A recent study conducted by Amsterdam UMC and the Amsterdam Institute for Global Health and Development (AIGHD) revealed concerning findings about tuberculosis (TB), a highly dangerous infection. Contrary to common belief, more than 80% of TB patients do not exhibit a persistent cough, which has long been considered a primary symptom of the disease. 

The research, which examined data from over 600,000 individuals in Africa and Asia, discovered that 62.5% did not have any cough symptoms at all. These findings were published in the Lancet Infectious Diseases journal.

According to Frank Cobelens, a Professor of Global Health at Amsterdam UMC and Senior Fellow at the AIGHD, a persistent cough is typically the first sign that leads to a TB diagnosis. However, with 80% of TB patients not exhibiting this symptom, diagnoses are often delayed or missed entirely. That is why it is important to explore additional indicators of TB beyond a persistent cough. Here are some warning signs of TB provided by the World Health Organisation:

Fever and Night Sweats

One of the common warning signs of TB is a persistent low-grade fever that may occur intermittently. Additionally, individuals with TB may experience night sweats, which are excessive sweating episodes during sleep. These symptoms are often accompanied by general fatigue and weakness.

Lancet Study Reveals Over 80% of TB Patients Do Not Show Persistent Cough, Other Warning Signs of TB

Unexplained Weight Loss

TB can cause unexplained and significant weight loss over a relatively short period. This weight loss is often due to a combination of factors, including reduced appetite, metabolic changes, and the body’s response to infection. If you notice a sudden and unexplained decline in weight, it could be a sign of TB or another underlying health issue.

Loss of Appetite

People with TB may experience a loss of appetite, leading to reduced food intake. This lack of appetite can contribute to weight loss and nutritional deficiencies if not addressed promptly. It’s essential to pay attention to changes in eating habits and appetite, especially if accompanied by other TB symptoms.

Chest Pain and Breathing Difficulties

In addition to a persistent cough, TB can cause chest pain and discomfort, particularly when breathing deeply or coughing. Some individuals may also experience shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, especially as the disease progresses. These respiratory symptoms should not be ignored and warrant medical evaluation.

Also Read: Here’s How Garlic Juice Can Help You To Prevent Tuberculosis

Lancet Study Reveals Over 80% of TB Patients Do Not Show Persistent Cough, Other Warning Signs of TB

Fatigue and Weakness

TB can lead to persistent fatigue and weakness, even with adequate rest. This fatigue is often more pronounced than typical tiredness and can interfere with daily activities and productivity. If you find yourself feeling unusually tired and weak, it’s essential to consider TB as a potential cause.

Swollen Lymph Nodes

TB can cause the lymph nodes, particularly those in the neck, to become swollen and tender. This swelling, known as lymphadenitis, may be accompanied by redness and warmth around the affected area. Swollen lymph nodes are a sign of the body’s immune response to TB infection.

Respiratory Symptoms in Children

In children, TB may present with respiratory symptoms such as rapid breathing, wheezing, and difficulty feeding. Children with TB may also experience failure to thrive, delayed growth, and developmental issues if the infection is not diagnosed and treated early.

Also Read: Consistent Decline In Air Quality Can Lead To M. Tuberculosis, Revealed Study

If you experience any of the aforementioned symptoms or have concerns about TB, consult a healthcare professional for evaluation and testing. Early diagnosis and treatment not only improve outcomes for individuals with TB but also help prevent the transmission of the disease within communities. Regular screenings and awareness of TB symptoms are key in the fight against this infectious disease.

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