Tuberculosis (TB) Symptoms & Treatment

What is Tuberculosis?

Tuberculosis (or TB) is a disease caused by bacteria known as Mycobacterium tuberculosis. It is mainly a disease of the lungs, although it may affect other parts of the body’s internal anatomy as well. Tuberculosis is usually transmitted from person to person through the air. This occurs when infected people cough or sneeze, as the TB germs are released into the air. Statistics show that one quarter of the world population’s has latent tuberculosis, which implies that they have inhaled TB germs and can transmit it. However, they may not yet exhibit any symptoms (x, x).

People who get infected with TB bacteria have a 5 to 15 percent chance of actually becoming ill (x). In particular, people with compromised immune systems, who have some form of ailments such as HIV or diabetes, stand a higher chance. There are two main types of tuberculosis — latent and active. Latent tuberculosis refers to cases whereby an individual is already infected, but is not displaying symptoms. Active tuberculosis is defined as cases where an individual actually exhibits TB symptoms (x). Other types of tuberculosis include bone tuberculosis, which affects the spine, joints and long bones, and intestinal tuberculosis, which impacts solid or hollow intestinal organs, as well as abdominal lymphatics (x).

Symptoms of Tuberculosis

People with latent tuberculosis often do not exhibit any symptoms at all. In fact, they typically continue living their regular, healthy lives without awareness that they have contracted the disease. On the other hand, people who have active tuberculosis tend to experience a number of symptoms, which may be common to other ailments as well. When you think that you are seeing symptoms, it is essential that you visit your healthcare provider to confirm whether you actually have TB or some other ailment. TB symptoms do not begin to show immediately, which is why you need to go and get tested if you think you have been exposed.

Persistent Cough

This is one of the most common symptoms associated with tuberculosis. Coughing is a normal bodily function, but when it begins to last for suspicious periods of time, then you should begin to study it a bit closer. Persistent cough associated with TB may produce phlegm and cause throat pain, one of the main symptoms of tuberculosis in the throat. People with active tuberculosis often experience a severe coughing that rocks one’s entire frame. Sometimes the cough can be accompanied by a bit of blood. When you begin to cough blood, this is a clear sign to get yourself tested immediately.

Weight Loss

Tuberculosis patients often suffer from severe weight loss, which is considered to be immunosuppressive and a major determinant of severity and outcome. This kind of weight loss is rapid and usually leads to weakness, which makes patients susceptible to other ailments. Nearly everybody infected with TB experiences this weight loss.


Fatigue refers to extreme tiredness that results from a number of causes, including performing hard tasks or going through emotional stress. However, when people begin to experience fatigue without any rigorous or extremely tiring activities, there is likely a problem. Fatigue as a result of little or no activity is a common symptom of tuberculosis. People suffering from active tuberculosis experience debilitating fatigue that renders them completely unable to perform even the most basic tasks. If you are experiencing fatigue along with the other symptoms mentioned, then you should definitely get tested.


Fever is a common symptom and an efficient tool for checking the response to anti-TB treatment. It is also one of the indicators of the presence of active TB. Tuberculosis patients usually experience this symptom, which may be followed by shivering or teeth chattering.If you are experiencing fever with the other symptoms previously mentioned, then it is advisable to visit your physician.

Night Sweats

Night sweats refer to regular occurrences of extreme perspiration. This usually occurs as a result of an underlying medical condition and may be linked to ailments like cough, diarrhea and fever. Waking up in a sweat for no feasible reason should not be taken lightly. It may indicate an underlying ailment like TB. It is recommended that you visit your physician if you notice night sweats.

Symptoms of Tuberculosis

Risk Factors for Tuberculosis

Mycobacterium tuberculosis transmission is usually at a higher possibility for demographics including:

  • Those who have spent time with someone who has TB disease
  • People from a country where TB disease is common (most countries in Latin America, the Caribbean, Africa, Asia, Eastern Europe and Russia)
  • Those who live or work in high-risk settings (for example, correctional facilities, long-term care facilities or nursing homes and homeless shelters)
  • Health-care workers who care for patients at increased risks for TB disease
  • Infants, children and adolescents exposed to adults who are at increased risk for latent tuberculosis infection or TB disease (x)

How to Prevent Tuberculosis

As with all health conditions, prevention of TB is always better than a cure. Although there is no sure-fire way to completely prevent the spread of TB at this point in time, there are a number of measures to reduce the spread of the illness. Some of these measures include the BCG vaccine, immediate treatment of latent tuberculosis and cough etiquette. A tuberculosis vaccination is mainly performed on babies and toddlers (x).

Supplements for Tuberculosis

Green Tea 50% Polyphenols Powder

Green tea 50% polyphenols powder is known to be rich in antioxidants that are required by the body. People suffering from TB have been shown to experience no side effects upon taking green tea (x).

Fenugreek Powder

Fenugreek may be effective in treating ailments like boils, cellulitis and even tuberculosis. The seeds have also been used in lowering blood sugar (x).

Turmeric Curcumin Extract Powder

New research indicates that curcumin — a substance in turmeric that is best known as one of the main components of curry powder — may help fight drug-resistant tuberculosis. In Asia, turmeric is used to treat many health conditions and has anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and perhaps even anticancer properties (x).

Pure Astragalus Extract Powder

Astragalus is touted to have immune-boosting, anti-aging and anti-inflammatory effects. It is also known to treat a number of ailments, including diabetes and a number of other conditions (x).

The Bottom Line

While tuberculosis may be easy to contract, it is also simple to prevent. Prevention is paramount to avoiding the complications that could result. Symptoms include a persistent cough, weight loss, fatigue, fever and night sweats. Supplements that can help with relief include turmeric, astragalus, fenugreek and green tea.

Author: Ryan Quigley
Graduate of Longwood University in Virginia. Part-time sports journalist covering the Vegas Golden Knights.