How To Tell If You Have Tuberculosis: Recognizing The Signs And Symptoms

Tuberculosis usually infects the lungs, breaking down the tissue there. Our body’s natural response is to remove the irritant by coughing.

Figure out how long you’ve been coughing; Tuberculosis usually lasts for more than 3 weeks and may include such worrisome signs as bloody sputum.

Consider how long you’ve taken over-the-counter cold/flu medications or antibiotics for a respiratory infection with no relief. TB needs very specific antibacterial drugs, and starting therapy requires screening and confirming TB.

Below are other ways to recognize signs and symptoms of tuberculosis:

Have you noticed any sputum (sticky discharge) when coughing? If it smells and is dark, it can be any type of bacterial infection. If it’s clear and odorless, it can be a viral infection.

Take notice if there’s been any blood when coughing into your hands or tissues. When TB cavities and nodules form, nearby blood vessels may get destroyed, leading to hemoptysis — coughing up blood.

Chest pain can suggest a wide variety of issues, but when taken together with other symptoms, they can point to TB. If you feel a sharp pain, it can point to a specific, localized area. Note particularly if it hurts when you apply pressure to that area, or if it hurts when you breath in and out or when you cough.

  • TB forms hard cavities and nodules against the lungs/chest wall. When we breathe, these hard masses cause damage to the area, leading to inflammation at the site. Pain tends to be sharp, localized to a specific area, and reproducible when we put pressure on it.

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The body has a complex response to the Mycobacterium tuberculosis bacteria that results in poor nutrient absorption and altered protein metabolism. These changes might persist for months without your noticing them.

  • Look in the mirror and note any changes to your body. If you can see the outline of your bones, this indicates you don’t have enough muscle mass due to lack of protein and fat.
  • Measure your weight on a scale. Use a previous but recent weight from when you were feeling healthy as a comparison. Weight changes vary, but you should address any drastic changes with your healthcare provider.
  • Note whether your clothes feel looser
  • Keep track of how often you’ve been eating and compare it to when you last felt healthy.

Bacteria usually reproduce at around normal body temperature (98.6 °F, 37.0 °C). The brain and immune system respond by raising the body’s temperature to stop the bug from reproducing.

The rest of the body detects this change, then attempts to adjust to this new temperature by contracting muscles (shivers), making you feel chills. Tuberculosis also causes specific inflammatory proteins that aid in fever production to be produced.

A latent TB infection is dormant and not infectious. The bacteria simply resides in body with no harm. Reactivation can occur in those with reduced immunity, as listed above. It can also occur with increased age due to weakening of the immune system. Reactivation sometimes also occurs for other, unknown reasons.

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