- Common symptoms of TB include:
o Low-grade fever with evening rise of temperature for at least 3 weeks
o Cough with sputum production for at least 3 weeks
o Weight loss
o Decrease in appetite (anorexia)
o Fatigue / lethargy
Other features include:
o Night sweats
o Coughing of blood (haemoptysis)
o Chest pain
- Symptoms related to other organs involved by the disease include:
o TB of the lymph node – Although node enlargement may occur at any site, the cervical (neck) nodes are most commonly involved (other sites include the armpit and the groin). Patient presents with a painless swelling in the neck / other sites with or without overlying skin involvement. If left untreated abscess (collection of pus) formation may occur which may later rupture.
o TB of the brain coverings (meningitis) – It causes high-grade fever, headache, vomiting, convulsions, stiffness of the neck and disordered consciousness.
o Abdominal TB – The tuberculosis of intestine (common site being the ileo-cecal region) and peritoneum can cause diarrhea or constipation, pain in abdomen, malabsorption, ascites (collection of fluid in the abdominal cavity)
o TB of the spine – It may be seen as a swelling on the back (hunch back) or may manifest as a severe backache. If left untreated it can cause collapse of the vertebra and “cold abscess” formation.
o TB of the joints – It may involve one or more big joints (e.g. hip, knee) causing swelling, pain and decrease in movement of the joint.
o TB of the kidney – It presents as increased frequency of urine day and night and painless passage of blood / pus in the urine (hematuria).
o TB of the reproductive organs – It is usually seen in women and commonly affects the uterus and the fallopian tubes. Symptoms include absence of menses (amenorrhea), irregular bleeding (menorrhagia), abdominal pain, vaginal discharge. TB may also cause blockage of the fallopian tubes resulting in infertility.
o TB of the skin– It presents as non-healing ulcers on the skin. TB of skin is called lupus vulgaris characterized by brown tubercles on face (especially nose and ear). TB may also be manifested as erythema nodosum characterized by painful red eruptions in the front of legs, and joint pain.
o TB of the eye – It presents as blindness or decrease in vision.
TB of the Pericardium – This form of TB is very uncommon. It involves the pericardium (covering around the heart) and may present as pericardial effusion (collection of fluid or blood in the pericardial sac around the heart) and cardiac tamponade (acute heart failure because of compression of heart due to large or rapidly developing effusion). Symptoms include fever, shortness of breath and enlarged neck veins.