Tuberculosis (TB): Causes & Symptoms

by Meenakshi Nagdeve last updated -

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While you don’t hear about tuberculosis in the modern world nearly as much as we did in the past, there are still areas and countries where it is still a major problem. For example, there are more than 13 million active cases of tuberculosis around the world each year, which is a dangerously high number.

What is Tuberculosis?

Tuberculosis (TB), also called consumption, is a serious infectious bacterial disease that attacks the lungs. It can easily be transferred through sneezing, coughing, fluid exchange, or other means of germ spread, just like a common bacterial infection. The factors that can contribute to our likelihood of contracting TB include:

  • Weak immune system health
  • Overcrowding
  • Malnutrition
  • Vulnerability to other lung diseases
  • Previous/ongoing experience with an autoimmune disorder

While advances have come along in a major way towards treating and preventing the spread of this disease, many of those who need this help cannot access it, and when left untreated, it is roughly 50% lethal.

A 2D illustration of a human lung suffering from tuberculosis


Tuberculosis is caused by the Mycobacterium tuberculosis bacterium. It is highly contagious and can spread very easily when the affected person coughs, sneezes, spits, laughs, or speaks.


Here is how to recognize the signs of TB:

  • Fever
  • Night sweat
  • A persistent cough
  • Hemoptysis (coughing up blood)
  • Weight loss
  • Fatigue
  • Chest pain
  • Swollen lymph nodes
  • Pneumonitis (may be the only symptom in the elderly)

According to the CDC, TB can be cured by taking medications for 6 to 9 months. There are alternative home remedies that can help complement medical advice. Protection Status
About the Author

Meenakshi Nagdeve, Co-Founder, Organic Facts is a health and wellness enthusiast and is responsible for managing it. She has completed the Nutrition And Healthy Living Cornell Certificate Program, Cornell University, US. She holds a Post Graduate Diploma in Management from IIM Bangalore and B. Tech in Metallurgical Engineering and Materials Science from IIT Bombay. Prior to this, she worked for a few years in IT and Financial services. An ardent follower of naturopathy, she believes in healing with foods. In her free time, she loves to travel and taste different types of teas.

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