Tuberculosis, or as is commonly known as TB, is a respiratory disease that is caused by a type of bacteria known as mycobacterium tuberculosis and other endemic fungi. It is spread from one person to another through air or tiny droplets of saliva when an infected person coughs, sneezes or speaks closely to another uninfected person. It affects the lungs and causes difficulty in breathing, chest pains and if not treated early enough, it can even lead to death. This article looks at the first signs of tuberculosis that you should pay attention to.
After getting into the body through an infected air or droplets of saliva from an infected person, the bacteria goes directly into the air circulation system. While in the lungs, the bacteria attracts other cells that eventually form a nodular granulomatous structure called a tubercle. The tubercle then blocks the space occupied by the lung spores, hence making breathing complicated. You may experience wheezing sound when breathing or sometimes you may have consistent coughs, which may be coupled with blood on some occasions. If not blood, the cough could be having some yellowish sputum. People infected with TB are advised to ensure they maintain enough gaps with others or keep away from their loved ones. Besides, they are supposed to cover their mouth with a piece of cloth when speaking to other people or when coughing.
- Chest Pain
Upon the bacteria getting into the body, it goes straight into the breathing system and ends up settling on the surface of the lungs. The bacterium blocks the spores of the lungs, hence making breathing very difficult. This may cause you to start experiencing chest pains as you struggle with increased heart rates due to difficulty in breathing. The chest pain may go from being mild to severe, in which case you must see a doctor for treatment and pain relievers.
- Weight Loss
In most cases when you are sick, you are likely to lose weight because of a major loss of appetite. Loss of appetite comes because of a consistent feeling of nausea and sometimes vomiting. Since you rarely or do not eat at all, you lose weight so fast and become so thin that you are often feeling weak and tired. This becomes worse if the person has a weakened immune system from other conditions and diseases such as HIV/AIDS, in which case antiretroviral drugs are recommended to arrest the effects of TB on positive individuals. It is important to note that TB is curable with proper medication, even on people with HIV/AIDS. People infected with TB should be subjected to bed rest until they regain their weight and strength, with proper medical care and medication.
Although one may experience some levels of fatigue sometimes after hard work, or after a heavy workout, people infected with TB often experience severe fatigue because they barely eat due to loss of appetite. The fatigue is usually so much that TB patients only result in bed rest until the fatigue goes away.
Fever is usually low grade at onset but becomes marked with progression of disease. It classically presents with an afebrile period early in the morning and a gradually rising temperature throughout the day, reaching a peak in the late afternoon or evening. Fever subsides during sleep, but night sweats may occur. Fever and night sweats are more common among patients with advanced pulmonary TB. At times, someone may be infected with TB, the bacteria remains in the body and does not multiply enough to cause any effects on the carrier. The bacteria may or may not become active in later years where the effects will be the same as those of active TB. In addition to this, the bacteria may start multiplying immediately after getting into the body. That is the main reason why among the first signs and symptoms of TB are difficulty in breathing, coughing coupled with blood, chest pain and fever, and wheezing sounds that may be coupled with yellowish sputum. In case you experience any of these sings, you should consider visiting a doctor as soon as possible.