Indications of active tuberculosis

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Tuberculosis is still considered one of the major health threats globally. Tuberculosis can be latent or active. When it comes to latent tuberculosis, the bacteria are inactive and could not cause any symptoms. As for active tuberculosis, the causative bacteria Mycobacterium tuberculosis are multiplying actively, thus causing a symptomatic and communicable condition.

Fever, chills and night sweating

Always bear in mind that fever is a typical symptom of active tuberculosis. The chills can occur along with fever in most cases. The soaking night sweats can soil up the linens and bed clothes. All of these are the distinctive symptoms that an individual has active tuberculosis. On the other hand, the night sweating might not be present in all cases and can be triggered by other conditions other than tuberculosis.

Appetite loss and weight loss

Active tuberculosis

Many experience chronic fatigue which is a feeling of extreme tiredness that could not be relieved by sleep or rest.

Many individuals who end up with tuberculosis can experience appetite loss and unintentional weight loss. In severe cases, the muscle mass of the individual might start to diminish due to the extreme weight loss.

Fatigue, weakness and malaise

Individuals who have active tuberculosis do not feel well. Many experience chronic fatigue which is a feeling of extreme tiredness that could not be relieved by sleep or rest. This is quite common in most cases. In addition, there is physical weakness and a diminished tolerance for any form of physical activity.

Productive cough

Active tuberculosis can cause a productive, persistent cough. If the individual has productive cough that lasts for more than 2-3 weeks, it might be tuberculosis. At the start of the disease, the cough is usually dry. Over time, it becomes productive with yellowish-green phlegm.

As the infection progresses, the amount of phlegm that is generated increases. In most cases, the phlegm can contain streaks of blood. Even though uncommon, active tuberculosis can cause brisk bleeding in the lungs which results to substantial amounts of blood being coughed up along with breathing distress.

Shortness of breath

Always bear in mind that both lungs are usually involved during an infection. The inflammation that was caused by the infection and the destructive nature of the bacteria can lead to a decrease in the normal functional capacity of the lungs. Understandably, this results to shortness of breath.

Pleuritic chest pain

Tuberculosis often causes chest pain in most cases. Although the lungs are not capable to feel pain, they are lined with thin sacs known as pleura that have pain innervation. Active tuberculosis can cause the inflammation of the pleura that triggers pain as the lungs move in the pleural sacs. Coughing and deep inhalation can instigate pain which is called as pleuritic chest pain.

Difficulty swallowing and hoarseness

Active tuberculosis might also affect the trachea which is the tube that transports air from the nose and mouth to the lungs. Difficulty in swallowing and hoarseness are typical symptoms once the trachea is involved.

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At St Mark James Training we work hard to ensure accurate and useful information on our blog website. However, the information that we post on our website is purely for educational purposes and should not be used as diagnosis or treatment. If you need medical advise please contact a medical professional

  • All stmarkjamestraining.ca content is reviewed by a medical professional and / sourced to ensure as much factual accuracy as possible.

  • We have strict sourcing guidelines and only link to reputable websites, academic research institutions and medical articles.

  • If you feel that any of our content is inaccurate, out-of-date, or otherwise questionable, please contact us through our contact us page.