Complications of Tuberculosis

If tuberculosis is not treated properly, it can pose serious health complications. It not only affects the lungs but also various other organs of the body.

Aparna Mir
Written by: Aparna MirUpdated at: Mar 22, 2012 12:47 IST
Complications of Tuberculosis

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Tuberculosis Complications

Tuberculosis is an infectious disease which leads to numerous health complications. It attacks the body’s immune system by affecting the B cells and T cells of the immune system.

As tuberculosis weakens the immune systems, it makes the body vulnerable to respiratory problems, bone infections, kidney failure and heart failure. The complications can vary from a mild pain to multiple organ failure. Some of the complications related to tuberculosis are:

  • If tuberculosis is not treated properly, it develops resistance against drugs or antibiotics. This condition is known as multi-drug resistance tuberculosis. The reason for this is that the bacterium undergoes mutation, thereby becoming resistant against multiple antibiotics. Tuberculosis which has aggravated to this extent takes a long course of medication to be treated.
  • Untreated tuberculosis causes severe lung complications. The bacteria can cause permanent damage to the lungs leading to breathing problems. As the disease becomes severe, the patient notices blood in cough.
  • Severe tuberculosis can lead to meningitis and pneumonia. This affects the brain and lung functioning, thereby causing retardation, brain paralysis and even brain death.
  • Tuberculosis also affects the functioning of the heart. The pumping action of the heart gets disturbed due to myocardial infection. This increases the chances of heart attack and strokes.
  • Tuberculosis bacteria multiply very fast. In the absence of proper treatment the bacteria can spread to the bones and joints causing weakening of bones, joints pain, swelling and even arthritis.
  • Tuberculosis can affect eyes by damaging the retina. This can hamper the vision causing blindness.
  • Tuberculosis can cause complications in the excretory system leading to painful urination. Sometimes the person feels uncomfortable during urination. In severe cases, blood appears in the urine.
  • Other complications of tuberculosis include loss of appetite, pain in the chest, recurring fever with chills, sudden weight loss, vomiting and shortness of breath.

Tuberculosis is not limited to lungs, but it affects other body parts as well. It’s always advisable to complete the course of tuberculosis treatment as leaving it in the middle makes the bacteria resistant against antibiotics. These mutated bacteria cause serious health complications. A proper diagnosis followed by a proper treatment regimen can protect a person from tuberculosis complications.



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