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TB Symptoms - What Are The Signs Of Tuberculosis?

Written and reviewed by
Dr. Mool Chand Gupta 93% (36829 ratings)
MD - Pulmonary, DTCD
Pulmonologist, Faridabad  •  44 years experience
TB Symptoms - What Are The Signs Of Tuberculosis?

Tuberculosis (TB) is one of most deadly diseases know globally. It is an infectious disease occurring in many developing and developed countries as well. However, more patients can be seen coming from developing nations. According to WHO (World Health Organisation), 9 million people suffer from TB in a year. Tuberculosis is one of the diseases leading to deaths among women aged between 15 to 40 years.

The main cause of TB is a bacterium called Mycobacterium tuberculosis. It is an infectious disease that is also contagious. However, tuberculosis can be of two varying types:

  1. Latent TB- In this case, the bacteria causing TB remains inactive in a person’s body and does not show any signs and symptoms of TB. However, it may become active. An estimated 2 million people have latent TB and need to be treated.
  2. Active TB- The bacteria causing TB is active and results in various symptoms which can be transmitted from one person to another.

Some of the signs and symptoms of active TB are:

  1. Severe Cough
  2. Coughing up Blood (Hemoptysis)
  3. Chest Pain
  4. Loss of Weight
  5. Fatigue
  6. Fever
  7. Night Sweats
  8. Decreased Appetite
  9. Feeling Cold
  10. Having Difficulty in Breathing
  11. Swollen Lymph Nodes

There are other types of TB occurring among people that have many more symptoms:

  1. Skeletal TB (Pott’s Disease)
  2. TB Meningitis- headaches, mental changes and coma
  3. TB Arthritis- usually pain in knees and joints
  4. Genitourinary TB- dysuria, flank pain, increased frequency, masses or lumps
  5. Gastrointestinal TB- problem in swallowing, ulcers, mal-absorption and diarrhoea
  6. Military TB- It is basically small nodules that occur in organs
  7. Pleural TB- This basically refers to the respiratory problems of empyema and pleural effusions
  8. Multidrug-resistant Tuberculosis (MDR TB)- People suffering from TB and having medications for it may develop a resistant to certain drugs over time.
  9. XDR TB- Patients being drug resistant to tuberculosis drugs. XDR stands for extensively drug-resistant.
  10. Caseous TB- Necrotic (dead and dying) tissue infected with TB has a dry and cheesy appearance.

These were some of the symptoms associated with various types of Tuberculosis. However, its diagnosis may range of doing a skin test to blood tests to x-rays to sputum tests. Along with this doctors use a stethoscope to listen to the sounds of lungs.

What you need to keep in mind is that TB affects other parts of the body as well. If you are having tuberculosis in your kidneys, then it results in loss of blood through urine. So you need to observant and report to your doctor accordingly.

As TB is a contagious disease, its treatments require certain medications which have to be consumed for a period of 6 months. For effective results and better recovery, doctors advise patients to complete the full course of medications.

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