Understanding Tuberculosis Symptoms, Causes, and Diagnosis

Tuberculosis Symptoms, Causes, and Diagnosis | A Comprehensive Guide

What is Tuberculosis?

Tuberculosis, also known as TB, is a serious and contagious bacterial infection that primarily affects the lungs. It can also affect other parts of the body, such as the brain, spine, and kidneys. TB is spread through the air when an infected person coughs, sneezes, or talks.

What are the Symptoms of Tuberculosis?

The symptoms of TB can vary depending on the severity of the infection and the part of the body that is affected. Some common symptoms include:

  • Persistent cough that lasts for more than three weeks
  • Chest pain or discomfort
  • Fatigue or weakness
  • Fever and night sweats
  • Loss of appetite and weight loss
  • Coughing up blood or phlegm

What are the Causes of Tuberculosis?

TB is caused by the bacterium Mycobacterium tuberculosis. It spreads through the air when an infected person coughs, sneezes, or talks. People with weakened immune systems, such as those with HIV or diabetes, are more susceptible to TB. It can also spread more easily in crowded living conditions and in areas with poor ventilation.

How is Tuberculosis Diagnosed?

Diagnosing TB involves a series of tests, including:

  • Tuberculin skin test: A small amount of fluid is injected under the skin, and the area is checked for a reaction after a few days.
  • Blood tests: These tests can detect antibodies to the TB bacteria. e.g. TB Gold test, TB by PCR test
  • Chest X-ray: This can show signs of TB infection in the lungs.
  • Sputum test: A sample of phlegm is analysed for the presence of TB bacteria.

How is Tuberculosis Treated?

TB is treated with a combination of antibiotics for at least six months. It is important to take the full course of antibiotics, even if symptoms improve, to prevent the development of drug-resistant TB. In addition to antibiotics, people with TB may need to take other medications to manage symptoms and side effects.

How Can healthcare nt sickcare Help?

healthcare nt sickcare offers a range of diagnostic tests to help diagnose TB, including the tuberculin skin test, blood tests, chest X-rays, and sputum tests. Our experienced medical professionals can help you understand your results and provide guidance on treatment options. Additionally, we offer telemedicine consultations with qualified doctors to provide remote medical advice and guidance.

Information about tuberculosis in India

India has one of the highest burdens of tuberculosis (TB) in the world, accounting for one-fourth of the global TB cases. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), India reported around 2.6 million cases of TB in 2019, which is the highest among all countries.

TB is a serious public health issue in India and is a major cause of morbidity and mortality in the country. The high burden of TB in India is due to various factors such as poverty, overcrowding, malnutrition, poor living conditions, and lack of awareness and access to healthcare services.

The Indian government has launched various initiatives to combat TB such as the Revised National Tuberculosis Control Program (RNTCP), which provides free diagnostic and treatment services for TB. Additionally, healthcare organizations like healthcare nt sickcare play a crucial role in diagnosing and treating TB by providing various diagnostic tests and treatment options.

As TB is a bacterial infection, it is important to diagnose it at an early stage to prevent the spread of the disease and avoid complications. healthcare nt sickcare offers various diagnostic tests for TB such as the TB Quantiferon test, chest X-ray, and sputum culture. These tests can help in identifying the presence of the TB bacteria and determining the appropriate treatment plan.

In addition to diagnostic tests, healthcare nt sickcare also offers treatment options for TB such as antibiotics and anti-TB drugs. It is important to complete the full course of treatment to ensure effective treatment and prevent the development of drug-resistant TB.

Preventing the spread of TB requires a combination of efforts such as early diagnosis, proper treatment, and adopting preventive measures such as good hygiene practices and avoiding close contact with people who have TB. By raising awareness about TB and promoting early diagnosis and treatment, healthcare nt sickcare plays an important role in combating the TB epidemic in India.

Why Tuberculin Test is Banned in India?

The tuberculin test, also known as the Mantoux test, is a skin test that is used to screen for tuberculosis (TB). The test involves injecting a small amount of a protein called purified protein derivative (PPD) into the skin. If you have been exposed to TB, your body will react to the PPD and develop a lump at the injection site.

The tuberculin test is not accurate and can lead to misdiagnosis. In India, the tuberculin test was banned in 2012 because it was found to be inaccurate and unreliable. The test can give false-positive results, meaning that it can show that you have TB when you do not have the disease. This can lead to unnecessary treatment and anxiety.

The tuberculin test can also give false-negative results, meaning that it can show that you do not have TB when you do have the disease. This can lead to delayed diagnosis and treatment, which can make TB more serious.

The World Health Organization (WHO) does not recommend the use of the tuberculin test for TB screening. The WHO recommends the use of other, more accurate tests, such as the interferon-gamma release assay (IGRA).

The list of Tuberculosis tests allowed in India

The following tests are allowed in India for the diagnosis of tuberculosis:

  • Sputum smear microscopy: This is the most common test for TB. It involves examining a sample of your sputum (mucus coughed up from your lungs) under a microscope to look for TB bacteria.
  • Interferon-gamma release assay (IGRA): This is a blood test that measures your body's response to TB bacteria.
  • Chest X-ray: This test can show changes in your lungs that may be caused by TB.
  • GeneXpert MTB/RIF: This is a rapid molecular test that can detect TB bacteria and drug resistance in a few hours.

The choice of test will depend on your circumstances and the availability of tests in your area. If you are concerned that you may have TB, you should see a healthcare professional. They can help you decide which test is right for you.

Here are some additional details about the tests:

  • Sputum smear microscopy: This test is relatively inexpensive and easy to perform. However, it is not very sensitive, meaning that it can miss some cases of TB.
  • IGRA: This test is more sensitive than sputum smear microscopy. However, it is more expensive and not as widely available.
  • Chest X-ray: This test is not as sensitive as sputum smear microscopy or IGRA for diagnosing active TB. However, it can be useful for detecting old TB infections or for ruling out other possible causes of your symptoms.
  • GeneXpert MTB/RIF: This is a rapid molecular test that is very sensitive and specific for TB. It is also relatively easy to perform and can be used to detect drug resistance.

If you are concerned that you may have TB, you should see a healthcare professional. They can perform a more accurate test to determine whether you have the disease.


In conclusion, tuberculosis is a serious and contagious bacterial infection that requires prompt diagnosis and treatment. By understanding the symptoms and causes of TB and utilizing the diagnostic and treatment options offered by Healthcare nt sickcare, you can take control of your health and well-being.


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