Different forms and Types of Tuberculosis (TB) disease and their Symptoms

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Types of Tuberculosis have been classified and categorized based majorly on the body organs affected; however, there are different types of TB and each has its own system for classification. Tuberculosis is an infectious disease that can affect almost any organ of the body but mainly affects the lungs in 75% of cases. Tuberculosis is caused by Mycobacterium tuberculosis majorly and can be caused by Mycobacterium bovis (from consumption of unpasteurized milk).

Types of Tuberculosis based on relationship to the lungs

  1. Pulmonary tuberculosis
  2. Extrapulmonary tuberculosis

Pulmonary tuberculosis

This is the commonest type of Tuberculosis and affects the lungs. It may spread to other parts of the body giving rise to the second type known as Extrapulmonary TB.

Extrapulmonary Tuberculosis

This is a form of TB which is located outside of the lungs. It may affect any organ outside aside the lungs.

List of different Types of Tuberculosis and their Symptoms based on body organs affected

  1. Pulmonary Tuberculosis– this presents with cough and difficulty in breathing
  2. Cutaneous (Skin) Tuberculosis: symptoms include erythema nodosum and Lupus vulgaris
  3. Spinal Tuberculosis (TB Spine)– causes vertebral collapse and osteomyelitis
  4. Bone and Joints Tuberculosis – causes arthritis
  5. Tuberculosis of Breast – presents with breast lump that mimicks breast cancer
  6. Central Nervous System (CNS) Tuberculosis: of the brain tuberculoma or of the meninges TB meningitis which manifest with headache and convulsion
  7. Intestinal Tuberculosis – may cause intestinal obstruction
  8. Renal tuberculosis
  9. Genitourinary Tuberculosis – symptoms of urinary tract infection such as painful urination, frequency and urgency
  10. Lymph nodes Tuberculosis (TB Adenitis) – swollen lymph nodes or neck
  11. Tuberculosis of the liver causing Hepatitis
  12. Tuberculosis of the pancreas causing pancreatitis
  13. Miliary Tuberculosis (disseminated TB) depends on the organ affected
  14. Tuberculosis of the eyes causes iritis, phylyctenular conjunctivitis and choroiditis
  15. Tuberculosis of Adrenal glands causes addison’s disease
  16. Pericardial Tuberculosis this affects the pericardium of the heart causing pericarditis

Miliary tuberculosis (Disseminated TB): this is a form of extrapulmonary TB in which the infection spreads to different organs at the same time; most forms extrapulmonary Tuberculosis occur in isolation (that is, it affects one organ), but miliary tuberculosis affects more than one at spontaneously.

When Tuberculosis affects the liver, it causes hepatitis; when it affects the adrenal glands it causes Addisons disease. When the meninges are affected, it cause TB Meningitis and when the urinary tract is affected, it causes symptoms of urinary tract infection.

Types of TB based on Drug Resistance

  1. Multidrug resistant Tuberculosis (MDR TB)
  2. Extensively drug resistant Tuberculosis (XDR TB)

Multidrug Resistant Tuberculosis

This form of TB occurs when a patient develops resistance to at least Rifampicin and Isoniazid. This means by just developing resistance to the two TB drugs mentioned or more, it is said to be multidrug resistant TB.

Extensively Drug Resistant Tuberculosis

Extensively Drug Resistant Tuberculosis is a type of TB where by the patient is resistant to Rifampicin and Isoniazid in addition to any fluoroquinolone and at least one of three injectable second-line anti TB drugs such as amikacin, capreomycin or kanamycin. It is a form of MDR TB and this includes resistance to second line drugs.

Types of Tuberculosis based on activity

  1. Active Tuberculosis
  2. Latent Tuberculosis (asymptomatic TB)

Active Tuberculosis Disease

This type of Tuberculosis disease produces symptoms and signs in the patient and can be transmitted from one person to another. Anyone with active TB is highly infectious.

Latent Tuberculosis Disease (asymptomatic TB)

This type of Tuberculosis does not show symptoms and signs even though the person is infected. This occurs as a result of the immune system being able to control the infection and preventing it from spreading. Latent Tuberculosis can become active tuberculosis by reactivation in conditions when the bodys immune system is suppressed due to immunosuppression such as in diabetes mellitus, HIV/AIDs, long term use of steroids, use of chemotherapy etc.