Although your body is already in possession of the bacteria leading to tuberculosis, your immune system is able to prevent you from becoming sick. Doctors have made a distinction between latent and active tuberculosis (TB). In case of latent TB, the bacteria in the body in a passive state and it causes no symptoms, and therefore it is not contagious. But, in the case of active TB, you would become sick and may even spread the disease to others. It can take place in the first few weeks or even after several months of being infected with TB bacteria.
What are the symptoms of active TB?
If you are coughing for over three weeks and sometimes even coughing up blood, it can be a sign of TB. Chest pain and pain while coughing and breathing along with fatigue, fever, chills and night sweat are the common symptoms of TB along with loss of appetite and unintentional weight loss. TB may even affect other organs of your body, including your brain, spine and kidneys. When TB takes place outside the lungs, then the signs of TB can vary as per the organs that are involved. For instance, TB in the spine can cause back pain and that in kidneys may cause blood in the urine.
What are the causes of TB?
TB is stemmed from a bacteria which spreads from individual to individual via the microscopic droplets that are released into the air. This may happen when an affected person is left untreated and he speaks or sneezes or coughs or laughs. Though the disease is contagious, it is not easy to be affected by it. As a result, you are much more likely to get affected with active tuberculosis from a person you live with or come in regular contact with, rather than a stranger. It is important to note here that people who are affected with TB and going through proper medications for over two weeks are no more contagious.
Right from the 1980s, the number of individuals affected with TB has increased dramatically, owing to the spread of HIV, which is the virus known for causing AIDS. A person infected with HIV has a weak immunity system as a result of which it becomes difficult for the body to deal with TB bacteria. So those who have AIDS are more likely to be affected with active TB and sometimes the latent form also progresses to an active one very quickly. Therefore, it is important to seek medical assistance and detect if you have any such health complications concerning TB.