria spreads through the air. While some people's immune system would be able to fight the disease back; some people who have risk factors, the disease may continue to develop and present with symptoms.

So, a person can develop TB in two circumstances:

  1. Exposure to TB
    • Visited a country where TB is very common
    • Spent time with a person who is infected with TB
    • Exposure to crowded places like a market or a healthcare facility where TB virus is present
  2. Weakened immune system
    • Be HIV infected
    • Weak immune system due to long-term use of steroids
    • Chronic diseases like diabetes, malnutrition, end-stage kidney or liver disease, cancer, etc.
    • Extremes of age (children whose immune system is not fully developed, elderly whose immunity is weakened)
    • Chronic smoker, IV drug abuse, and/or alcohol user
    • Repeatedly exposed to TB bacteria in the last two years
    • Had TB bacteria, but not identified or treated
    • Drug therapy like chemotherapy, long-term use of steroids, auto-immune disease treatments, etc.

Signs and symptoms of TB:

If you are at risk, it is also suggested that you know the early warning signs and symptoms of TB. TB most commonly affects the lungs and is known as pulmonary tuberculosis. Watching out for these helps in early diagnosis which can both help arrest the condition in the early stages and improve prognosis.

  1. A persistent cough which lasts for more than 3 weeks
  2. Pain in the chest worsened with coughing
  3. Presence of blood in the sputum
  4. Generalized and extreme weakness or fatigue
  5. Unexplained weight loss
  6. Loss of appetite
  7. Fever and chills
  8. Profuse sweating at night

If a person has TB bacteria in the system but does not feel sick and does not have the above systems, then it means that the person is not actively infected. This person also cannot spread the disease to another person. However, when immunity is weak, this can develop into an infection. In a country like India where tuberculosis is quite prevalent, it is best to get yourself screened for active tuberculosis infection if you display any such symptoms.

In case you have a concern or query you can always consult an expert & get answers to your questions!

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Popular Questions & Answers

Table of Content

What is Tuberculosis?

There are two types of Tuberculosis:

Causes and Symptoms :

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My name is Dr. Gurmeet Singh Chabbra, working as a senior consultant Pulmonologist at QRG Health City, Faridabad. Today I am going to talk about tuberculosis. Tuberculosis (TB) is caused by bacteria called mycobacterium tuberculosis. It can also be caused by non-mycobacterium tuberculosis. Usually, it affects the lungs but it might affect other organs also like bones, kidneys, heart, brain, spine etc. Tuberculosis kills about 4,80,000 people per year i.e. about 1400 people in a day. It is more common in people who have more sad of living. It is more common in smokers. 55% is attributed to malnutrition which is very high compared to HIV. In diabetics, the instincts are more common. Now how does it spread? Tuberculosis is spread by the one who is suffering from it, when he coughs, shouts, sneezes. The small droplets are exposed in the air. If someone inhales that droplets, it goes into the lungs. If controlled, it can be destroyed by the body. In some cases, it is just controlled and made dormant and it is called dormant TB or TB infection or latent tuberculosis. About 1/3 of the world's population is infected with the TB. The patients who have HIV, they have 24% of more chances of active TB. Latent tuberculosis if develops in active tuberculosis, is also called reactivation of TB. The patients who have latent tuberculosis, they will not spread TB. They will not look sick. Latent tuberculosis can be diagnosed by skin mantoux test or from blood test for TB. We also have to examine the patient by chest x-ray to see whether the patient has active tuberculosis or not. Now about symptoms of tuberculosis. A cough for more than 2 weeks can cough out blood in the sputum, chest pain, fever, lethargy, weight loss, night sweat, not feeling well or in particular if any organ is involved than the patient might have the symptoms of organ involvement. For example: If the patient has spine TB, he will have a backache. If the patient has TB of the kidney, he may have blood in urine. Or he may also have enlarged swelling in the neck if he has a lymph node. Now how is TB diagnosed? A patient is suffering from chest TB or pulmonary tuberculosis, we can examine sputum. We can send sputum test for CB-NATT test i.e. a DNA test for TB, also called geneexpert test or LPA. Another test like chest x-ray, ultrasound, CT scan will also help in diagnosis. 40% of the population of India has latent tuberculosis. The patients who are at the risk of TB, for example children, the age of less than 6, HIV positive patient, diabetics, they should get treated or examined for TB. The treatment for active TB involved in giving drugs. The patient who is suffering from TB they are treated by anti-tuberculated treatment with about 4 drugs to be given for 2-3 months and then about 3 drugs for 4-5 months. The patients who are suffering from MDR-TB, they require treatment for a longer time with more drugs. The key to success is that the treatment should not be interrupted. The drugs should be taken in proper doses and on time. In case, the patient develops any symptom or any side-effects, he should contact his doctor before stopping the drug. MDR-TB is about 6.19% cases of TB. And it is about 2.84% of new cases. And 11.6% of old cases. Thank You.
Play video
Hello friends,

I am Dr Nikhil Modi I am a consultant respiratory medicine in Indraprastha Apollo Hospital, Delhi. Today I will be talking about tuberculosis, as you know tuberculosis is one of the important diseases which we come across especially in a country like India. Tuberculosis what do we know about it, it is actually a disease which is caused by bacteria called microbacterium tuberculosis. It is a slow-growing bacteria hence symptoms of tuberculosis noted are very shuttle and slow to progress. How do we come to know that we have to get workout for tuberculosis? It is important to work upstart as early as possible because controlling the disease is possible if proper treatment is started. So what will be the symptoms which you will come across when you suffer from tuberculosis? Tuberculosis firstly can involve any part of the body, but most commonly it involves our lungs and the lining over the lungs, it is called as pulmonary tuberculosis. So the most common symptoms which we come across are cough which may be dry or sometimes we may have some sputum along with it, also one of the important features which is seen is presence of blood in sputum. So if anytime sputum is having blood you should get alarm and immediately consultant a specialist. Cough is usually caused by most of the allergic symptoms or other infections, so how do we differentiate, it is actually not easily differentiable from other cough but if your cough is persisting for more than 2 weeks then our work up of tuberculosis becomes important. So if you have a long-term cough you are Hemoptysis then always consult a specialist and go for the work up for tuberculosis. Secondly presence of low grade fever which may persist, if you are having weight loss, your appetite is reduce for a long time all this can be symptoms of tuberculosis. So in all these cases, a workup for tuberculosis becomes a must so at that point in time you need to consult a specialist. And it is easy to treat tuberculosis, if it is identified and drugs are good but the treatment is at least for a period of 6 months, which you have to take regularly otherwise tuberculosis may become resistant, the bacteria may become resistant and then it is difficult to treat it is called as MDR tuberculosis but now we have a treatment for that but the treatment may continue for two and a half years and it requires constant monitoring. There can be side effects from the drugs, but if you are in a proper supervision then that side effect can be minimised and the disease can we cured hundred percent. So any symptoms which may point out toward tuberculosis you should not ignore and consult a specialist as soon as possible. This is the basic crux about tuberculosis and I want to just say ki just be ready for it and it can be treated easily.

For any queries for my point of view if you want to ask you can visit me at Indraprastha Apollo Hospital, Delhi or you can contact me online on Lybrate platform.

Thank you.
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Briefing On Tuberculosis
Tuberculosis - Symptoms and treatment
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Tuberculosis During Pregnancy
Tuberculosis: Treatment and Management
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Tuberculosis or TB is an airborne disease that mainly affects the lungs and has the potential to be fatal. People with an impaired immune system such as newborn babies, pregnant women or women who have just delivered a baby, diabetics, cancer patients and HIV positive people are at the highest risk of suffering from this disease.
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