Monday, April 15, 2024

What are the symptoms of TB?

The symptoms of tuberculosis (TB) can vary depending on whether the infection is latent (inactive) or active, and whether it primarily affects the lungs (pulmonary TB) or other parts of the body (extrapulmonary TB). Not everyone with TB infection will experience symptoms, especially in cases of latent TB infection. However, when symptoms do occur, they can include:

Pulmonary TB (affects the lungs):Persistent cough that lasts three weeks or longer
Coughing up blood or sputum (phlegm or mucus)
Chest pain, particularly when coughing or breathing deeply
Fatigue or weakness
Fever, often low-grade
Night sweats
Loss of appetite
Unintentional weight loss
Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, especially with exertion


Extrapulmonary TB (affects other parts of the body):Symptoms depend on the site of infection and may include:
Back pain or stiffness (spinal TB)
Joint pain or swelling (bone and joint TB)
Headache, confusion, or neurological symptoms (meningeal TB)
Abdominal pain, swelling, or tenderness (abdominal TB)
Swelling of the lymph nodes (lymph node TB)
Pain or discomfort during urination (genitourinary TB)
Skin lesions or nodules (cutaneous TB)
Symptoms related to organ dysfunction or failure (e.g., renal TB, hepatic TB)

It's important to note that the symptoms of TB can be nonspecific and may resemble those of other respiratory infections or medical conditions. Additionally, some people with TB infection may not experience any symptoms at all, especially in cases of latent TB infection. In latent TB infection, the TB bacteria are present in the body but are inactive and do not cause symptoms or spread to others.

If you experience symptoms suggestive of TB, especially if you have been in close contact with someone with TB disease or if you are at increased risk due to factors such as HIV infection or immunosuppression, it's important to seek medical evaluation and testing promptly. TB is a treatable and curable disease, but early diagnosis and treatment are crucial for preventing the spread of infection and reducing the risk of complications.

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