Decoding Tuberculosis: Unravelling Causes, Symptoms & Risk Factors

Tuberculosis, or TB, is a disease that affects millions of individuals around the world each year. Although the number has decreased dramatically, its presence and impact continue to be a concern. Although the number has decreased, its presence and impact continue to be a concern. To address this, we must stay aware of the causes, symptoms and risk factors linked to TB so that we can detect it early, chart the right course of action and even prepare ourselves with preventive measures.

This blog entails everything you need to know about the complexities of TB, a deep dive into the causes and symptoms, and also sheds light on the factors that make you susceptible to this infectious disease.

What Causes Tuberculosis?

TB is an airborne disease mainly affecting the lungs. It is caused by germs from the Mycobacterium tuberculosis complex, particularly Mycobacterium tuberculosis. These airborne viruses spread through respiratory droplets when an infected person coughs, sneezes or speaks.

Once inhaled, these germs infiltrate and infect the lungs, resulting in active tuberculosis. One should note that TB can remain inactive in the body for years, causing latent tuberculosis infection (LTBI). Such cases can even progress to active TB later.

Identify at the Right Time: Know the Symptoms of Tuberculosis

The symptoms of tuberculosis differ depending on whether the infection is active or dormant. Symptoms typically associated with active tuberculosis include:

  1. Cough lasting three weeks or longer
  2. Chest pain/discomfort
  3. Blood/sputum in cough
  4. Fatigue & weakness
  5. Fever, chills & night sweats
  6. Loss of appetite and weight loss
  7. Shortness of breath & difficulty breathing

Meanwhile, latent tuberculosis infection (LTBI) hardly causes symptoms, because the bacteria are inactiveImageand hence, not multiplying actively. However, individuals with LTBI are at risk of developing active TB in the future if the bacteria is reactivated.

Risk Factors for Tuberculosis

Many factors play a crucial role in increasing the risk of developing tuberculosis, some of them include:

  1. Weak Immune System: People with weakened immune systems, such as those with HIV/AIDS, receiving chemotherapy, or using immunosuppressive medicines, are more likely to get active tuberculosis.
  1. Close Contact with an Infected Individual: Frequent contact with someone with active TB increases the chance of transmission.
  1. Living Conditions: Places with poorly ventilated environments and overcrowded places, such as jails, homeless shelters, and refugee camps, promote the spread of tuberculosis bacteria.
  1. People in Healthcare Services and patients: Healthcare professionals and individuals receiving healthcare services in TB treatment facilities may be exposed to TB bacteria.
  1. Substance Addiction: Alcohol and drug addiction can hamper the immune system, making it more vulnerable to tuberculosis infection.
  1. Malnutrition: Insufficient nutrition can weaken the immune system's ability to combat tuberculosis infection.
  1. Age Factor: Infants, small children, and the elderly are more likely to have serious Tuberculosis.

Prevention & Treatment of Tuberculosis

Preventing tuberculosis requires a variety of strategies, which include:

  1. Vaccination: The Bacillus Calmette-Guérin (BCG) vaccination offers limited protection against tuberculosis, especially in youngsters.
  1. Screening and Testing: Early detection of tuberculosis (TB) through screening and testing of high-risk persons can assist prevent the disease from spreading and commence treatment on time.
  1. Treatment: Tuberculosis (TB) can be treated with a mixture of medications over several months. Treatment for latent tuberculosis infection (LTBI) can halt the progression of active tuberculosis disease.
  1. Infection Control Procedures: Infection control techniques, such as appropriate ventilation, respiratory hygiene, and the use of personal protective equipment, can help reduce tuberculosis transmission in healthcare facilities and communities.


To this day, TB poses a serious health concern around the world. A comprehensive prevention, detection and treatment plan is the need of the hour. The good news is, that understanding the causes, symptoms, and risk factors of Tuberculosis will allow you to make more informed decisions on reducing its impact, leading to a disease-free future. Early detection and treatment are critical to preventing Tuberculosis. Therefore, it is advisable to get tested upon consulting with your diagnosis experts.

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