About phthisis

What is phthisis?

Phthisis, also known as pulmonary tuberculosis, is one of the most common illnesses that humans face. It affects people of all ages, from all walks of life, and in every country. 

  • While phthisis may affect almost every organ in the body, the most commonly affected organ is the lungs. It is commonly known as acute tuberculosis.
  • Close communication with an individual who has miliary phthisis, living in filthy surroundings, and poor nutrition are all risk factors for developing the disease. 
  • Homelessness and HIV/AIDS are two risk factors for developing the illness in the United States. Regular bloodletting, a healthy diet, active horseback riding, and, in the last stages of the disease, were among the remedies. 
  • Individual tubercles are minute, but the most apparent phthisis symptoms are amalgamations of tubercles, ranging from barely detectable nodules to massive tuberculous masses.

Among other types of phthisis are two:

  • Phthisis bulbi is an end-stage eye disease that causes the eye to shrivel and disorganize, resulting in functional loss. Hypotony, altered blood-ocular walls and irritation are all key components in the etiology of phthisis.
  • Phthisis miliaris is a skin inflammatory illness characterized by the production of vesicles or papules that resemble millet grains and intense heat around the sweat glands.



What are the symptoms for phthisis?

Photophobia symptom was found in the phthisis condition

Phthisis is a potentially fatal infectious illness affecting mostly the lungs. Wheezes and coughs or sneezes release minute droplets into the air, which spread tuberculosis germs from one individual to another. 

Another term is Phthisis bulbi, which is an ocular disorder that causes significant vision loss.

Symptoms of Phthisis include:

  • Weight loss that occurs unintentionally.
  • Fever and fatigue.
  • Sweats during the night, Coughing for three weeks or longer, bringing up blood or mucus.

Symptoms of Phthisis Bulbi include:

  • There is a presence of retinal detachment for a long time. The separation of the retina from the choroid is known as retinal detachment. This unusual but dangerous issue necessitates a trip to a retinal expert right now.
  • inflammation that persists over time. Long-term Swelling of the eye, also known as uveitis, can harm surrounding tissues.
  • Retinoblastoma. A mass that collects and decalcifies the eye is referred to as this condition.


The sclera and choroid can account for up to 70% of the overall amount of the globe in severe instances of phthisis. In chronic hypotony, the level of thickening can be a sign of oncoming phthisis; however, the exact thickness limit for phthisis production is unclear.



What are the causes for phthisis?

Mycobacterium tuberculosis is the bacteria that causes phthisis (tuberculosis). It spreads when an individual with active tuberculosis in their lungs coughs and sneezes, and then someone else inhales the Phthisis bacteria-laden droplets.

Anyone can develop phthisis, however, those most at risk include persons and reasons such as:

  • Living in a nation or region where tuberculosis is prevalent.
  • Being close to an infected person over an extended period.
  • Living in cramped quarters.
  • Having an immune system that is weakened, especially with prolonged diabetes.
  • Undergoing radiotherapy or biotoxins etc. that are long-term therapies, significantly impair the immune system.
  • The influence of one's age is significant. Young and old people's immune systems are often lower than those of healthy adults.
  • When someone with tuberculosis speaks, sneezes, laughs, chuckles, or sings, small droplets containing the bacteria are released.
  • Phthisis do not survive on surfaces. One may not get phthisis through shaking hands or exchanging food or drink with somebody who has it.
  • You normally have to be around anyone who seems to have been infected with phthisis.



What are the treatments for phthisis?

There are several treatments available for phthisis, depending on the underlying cause.

  • Phthisis can be a difficult condition to treat if the lungs are damaged. Hence, it is important to seek medical help early if you suspect you may have this condition. 
  • Treatment for phthisis is often thought to be futile. In the early stages of hypotony, aggressive treatment of intraocular inflammation in uveitis or preventing too much cyclodestruction in glaucoma may delay or prevent the eventual collapse.
  • With prompt treatment, many people with phthisis can lead normal, healthy lives.
  • In the case of phthisis bulbi, your ophthalmologist will propose particular treatment methods based on a physical eye exam and imaging testing. If the whole end-stage eye isn't visible yet, the underlying causes may still be treatable. 
  • Steroids, for example, may aid with uveitis, while antibiotics can help with the infection. If the eye injury is caused by an autoimmune disorder, immunosuppressive medicines may be provided.
  • More extensive cases of eye impairment necessitate surgery. A surgeon will need to reattach the retina to the choroid in the case of retinal detachment.
  • A prosthesis may be required in the case of a whole end-stage eye. This is accomplished through the use of a surgically inserted fake eye.



What are the risk factors for phthisis?

There are a number of risk factors for phthisis, and it's important to be aware of them so that you can take steps to protect yourself from this serious lung condition. 

  • Tuberculosis infected people are at the high risk of developing phthisis. The infection usually attacks the lungs, but it can also affect other parts of the body such as the spine, brain, and kidneys. 
  • People with weakened immune systems are also at risk of developing phthisis. This includes people with HIV/AIDS, people who are undergoing chemotherapy for cancer, and people who have had an organ transplant.
  • Smokers are also at increased risk of developing phthisis. This is because smoking damages the lungs and makes them more susceptible to infection. Cigarette smoking is extremely irritating to the conjunctival mucosa, and nonsmokers' eyes are also affected by passive exposure (secondhand smoking). 
  • Smoking's harmful effects are passed down through the placenta, and the offspring of smoking parents are more likely to develop strabismus.
  • Zone III injury and hyphema are both risk factors for developing phthisis after an open globe injury. Phthisis or pre-phthisis patients are more likely to have poor preoperative vision acuity, acute trauma, zone II or III injury, hyphema, or a squashed grape appearance on CT.



Is there a cure/medications for phthisis?

It's important to get treatment for phthisis as soon as possible to prevent it from getting worse. While there is no cure for phthisis, effective medications can help. 

  • If you have phthisis, your doctor will likely prescribe a combination of drugs to kill the bacteria and reduce inflammation. These drugs must be taken for several months, and sometimes longer. 
  • Antibiotics are advised if an infection is present. Antibiotics will be used to treat bacterial infections, antiviral drugs or supportive care will be used to treat viral infections, blood thinners will be used to treat pulmonary embolism, and other illnesses will be treated properly.
  • If for no other reason than to restore corneal clarity, every planned phthisis treatment must be surgical.
  • It is important to make some lifestyle changes in order to keep the disease under control. These changes include quitting smoking, maintaining a healthy weight, and avoiding exposure to tuberculosis. 
  • In case of phthisis bulbi, if the eye injury is caused by an autoimmune disorder, immunosuppressive medicines may be provided. More extensive cases of eye impairment necessitate surgery. 

  • The digitalis purpurea is the most well-known of the recently introduced therapies to cure phthisis.



Video related to phthisis