Why is tb called consumption?
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Phthisis, tabes, and schachepheth were the ancient Greek, Roman, and Hebrew names for tuberculosis (TB). Due to the sufferers’ pallor, TB was referred to as “the white plague” in the 1700s. Even after Schonlein gave it the term tuberculosis, the 1800s saw TB being referred to as “consumption.”
The term “consumption” became widely used in the 19th century due to the perception that the illness was eating the patient as a result of weight loss and the TB-related so-called “withering away.”