World TB Day: Check out Important Facts About TB Symptoms and Treatment

Bajaj Finserv Health
March 23rd, 2022
9 mins read

Key Takeaways

  • World TB Day is observed on March 24 every year to create awareness
  • Tuberculosis disease symptoms include chest pain and persistent coughing
  • Learn about what causes tb in humans, and its prevention and cure

World TB Day is an initiative started by the World Health Organization to create awareness of tuberculosis disease. Even though this disease kills many people every year, TB is a curable disease. It is important to be aware of this disease as tuberculosis bacteria can reside in your body undetected. March 24 was chosen as World TB Day as Dr. Robert Koch discovered the bacterium causing this disease, Mycobacterium tuberculosis on this day [1]. To understand how deadly is tuberculosis and to learn about TB symptoms and treatment, read on.

Why is it important to celebrate World Tuberculosis Day? 

  • It is an astonishing fact that TB is the second infectious disease after COVID-19 [2]. Just like how kidney disease & COVID-19 are linked, so is coinfection of COVID-19 and TB. 
  • Since TB is not given much importance, proper awareness about it can help individuals with high risk to seek proper treatment.  
  • With proper vaccination, this disease can be eradicated.

What is tuberculosis? 

Tuberculosis is an infectious disease that affects the lungs, but may also affect the kidneys, spine, and brain. TB bacterium spreads from one individual to other through droplets in the air. Being infected with the bacteria is not the same as having an active tuberculosis disease as there are various factors to be taken into consideration. The 3 different stages of TB that you should know on world TB day [3]: 

  • Exposure to the bacterium 
  • Existence of the bacterium inside body, but symptoms are not noticeable 
  • Active TB disease

Additional Read: Know All About Symptoms of Tuberculosis, Its Causes, and Treatment

World TB Day

Is tuberculosis contagious? 

Now that you know what causes TB in humans, it is important to understand how it is contagious. Tuberculosis spreads when you have active TB disease. When you cough or sneeze, bacteria present in expelled droplets enters another individual, when it is inhaled. Although TB spreads exactly like a cold or flu, it is not as contagious like flu or cold.

What are the symptoms of tuberculosis? 

Sometimes, when the TB bacterium enters your body, you may not experience any symptoms. This condition is known as latent TB where the organism is there, but is not noticeable. TB can stay dormant for years in your body before becoming active TB disease. Active TB causes a lot of symptoms. While these symptoms primarily affect your respiratory system, they could affect other parts of the body, depending on where the TB bacteria reside.

Symptoms caused by active TB in the lungs include 

  • Cough lasting for 3 weeks or more 
  • Presence of blood in the cough or sputum 
  • Pain in chest

how to determine TB

General symptoms of TB are 

Symptoms of TB that spreads to other organs 

  • TB in kidney: blood in urine or in extreme cases loss of kidney function 
  • TB affecting spine: muscle spasms, backpain and stiffness 
  • TB damaging brain: confusion, nausea, vomiting or loss of consciousness

Is tuberculosis deadly? 

Though tuberculosis is one of the world’s deadliest diseases, remember that it is preventable and curable. Be regular with your health check-ups and keep a close watch on the symptoms.

World TB Day

How to know if you have TB? 

If doctors suspect TB, they may recommend TB skin test or TB blood test to reach a proper diagnosis. Take proper action and follow your doctor’s advice for faster recovery from the disease. Can you survive tuberculosis? Yes, there are good chances that you can survive TB with proper diagnostics and medications. However, if left untreated, TB can be fatal by first affecting your lungs and then spreading to other parts of your body.  

Additional Read: Tuberculosis Test: Important COVID-19 Treatment Guidelines by the Centre!

How can you treat tuberculosis disease? 

Most bacterial infections improve after treatment with antibiotics, but TB is a little different. If you are diagnosed with active TB, you may have to take a combination of medications for 6 to 9 months. If you don’t complete the full treatment course, it’s likely that the infection may reoccur. Taking medications for 6 months is the best way to ensure TB bacteria is killed, but again it varies from person to person. It becomes difficult to treat if TB reoccurs as you may develop resistance against the medicine. 

If you have active TB, it is contagious and can be dangerous if you do not get timely treatment. Most cases of TB can be treated, if diagnosed at an early stage. If you observe any unusual symptoms, do consult a doctor without delay. Find pulmonologists with ease on Bajaj Finserv Health and get guidance about tuberculosis, and how to take preventive measures. Book your online doctor consultation from your city, in the comfort of your home, and do your part to minimize the impact of this infectious disease. 

World TB Day: Check out Important Facts About TB Symptoms and Treatment-banner

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