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Risk Factors associated with Tuberculosis

Updated at: Mar 22, 2012
Communicable Diseases
Written by: Vatsal AnandPublished at: Mar 17, 2012
Risk Factors associated with Tuberculosis

Risk factors associated with tuberculosis are various. Learn more about these risk factors so that you can protect yourself from tuberculosis better.

There can be several causes of tuberculosis if we consider the reason which led to the infection. Certain factors increase the risk of the disease such as:


Weak immune system


Strong and healthy immune system can defend your body from an attack of TB but if certain diseases bring down its resistance capacity, you can fall prey to the infection.

The diseases which can cause TB as they weaken the resistance offered by your immune system are:

  • Kidney disease at its end stage.
  • Diabetes.
  • Cancer treatment procedures, such as chemotherapy.
  • Drugs that prevent rejection of transplanted organs.
  • Some drugs that are used for treating diseases such as psoriasis, rheumatoid arthritis, and Crohn's disease.
  • Malnutrition.
  • Advanced age.


Geographical risk factors

TB risk is higher for people who live in or travel to countries that have high rates of tuberculosis, such as:

  • Sub-Saharan Africa.
  • India.
  • China.
  • Mexico.
  • The islands of Southeast Asia and Micronesia.
  • Parts of the former Soviet Union.

Poverty and substance abuse


Poverty means a person cannot afford proper medical care. If a person has a low income, lives in a remote area, has recently migrated to a different country recently, or is homeless, the medical care required for diagnosis and treatment of TB may not be affordable to him. Moreover, the substance abuse that they take to, which continues long-term also weakens the immune system of poor people. This makes them much more vulnerable to tuberculosis.


Where you work or live


Regular contact with TB infected people increases your risk of coming in contact with the tuberculosis bacteria. Wearing a mask and regular washing of hands reduces the risk to a great degree. People living or working in a residential care facility, those who work in prisons, nursing homes  or immigration centers are at an increased risk of tuberculosis. Over crowding and poor ventilation always increases the risk of this disease.

Living in a refugee camp or shelter

Refugees live under very high risk of contractng the tuberculosis infection with their crowded, unsanitary conditions. Their weakened immune system due to poor nutrition compounds their problem and increases the risk of being sick due to the infection.


Read more articles on Understand Tuberculosis




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