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Tuberculosis (TB) : Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis and Treatment

What is Tuberculosis?

Tuberculosis (TB) is a potentially serious infectious disease that mainly affects your lungs. The bacteria that cause tuberculosis are spread from one person to another through tiny droplets released into the air via coughs and sneezes.

Once rare in developed countries, tuberculosis infections began increasing in 1985, partly because of the emergence of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. HIV weakens a person's immune system so it can't fight the TB germs. In the United States, because of stronger control programs, tuberculosis began to decrease again in 1993, but remains a concern.

Tuberculosis is also known as TB. Tuberculosis belongs under the category of Bacterial disease. ACTIVE TB, MILIARY TB and LATENT TB INFECTION are some common types of Tuberculosis. Generally Male, Female, Child are the victim of the Tuberculosis. Seriousness of this disease is Serious.

Symptoms of Tuberculosis are :

  • Medium Fever
  • A fever is a higher-than-normal body temperature. It?s a sign of your body's natural fight against infection.

    • For adults, a fever is when your temperature is higher than 100.4°F.
    • For kids, a fever is when their temperature is higher than 100.4°F (measured rectally); 99.5°F (measured orally); or 99°F (measured under the arm).

    The average normal body temperature is 98.6° Fahrenheit (or 37° Celsius). When you or your child?s temperature rises a few degrees above normal, it?s a sign that the body is healthy and fighting infection. In most cases, that?s a good thing.

    But when a fever rises above 102°F it should be treated at home and, if necessary, by your healthcare provider if the fever doesn?t go down after a few days.

  • Weight loss
  • Sudden, noticeable weight loss can happen after a stressful event, although it can also be a sign of a serious illness.

    It's normal to lose a noticeable amount of weight after the stress of changing jobs, divorce, redundancy or bereavement.

    Weight often returns to normal when you start to feel happier, after you've had time to grieve or get used to the change. Counselling and support may be needed to help you get to this stage.

    Significant weight loss can also be the result of an eating disorder, such as anorexia or bulimia. If you think you have an eating disorder, talk to someone you trust and consider speaking to your GP. There are also several organisations that can provide you with information and advice, such as the eating disorders charity Beat.

    If your weight loss wasn't due to one of the causes mentioned, and you didn't lose weight through dieting or exercising, see your GP, as you may have an illness that needs treating.

  • High Chest pain
  • Chest pain can be a sign of a heart attack or other cardiac condition, but it can also be a symptom of problems related to:

    • respiration
    • digestion
    • bones and muscles
    • other aspects of physical and mental health

    Chest pain should always be taken seriously, even if it?s mild or you don?t suspect a life-threatening condition.

    Learning to recognize when chest pain should be treated as a medical emergency and when it should be reported to your doctor at your next appointment could help you prevent major medical complications down the road.

  • Night sweats
  • Night sweats are repeated episodes of extreme perspiration that may soak your nightclothes or bedding and are related to an underlying medical condition or illness.

    You may occasionally awaken after having perspired excessively, particularly if you are sleeping under too many blankets or if your bedroom is too warm. Although uncomfortable, these episodes are usually not labeled as night sweats and typically aren't a sign of a medical problem.

    In general, night sweats are also associated with fever, weight loss, localized pain, cough, diarrhea, or other symptoms of concern.

  • Loss of appetite
  • Fatigue is a constant state of tiredness, even when you?ve gotten your usual amount of sleep. This symptom develops over time and causes a drop in your physical, emotional, and psychological energy levels. You?re also more likely to feel unmotivated to participate in or do activities you normally enjoy.

    Some other signs of fatigue include feeling:

    • physically weaker than usual
    • tired, despite rest
    • as though you have less stamina or endurance than normal
    • mentally tired and moody

    Loss of appetite means you don?t have the same desire to eat as you used to. Signs of decreased appetite include not wanting to eat, unintentional weight loss, and not feeling hungry. The idea of eating food may make you feel nauseous, as if you might vomit after eating. Long-term loss of appetite is also known as anorexia, which can have a medical or psychological cause.

    It may be a warning sign from your body when you feel fatigue and loss of appetite together. Read on to see what conditions may cause these symptoms.

  • shaking chills
  • The shaking chills are sometimes referred to as rigors. They are kind of like shivering when you have an infection and fever, but much more intense. Teens usually get shaking chills from very bad infections, some drugs, and sometimes during blood transfusions. If you read the section on Fever, you will learn what causes your body to have a fever. Essentially, when your body senses a foreign substance ? germs, drugs, someone else?s blood ? it responds by increasing your body temperature, so it can fight off the perceived intruder. When your body temperature rises, the surface air feels cold and you begin to shiver. Sometimes the shivers are very intense and become shaking chills or rigors. One common anti-fungal medicine that often causes rigors is amphotericin (or sometimes referred to as ampho-terrible!). If this happens to you, your medical team may be able to switch you to a different type of amphotericin called liposomal amphotericin. You may also have the shaking chills when getting a blood transfusion. Even though the white blood cells (which often cause a reaction) have been filtered out of donated blood, a few remaining cells may cause you to have this reaction. Many teens describe this as one of the most frightening side effects of treatment. If you have this reaction, you will start feeling very cold. Soon, despite all efforts to get warm, you may begin shaking uncontrollably. The first time it happens you may think you are having some kind of seizure. Very scary! After a while, the chills and shaking will subside and you will feel very warm. Off come the blankets and heating pads and out come the cool washcloths! Read more about this in the Fever section.

  • Fatigue/weakness
  • Weakness

    Weakness is when strength is decreased and extra effort is needed to move a certain part of the body or the entire body. Weakness is due to loss of muscle strength. Weakness can be a big part of why cancer patients feel fatigue.

    Fatigue

    Fatigue is an extreme feeling of tiredness or lack of energy, often described as being exhausted. Fatigue is something that lasts even when a person seems to be getting enough sleep. It can have many causes, including working too much, having disturbed sleep, stress and worry, not having enough physical activity, and going through an illness and its treatment.

  • Coughing up blood
  • Seeing blood when you cough can be alarming, whether it?s a large or small amount. Coughing up blood is nearly always a symptom of a disease.

    The seriousness of the condition depends on the amount of blood and the length of time the blood is being coughed up, but this symptom should never be ignored.

    The blood you cough up may come from your nose, throat, upper airways, or lungs. The medical term for coughing up blood is hemoptysis.

  • Cough for three or more week
  • When you?re sick or your lungs have become irritated, your body reacts by coughing. This is your body?s defense mechanism to clear out any mucus, allergens, or pollutants so that you don?t keep breathing it in. Coughing is usually nothing to be concerned about. When a cough is a symptom of a cold, it tends to clear up on its own within two or three weeks.

    A lingering cough or a chronic cough not brought on by a recent cold can be an indicator of a more serious condition. Coughs that last longer than eight weeksTrusted Source for adults, or four weeks in children, are considered chronic.

    Causes

    Tuberculosis can be caused due to:

    • Bacteria spread by infected person.

    What kind of precaution should be taken in Tuberculosis?

    • Always cover your mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze.
    • Wash your hands after coughing or sneezing.
    • Don't visit other people and don't invite them to visit you.

    How it can be spread?

    • Through air from person to person

    Treatment for the Tuberculosis

    For tuberculosis, you must take antibiotics for at least six to nine months. The exact drugs and length of treatment depend on your age, overall health, possible drug resistance and the infection's location in the body.

    Possible complication with Tuberculosis

    Without treatment, tuberculosis can be fatal. Untreated active disease typically affects your lungs, but it can spread to other parts of your body through your bloodstream. Examples of tuberculosis complications include:

    • Spinal pain. Back pain and stiffness are common complications of tuberculosis.
    • Joint damage. Tuberculous arthritis usually affects the hips and knees.
    • Swelling of the membranes that cover your brain (meningitis). This can cause a lasting or intermittent headache that occurs for weeks. Mental changes also are possible.
    • Liver or kidney problems. Your liver and kidneys help filter waste and impurities from your bloodstream. These functions become impaired if the liver or kidneys are affected by tuberculosis.
    • Heart disorders. Rarely, tuberculosis can infect the tissues that surround your heart, causing inflammation and fluid collections that may interfere with your heart's ability to pump effectively. This condition, called cardiac tamponade, can be fatal.

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