What is Tuberculosis?
Tuberculosis (sometimes just called TB) is an infectious disease that affects the lungs. TB is contagious and can be spread when someone who has an active form of the disease talks, sneezes, coughs, or spits. Anyone can get TB, but the people most at risk are the ones with compromised immune systems – like people with diabetes, kidney disease, certain cancers, or HIV/AIDS. A person can also have inactive TB, which is when the bacteria that causes this disease is present in the body but does not cause any symptoms.
There are a number of potentially life-threatening complications that can accompany TB, but in most cases, seeking treatment when symptoms first appear can keep it from progressing to that point.
Symptoms of Tuberculosis
- Chest pain, especially when breathing or coughing
- Persistent cough that lasts for more than three weeks
- Coughing up blood
- Night sweats
- Unintentional weight loss
When you first see a doctor for potential TB, you will likely have a physical exam and some sort of medical testing to confirm your diagnosis – usually a blood test or skin test. In the event that tuberculosis is found, several months of antibiotics will likely be prescribed.
Tuberculosis May Also be Know as
- Pulmonary tuberculosis