Why TB Diagnosis Often Ends Bad Among Poor

Tuberculosis is not essentially a disease of the poor but poverty makes it hard to come out of it.

24 Mar, 2023

Kashish Sharma

Symptoms take time to show up

Tuberculosis is a contagious infection caused by bacteria. Persistent cough, blood in the mucus and loss of appetite are common symptoms that show up gradually.

Source: Thehealthsite

Poverty trap

Closely packed houses, dense localities, close-knitted families and polluted surroundings make TB spread easily among poor communities.

Source: Thehealthsite

Not essentially a disease of the poor

Tuberculosis is not necessarily a disease of the poor. Malnutrition and compromised immunity (that can be due to poor standard of living) can make people more vulnerable to the disease.

Source: Thehealthsite

Lack of awareness can delay the diagnosis

Symptoms like a persistent cough that might last for weeks or months might get ignored due to a lack of awareness. Blood in the cough might alert people to get checked.

Source: Thehealthsite

Disease has a high economic burden

Diagnosis is just the first step. Treatment can go over a year. Among the poor, hidden costs like travel to the city and clinics, medicine costs and loss of income can make it difficult for them to continue.

Source: Thehealthsite

Multiple tests and check-ups add up to the cost

Blood tests might not provide absolute clarity sometimes. X-Rays, CT scans and other advanced tests might be prescribed for better diagnosis. This will add to the economic burden.

Source: Thehealthsite

Might lose a source of income

TB also has a social stigma around it. People affected by it might be socially discarded and might lose their source of income. This will have a direct impact on their life.

Source: Thehealthsite

Not all antibiotics will work

Treatment in terms of antibiotics can differ from person to person. Certain medicines might be ineffective if the bacteria causing the disease is drug-resistant.

Source: Thehealthsite

Finding the right treatment is a challenge

Studies have shown that mycobacteria divide asymmetrically and can form cells that differ in their shape, size and how they respond to a certain set of antibiotics.

Source: Thehealthsite

Prematurely pausing the treatment

Some people due to high costs might prematurely pause their treatment or might start another without completing the prior one. This can lead to the emergence of drug-resistant strains.

Source: Thehealthsite

Wait for death

Due to the unbearable economic situation, many won’t be able to continue with the treatment and might completely abandon it and die due to worsening symptoms.

Source: Thehealthsite

Will not end with the affected person

Unfortunately, the poor living conditions and inability to isolate the affected person might result in other members of the family ending up with the same disease.

Source: Thehealthsite

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