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9 Signs of Severe Tuberculosis (TB)

Tuberculosis, or TB, is a highly contagious bacterial infection that primarily affects the lungs. In most cases, TB can be treated successfully with a combination of antibiotics, but if left untreated, it can become a life-threatening condition. Here are nine signs of severe TB that require immediate medical attention.

1. Persistent cough

One of the most common symptoms of TB is a persistent cough that lasts for more than three weeks. This cough may be accompanied by the production of phlegm, which may be bloody in severe cases. A persistent cough is often the first sign of TB and should not be ignored.

2. Chest pain

As TB progresses, it can cause pain in the chest, particularly during coughing or breathing. This pain may be a sign of inflammation or damage to the lung tissue caused by the TB infection.

3. Fatigue

Chronic fatigue and weakness are common symptoms of TB, especially in the later stages of the disease. This is often due to the body's immune system fighting the infection, which can be very draining on the body.

4. Fever

A low-grade fever is a common sign of TB, especially when the infection has become severe. A fever is the body's natural response to an infection, and it is an indication that the body is trying to fight off the bacteria that are causing the disease.

5. Night sweats

Many people with TB experience night sweats, which can be severe enough to soak through their clothes and bedding. Night sweats are often accompanied by other symptoms such as fever, fatigue, and weight loss.

6. Unexplained weight loss

Unexplained weight loss is another common symptom of TB, particularly when the infection has become severe. This is often due to a loss of appetite caused by the infection, as well as the body's immune system using up energy to fight the bacteria.

7. Shortness of breath

TB can cause shortness of breath, particularly when the infection has spread to other parts of the body. This can be a sign of damage to the lung tissue caused by the infection, and it should be taken seriously.

8. Swollen lymph nodes

TB can cause swollen lymph nodes, particularly in the neck, which may be tender to the touch. Swollen lymph nodes are a sign that the body's immune system is fighting an infection.

9. Coughing up blood

Coughing up blood, also known as hemoptysis, is a severe symptom of TB that requires immediate medical attention. This is often a sign that the infection has caused significant damage to the lung tissue, and it can be life-threatening.

TB is a serious condition that requires prompt medical attention. If you are experiencing any of the symptoms mentioned above, it is important to seek medical advice as soon as possible. Early detection and treatment are essential for a successful recovery from TB.

How is TB diagnosed and treated?

If you are experiencing any of the symptoms of TB mentioned above, your doctor may recommend a TB test. This may involve a skin test or a blood test to check for the presence of TB bacteria in your body.

If you are diagnosed with TB, your doctor will likely prescribe a course of antibiotics to help treat the infection. It is important to take these antibiotics as directed and to complete the full course of treatment, even if you start to feel better.

In some cases, TB can be resistant to antibiotics, which can make treatment more difficult. This is known as drug-resistant TB, and it requires a different approach to treatment.