Although tuberculosis (TB) is most frequently associated with symptoms involving the lungs—because the disease most often affects the lungs—it can affect any organ of the body. The disease can cause a variety of symptoms. If you have symptoms, your doctor will want to know when they began.
People with latent TB infection (an infection without active disease) have no symptoms.
The usual symptoms of TB include:
- Night sweats
- Loss of appetite
- Weight loss
- Blood in the sputum (phlegm)
- Loss of energy
The symptoms may be mild and may not seem particularly worrisome to the patient. In other people, the symptoms become chronic and severe.
Other symptoms of active TB disease depend on where in the body the bacteria are growing. If active TB disease is in the lungs (pulmonary TB), the symptoms may include a bad cough, pain in the chest, and coughing up blood. If active TB is outside the lungs (for example, the kidney, spine, brain, or lymph nodes), it is called extrapulmonary TB and has other symptoms, depending on which organs are affected. For example, tuberculosis in the spine may cause back pain or stiffness.