ABC Medical Center > Tuberculosis

What is Tuberculosis?

21:56 - 4 May , 2021


It is an infectious disease caused by Koch’s bacillus, a bacteria called Mycobacterium tuberculosis, which affects the lungs but can also compromise other organs such as the kidneys and the brain.

Being a highly contagious disease, it spreads when an infected person coughs, sneezes, or spits, and these secretions are spread in small droplets to another person or persons.

It is estimated that a quarter of the world’s population is infected with the tuberculosis bacillus but has not yet become ill, which could become a potential health alert.

Tuberculosis is classified into:

  • Latent or inactive: the patient has inactive bacteria in their body and no symptoms. However, it can be suddenly activated. In this situation, it is not possible to infect anyone.
  • Active: the symptoms appear days, weeks, or years after the infection, becoming an immediate source of infection.

Potential risks

  •  Some types of cancer.
  • Consumption of harmful substances (drugs, alcohol, tobacco).
  • Malnutrition or low body weight.
  • Diabetes.
  • Age (infants and seniors).
  • Kidney failure.
  • Medications that suppress the immune system such as those used against autoimmune diseases.
  • Work or live with infected people.
  • Cancer treatments, such as chemotherapy.
  • Living, traveling, or migrating to areas with a high incidence of tuberculosis.
  • AIDS.

Signs and symptoms Tuberculosis

  • Tiredness and weakness.
  • Sore chest, especially when coughing or when breathing heavily.
  • High fever and chills.
  • General discomfort.
  • Lack of appetite and weight loss.
  • Noises or wheezing when breathing.
  • Excessive night sweats.
  • Persistent cough with blood that lasts a month or more.

When tuberculosis does not occur in the lungs, the symptoms are different and are related to the affected organs.

Diagnosis and treatment Tuberculosis

Tuberculosis is a curable disease with the proper treatment.

To detect it, your doctor will perform a physical examination that may show swollen lymph nodes, unusual breath sounds, or fluid around the lung. However, to confirm the diagnosis, they will likely order blood tests and specialized tests such as bronchoscopy, X-rays, CT scan, mucus tests and cultures, tuberculin skin test, and, if deemed necessary, a biopsy of the affected tissue.

If your results show latent tuberculosis, your doctor will tell you what medications you should take to reduce the risk of it becoming active.

In the case of active tuberculosis, the treatment will consist of attacking the infection through a combination of antibiotics (usually for six to nine months) to help determine which ones are ideal for your case, since many strains of tuberculosis are resistant to various drugs. Therefore, it is essential that you follow your doctor’s instructions to eradicate the disease.

The type, amount, and duration of treatment will depend on your health, drug resistance, and where the infection is.

Untreated tuberculosis can be fatal or cause other complications, such as:

  • Specific arthritis.
  • Meningitis.
  • Severe liver and kidney problems.
  • Heart problems.
  • Back pain.

At ABC Medical Center’s Internal Medicine Department, we offer health care services with the highest quality and safety, from the prevention, diagnosis, timely treatment, and monitoring of infectious, respiratory, endocrinological, dermatological, rheumatic, nephrological, gastrointestinal, and hematological pathologies of both chronic-degenerative diseases and acute conditions, through a comprehensive and multidisciplinary model.


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