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World Tuberculosis Day: Stages of TB and tips from health experts to avoid it Health

Every year on March 24, the world observes World Tuberculosis (TB) Day and although most people believe that tuberculosis only affects the lungs, the disease can damage other organs as well. The lungs, or the pulmonary system of the body, are usually most commonly affected by tuberculosis, yet it can also damage other organs, a condition known as extra pulmonary tuberculosis, where the additional organs that are affected These can include the lining of the lungs (pulmonary TB), the central nervous system (TB meningitis), bones and joints (musculoskeletal system), lymph nodes, abdomen (abdominal TB), kidneys and bladder (urogenital TB) and blood, hair and Literally every system of the body except the nails!

World Tuberculosis Day: Stages of TB and health expert's tips to avoid it (Photo-Twitter/AmirChmed)
World Tuberculosis Day: Stages of TB and health expert’s tips to avoid it (Photo-Twitter/AmirChmed)

In an interview with HT Lifestyle, Dr Samir Garde, pulmonologist at Global Hospital in Parel, Mumbai, explained, “Tuberculosis (TB) is a bacterial disease that most often affects the lungs. Other organs such as the kidneys, spine or brain may also be affected. TB is mostly spread through the air, such as when an infected person coughs or sneezes. It can cause an active infection even after it has not been active in someone who has been previously exposed. A distinction must be made between being infected with tuberculosis germs and having active tuberculosis disease.”

He revealed the stages of tuberculosis:

1. Exposure. This occurs when a person is exposed to TB bacilli due to exposure to droplets from another person who has pulmonary tuberculosis. A normal chest X-ray, and no signs or symptoms of disease will be seen in the exposed person.

2. Infection with latent tuberculosis. This is when a person has tuberculosis germs in their system but has no symptoms of the disease. The immune system of an infected person protects the TB germs. In most people who are infected, TB remains dormant for life. This person will have a positive skin or blood test for tuberculosis but a normal X-ray or a chest X-ray showing only scarring (as the immune system is fighting off the bacterial invasion). There will be no visible evidence of current infection in other areas of the body.

3. Clinical Tuberculosis (TB). This person will display signs and symptoms of an active tuberculosis infection. The person may have a positive or negative skin or blood test for tuberculosis and a positive chest X-ray, a sputum sample showing evidence of active TB, or other results indicating current disease.

Talking about possible TB complications, the health expert shared, “If pulmonary tuberculosis is not treated early or properly, it can lead to long-term (permanent) lung damage. TB can affect bones, vertebrae, brain and can also infect the spinal cord, lymph glands, and other body components. It can damage such areas, resulting in short-term (temporary) or long-term (permanent) effects. Uncontrolled tuberculosis can be fatal. Then Also, tuberculosis is one of the largest infectious causes of mortality globally.”

Suggesting what one can do to avoid tuberculosis, Dr Samir Garde recommends:

  • Strong immunity is most important
  • Should have a high protein diet (Please consult your doctor / your nutritionist for this).
  • Also do regular physical exercises including walking/jogging, yoga, weight training etc. in the fresh air
  • Keep your co-morbidities like diabetes, heart, kidney conditions etc. under check
  • Check with your doctor regularly if you are taking immune modulating drugs (eg: rheumatoid arthritis, chemotherapy for cancer, immunosuppressive drugs after organ transplant, etc.).
  • BCG vaccination is one of the most important interventions to prevent any severe form of TB in children.


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