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Pulmonary tuberculosis: symptoms and first signs in adults

Tuberculosis is an infectious process, the onset of which is provoked by various types of mycobacteria. When a disease is detected in the initial stage of development, the chances of successful treatment are much higher than when diagnosing pathology in the later stages. Lung tissue is most often affected, but other organs are also affected.

Mycobacterium tuberculosis is extremely resistant to various environmental factors and can be in the soil or water for a long time, which explains the wide spread of the disease between people.


Ways of infection with tuberculosis

In most cases, infection with tuberculosis is provoked by the Koch wand. There are several ways to transmit the disease:

  1. Through the air - when talking to a sick person or a carrier, in the process of communication and inhalation of microparticles of saliva released by coughing or sneezing;
  2. Through the digestive tract - when a person eats food infected with mycobacteria. This type of transmission of tuberculosis is extremely rare;
  3. Placental route - from a sick mother to the fetus or during the passage of the child through the birth canal.

When airborne droplets become infected with mycobacteria, the pulmonary form of tuberculosis develops, but if the Koch wand was transmitted to a person in some other way, then most likely the other organs will develop tuberculosis, in particular:

  • Skin;
  • Organs of vision;
  • Musculoskeletal system;
  • CNS or meninges;
  • Digestive organs;
  • Urinary System Organs.

The first signs and symptoms of pulmonary tuberculosis, photo

The first signs and symptoms of tuberculosis

photo 1

The symptoms of tuberculosis in adults are somewhat different from the clinic of the disease in pediatric practice. At an early stage for a long time, there are no clinical signs of the disease, so it is important for the patient to carefully consider their health and seek medical help for the slightest symptoms of indisposition.

The following symptoms should alert and become a reason for contacting the clinic:

  1. Weakness and lethargy;
  2. Fast fatiguability;
  3. Constant causeless vertigo;
  4. Increased sweating, especially during nighttime sleep;
  5. Pale skin against the background of pronounced cheeks blush;
  6. Deterioration of appetite, rapid weight loss;
  7. Increase in body temperature to subfebrile marks (not higher than 37.5) in the absence of other signs of viral infection.

Often these symptoms are early symptoms of tuberculosis, so the patient should contact the therapist for an examination and comprehensive diagnosis (see photo).

Photo of tuberculosis symptoms

Photo of tuberculosis symptoms

As the disease spreads and the lungs become more and more affected, other symptoms of tuberculosis are added:

  1. Chronic cough, dry or with productive sputum;
  2. Shortness of breath, which first appears during physical exertion, and as the pathology progresses, at rest;
  3. Variable rales in the lungs, which are detected by the doctor during auscultation of the patient;
  4. Low fever (increased body temperature to 37.5 degrees on the background of relative health);
  5. Rapid weight loss and lack of appetite, while diseases of the digestive tract organs are not detected;
  6. Discomfort and pain in the chest during a deep breath - this symptom of turebculosis is present if the pleura is involved in the pathological process.

Particular attention, with suspected tuberculosis, is paid to the nature of cough and the presence in the sputum of various impurities (pus, blood). One of the symptoms of tuberculosis at an early stage is the appearance of cough.

With the development of the inflammatory process in the lung tissue, the respiratory organs cannot work fully, as a result of which the patient feels a lump in the chest and constantly tries to cough up it.

With frequent coughing, tension of the diaphragm and pleural sheets occurs, which provokes the emergence of new coughing episodes and the involvement of these organs in the pathological process.

Pay attention to discharge when coughing

Pay attention to discharge when coughing

With pulmonary tuberculosis, the patient has sputum, often with blood and pus. This biological material contains a huge amount of mycobacterium tuberculosis, therefore, bacteriological analysis of sputum is prescribed to confirm the correct diagnosis.

There are several stages of pulmonary tuberculosis:

The stage of primary infection - the pathological process develops in the place where the infectious pathogen directly hit. Lymph node tuberculosis most often develops in this stage, the first signs and symptoms appear as the disease progresses and the infection spreads to nearby organs.

The stage of latent infection - with a weakened patient's immunity, mycobacteria from the primary focus of infection with blood or lymph spread to other organs and tissues, forming new foci of disease there.

The stage of relapse of the adult type - the formed tuberculous foci infect the internal organs, in particular the lung tissue. If the cavity formed by infiltration breaks into the respiratory tract, the patient becomes infectious to others and then they talk about the open form of tuberculosis.

Symptoms of other forms of tuberculosis

Depending on the location of the pathological process, symptoms of other forms of tuberculosis are:

  • Diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, fever, spastic pain in the lower abdomen and blood in the stools when forming foci of infection in the digestive tract;
  • Headaches, dizziness, vomiting of the central genesis (irritation of the vomiting center in the brain), muscle stiffness, as a result of which the normal body movements of the person are disturbed - if the foci of tuberculosis are localized in the central nervous system;
  • Pain in the joints, back, stiffness in movement - bone tuberculosis;
  • Cystitis, pain during urination, cramping - tuberculosis of urinary organs;
  • Formation of seals on the skin surface, which subsequently erupt and pus is released from them - skin tuberculosis.

These clinical symptoms may be signs of other serious diseases, which can only be diagnosed in the clinic.

How to recognize tuberculosis?

Diagnosis of tuberculosis, a photo of a patient’s lungs

Diagnosis of tuberculosis, a photo of a patient’s lungs

For the purpose of prevention, all people are shown to undergo a diagnostic examination once a year - fluorography. FG is an x-ray of the chest, which is clearly visible darkening, if the patient suffers from pulmonary tuberculosis.

Children are given an annual Mantoux test, the indicators of which allow to judge about the presence of immunity to tuberculosis. 0.1 ml of tuberculin, an incomplete Mycobacterium tuberculosis antigen, is injected intracutaneously into the child. On day 3 after the test, the papule diameter is evaluated.

Normally, the diameter of the papule should not exceed 5 mm, if it is larger or does not appear at all after the test, the patient should be shown to a doctor and additional diagnostic methods should be carried out.

Bacterial sputum culture reveals the presence of mycobacteria or atypical cells in the secretions, this study is prescribed to patients with suspected tuberculosis.

It is possible to diagnose non-lung forms of tuberculosis through additional methods of examination - MRI , CT.


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