The symptoms of tuberculosis vary from person to person, but there are a few common signs that can help you identify it. If you or someone you know exhibits these warning signs, talk to your doctor immediately so they can get tested and treated quickly before the infection spreads and becomes life-threatening. While this disease is treatable with medication, it’s important to note that some people may be contagious before they even exhibit symptoms like night sweats, weight loss, or chest pain. Be sure to read on for more information about the most common symptoms of tuberculosis and how to prevent catching it in the first place

Tuberculosis (TB) is an infectious disease caused by bacteria called Mycobacterium tuberculosis. It mainly affects the lungs, but it can affect other parts of the body such as the brain, spine, kidney, and more. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), TB disease spreads when an infected person coughs or sneezes while in close contact with others who are not infected. The TB bacterium gets into the air when an infected person breathes, speaks, or sings, and others breathe in these bacteria-containing droplets of moisture.

To most people, tuberculosis (TB) conjures up images of the late 19th and early 20th centuries when it was one of the leading causes of death among humans. Today, TB remains an important cause of death in developing countries, but in more developed countries it has been replaced by heart disease as the leading cause of death. In some parts of the world, however, TB continues to be an important cause of sickness and death, and this means that knowing how to recognize its symptoms can save lives. So what are the symptoms of tuberculosis?

Persistent cough

Most people who have tuberculosis don’t feel sick; instead, their bodies are slowly being destroyed by their own TB bacteria. The typical symptoms include night sweats, unexplained weight loss and a persistent cough that lasts longer than two weeks.

A cough lasting for three weeks or longer is often one of the first signs that someone has TB. This symptom is characterized by two things: it’s productive (meaning you bring up phlegm from your lungs and throat), and it doesn’t go away with antibiotics. The coughing usually occurs at night.

Coughing up blood

Although symptoms vary from person to person, coughing up blood is a potential sign that you have tuberculosis. In other words, if you’re coughing up blood, it could be a sign of tuberculosis. If you are concerned about your symptoms and think they might be related to tuberculosis, call your doctor for advice. Your physician will need to conduct a physical examination before diagnosing you with TB. He or she may also recommend additional testing to determine whether or not TB is present in your body

Extreme coughing can sometimes result in blood being coughed up. This is common in those with tuberculosis, but it should still be considered an emergency situation. It may indicate that bleeding has occurred in your lungs or airways, or it may also be a sign that tubercular bacteria have spread to other organs. You need to seek immediate medical attention if you cough up blood.

Persistent fever with shaking chills

a common symptom of tuberculosis is a persistent fever with shaking chills (shaking due to temperature). Fever tends to peak at night. Typically lasting up to five days, these fevers can be high (around 103oF) but are usually lower. Persistent fever with shaking chills and night sweats that last more than a week might indicate TB.

This is caused by an immune response against bacteria that invades and multiplies in your lungs. Other symptoms include chest pain, cough, weight loss, fatigue, weakness, and night sweats. If you experience these symptoms, see a doctor right away as tuberculosis can be fatal if left untreated.

Sore throat

This is a very common tuberculosis symptom and one that a doctor will likely ask about at your annual checkup. The reason for your sore throat could be due to a cold or allergies—but it could also be a sign of tuberculosis. A sore throat usually begins as painless but becomes painful over time, especially when swallowing food and liquids. Make sure to let your doctor know if you have any difficulty swallowing, experience hoarseness, and/or notice white spots on your tonsils when looking in a mirror.

A sore throat is a commonly-reported symptom of tuberculosis and typically comes along with fever, weakness, cough, loss of appetite, and weight loss. Mucus or blood may be present in your saliva or sputum. A sore throat can sometimes cause ear pain as well. However, there are other causes of a sore throat so it’s important to visit your doctor to confirm that you have tuberculosis.

Night sweats

If you wake up at night with a wet or damp feeling on your skin, night sweats may be a sign of tuberculosis. However, there are many other conditions that cause excessive sweating at night and it’s important to get checked out by a doctor to make sure you don’t have any other health problems. Night sweats can be caused by infections such as tuberculosis, pneumonia, and HIV/AIDS; sleep apnea; hormonal disorders such as diabetes and cancer; and even kidney failure.

Night sweats are defined as profuse sweating while asleep (or waking up) without apparent cause. When it comes to night sweats, doctors look for a body temperature above 37 degrees Celsius (98.6 degrees Fahrenheit). If you’re suffering from insomnia or have noticed you’re sweating excessively during sleep, schedule an appointment with your doctor to rule out tuberculosis. [4]

Weight loss

Many people think that tuberculosis is an infectious disease, but in reality, it’s actually a chronic respiratory disease caused by Mycobacterium tuberculosis. In most cases, tuberculosis can be treated successfully with medication, although if you’re left untreated or don’t follow your doctor’s orders, symptoms will eventually lead to serious health problems and even death. To avoid these outcomes and find out if you have tuberculosis symptoms, take a look at our guide below!

At its early stages, it’s common for people with tuberculosis to lose weight unintentionally or even put on a few pounds because they have trouble eating enough. When you’re infected with TB bacteria but not actively ill (known as latent TB), you typically won’t have any symptoms. And even if you do start to experience symptoms as your infection progresses, many are similar to those brought on by other illnesses, so it can be tough to diagnose at first.

Chest pain

Commonly, tuberculosis causes chest pain—especially upon breathing in. This is a symptom shared with other health conditions, but it’s particularly common among tuberculosis patients. If you experience chest pain for no apparent reason, be sure to seek out medical help to ensure you don’t have tuberculosis.

If you’re suffering from chest pain, coughing up blood, fever or night sweats, it may be time to see a doctor about your tuberculosis (TB) symptoms. Tuberculosis is a bacterial infection that usually occurs in your lungs and is spread through close contact with someone who’s infected. It can also infect other parts of your body and, if not treated properly, can be fatal.

Swollen lymph nodes

One or more enlarged lymph nodes may be felt in your neck, armpit, or groin. They’re most commonly found in your neck, especially near your collarbone and behind your ears. Swollen lymph nodes can be an early sign of a lung infection like tuberculosis. Other infections that may cause swollen lymph nodes to include mononucleosis (Epstein-Barr virus), hepatitis B, and chickenpox

The lymph nodes in your neck, armpits, and groin are your body’s first line of defense against disease. While TB is easily treatable with antibiotics, cancer requires serious and immediate treatment. Always consult your doctor if you have concerns about swollen lymph nodes; these are some signs that should never be ignored

Abdominal pain

This can be caused by an infection in one or more organs and is a common sign of tuberculosis. If you have abdominal pain with your cough, it’s important to seek medical help.

The pain that is associated with tuberculosis can be quite severe. The pain is usually near where your liver or kidney is located. Other symptoms include chills, fever, sweats, and loss of appetite. You may also have a loss of appetite due to nausea and vomiting. These symptoms may occur either early in the disease or later when it becomes more advanced. The earlier you are diagnosed with tuberculosis and treated, however, the better chance you have of being cured without major complications developing down the road.

High heart rate

When your heart beats faster than usual, you’re more likely to experience lightheadedness, dizziness, and faintness. This can occur when you have an infection or if you’re experiencing anxiety or stress. Learn how heart rate impacts your risk for fainting and get tips for reducing your chances of developing high blood pressure.

You might feel like your heart is racing or beating unusually fast. This can lead to increased feelings of anxiety or panic. If you notice symptoms like these, it may be a sign that you have tuberculosis, so you should visit your doctor as soon as possible.

Fatigue (tiredness, weakness)

Almost all patients experience some degree of fatigue as one of their first symptoms. The body fights against TB with an enormous amount of energy, and it can take a while to build up again after such intense use. This isn’t something that will dissipate overnight. Be patient, rest, and don’t force yourself to do more than you are capable of. Fatigue may persist for months or even years if TB has not been properly treated, so if it is prolonged you must have your doctor examine you.

If you are tired or feel weak all of a sudden, it could be an early sign that something is wrong. While fatigue is often a side effect of being sick, if it doesn’t go away after a couple of days you should seek help immediately. Fatigue is not only a symptom but can also be an indicator of TB. If left untreated, TB can cause your body to stop fighting infections and eventually lead to death.

Shortness of breath

One of the most common signs and symptoms of tuberculosis is shortness of breath. Without treatment, your breathing will become more labored over time and you’ll have a hard time doing everyday tasks like exercising or even walking across a room.

This can be a symptom of several lung diseases. It is most often an indication that your lungs aren’t receiving enough oxygen. Look for other signs, such as coughing or fevers, to determine whether it’s tuberculosis or another respiratory illness. Also, see your doctor to rule out any possible side effects from medications you may be taking.



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