Tackling Pulmonary Tuberculosis: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment

What is Pulmonary Tuberculosis?

Pulmonary tuberculosis (TB) is an airborne disease that is contagious because it spreads from one person to another. It is a bacterial infection that primarily affects the lung however it later potentially spread to other organs. It is caused by the bacteria Mycobacterium tuberculosis (MTB). Pulmonary tuberculosis widely spread as an epidemic in North America and Europe in the 18th and 19th centuries. Its cases have declined afterward. Moreover, the majority of its cases are found in developing countries.

Causes  of Pulmonary Tuberculosis

Pulmonary Tuberculosis is caused by the bacterium Mycobacterium tuberculosis (MTB). Being a contagious disorder, it spreads from an infected person to a healthy person by air. Some of the Pulmonary Tuberculosis causes are listed below,

Airborne Transmission:

Airborne transmission is one of the main Pulmonary tuberculosis causes. TB is chiefly transmitted through the air. while an infected man or woman coughs, sneezes, speaks, or even sings, tiny droplets containing the bacteria grow to be airborne. breathing in these droplets makes people liable to infection.

Close Contact with Infected Individuals:

Spending extended intervals in near proximity to a person with lively TB will increase the danger of transmission. that is in particular commonplace in households or crowded environments.

Weakened Immune System:

People with weakened immune structures are extra at risk of contracting pulmonary TB. This includes humans with conditions inclusive of HIV/AIDS, the ones present process chemotherapy, individuals taking immunosuppressive medicinal drugs, and those with certain persistent ailments like diabetes or kidney disease.

Improper Treatment or Non-Adherence to Medication:

Overuse or unsuitable use of antibiotics can bring about drug-resistant traces of TB. those lines are tougher to deal with and require specialized, regularly greater pricey medicines.

Drug-Resistant TB Strains:

Overuse or improper use of antibiotics can result in drug-resistant traces of TB. these strains are more difficult to treat and require specialized, regularly extra steeply-priced medications.

Age and Gender:

Younger kids and the elderly are greater susceptible to TB because of weaker immune structures. In a few regions, men may additionally have higher charges of TB because of elements inclusive of risky behaviors and behind-schedule healthcare searching.

Overcrowded or Unsanitary Living Conditions:

Settings with negative airflow, crowded areas, and constrained entry to healthcare grow the hazard of TB transmission. this is especially accepted in densely populated urban areas and in certain institutional settings like prisons or shelters.

Healthcare Settings:

Without proper infection control measures, TB can be transmitted in healthcare settings. This risk is present in hospitals, clinics, and other healthcare facilities.

Inactive and active pulmonary tuberculosis

Being exposed to disease-causing bacteria does not necessarily mean that you will get sick. Exposure to the bacteria results in primary TB or latent TB. Most people recover from latent TB without showing any symptoms because their immune systems are protecting them. Also, it’s important to note that people with latent or primary pulmonary tuberculosis are non-contagious. They can go out and carry out their regular activities without infecting others.

However, a few percent of infected people have chances to get sick again. TB gets active in some people and they start showing symptoms. with reactivated pulmonary tuberculosis are contagious, and are required to stay at home to ensure they don’t infect others.

The risk is higher for people with weaker immune system like

  1. Older adults
  2.  Infants,
  3.  People having AIDS.
  4.  If they have any autoimmune disorder
  5.  Smoking adults


The primary stage of TB does not cause symptoms. When symptoms of pulmonary TB occur, they can include:

  1. Cough with the release of mucus
  2. Difficulty in breathing
  3. Chest pain
  4. Wheezing
  5. Coughing up blood
  6. Excessive sweating, particularly at night
  7. Fatigue
  8. Fever

Exams and Tests Conducted to diagnose pulmonary tuberculosis

Your pulmonologist will perform a physical exam to find-

  1. Swollen or tender lymph nodes in the neck or other areas.
  2.  Clubbing of the fingers or toes.
  3. Pleural Effusion (Fluid around lungs)
  4. Crackles – Unusual breath sounds in the lungs

The Doctor may further go with tests like

  1. Chest X-ray – This is a common test conducted to diagnose TB. This helps in detecting any abnormalities in the lungs which can be traced to it.
  2. Sputum Test – This test includes coughing up sputum and analyzing it for the presence of bacteria. Sputum is cultured to do so.
  3. Mantoux Tuberculin Skin Test – This test includes injecting a small amount of PPD (Purified Protein Derivative) into the forearm. The doctor checks the injected area after 48-72 hours to see if there is any reaction, a reaction to PPD indicates exposure to TB bacteria.
  4. Blood Test – A blood test may be done to detect any antibodies developed to the bacteria.
  5. CT- Scan – In some cases, CT-Scan may be done to get a more detailed view of the lungs and surrounding tissues.


The goal of taking treatment of Pulmonary Tuberculosis is to cure the disease completely. People with latent TB should also take proper treatment in order to decrease the risk of it getting reactivated. The pulmonologist provides a combination of 4 tablets which you have to take for 6 months or longer to get the best results. The name of 4 medicine provided are

  1. Isoniazid
  2. Pyrazinamide
  3. Ethambutol
  4. Rifampin ( Rifadin )

It is necessary to choose the best chest specialist and take the prescribed medicine on time. If the infected person is not taking the medicine on time, a nurse should look over the schedule and give him medicine timely. Ignoring such disease or being careless about treatment can further increase the problem as if pulmonary tuberculosis remains uncured for longer, It may damage our vital organs. An infected person should go for timely diagnosis, timely treatment, and care from a good pulmonologist and a good hospital.

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