Board Certified Pulmonologists & Board Certified Sleep Medicine Physicians located in Joliet and New Lenox, IL


About Tuberculosis

Every year, 8,300 Americans receive a tuberculosis (TB) diagnosis, and up to 13 million currently live with a dormant TB infection that could activate at any time. If you have signs of an active TB infection, you can depend on comprehensive treatment from board-certified pulmonologists at Midwest Respiratory, Ltd. in Joliet and New Lenox, Illinois. Early treatment of a TB infection is essential to reduce the risk of spreading the bacteria to people around you. Call the nearest office or book an appointment online today to learn if your symptoms are caused by TB.

Tuberculosis Q & A

What is tuberculosis?

Tuberculosis (TB) is a bacterial infection that most often affects your lungs but can also develop in other body areas, including your spine, kidneys, and brain.

You may have inactive (latent) TB, meaning you have the bacterial infection, but you don’t have symptoms because the bacteria is dormant. Active TB occurs when you have symptoms.

Active TB is contagious, spreading through the air when you cough, sneeze, speak, or sing. Though you can spread or catch TB from anyone, the bacteria typically affects the people you spend the most time with, like your family, friends, and coworkers.

Am I at risk for tuberculosis?

One of the top risks for tuberculosis is living, working, or spending time with someone who has an active TB infection.

Your risk of developing a TB infection also significantly increases if you have any of the following:

  • HIV infection
  • Weak immune system
  • Substance use disorder
  • Diabetes
  • Kidney disease
  • Long-term corticosteroid use
  • Long-term use of TNF inhibitors

TNF inhibitors are used to treat autoimmune conditions like rheumatoid arthritis and inflammatory bowel disease.

What symptoms does TB cause?

The symptoms you experience depend on where the bacteria are growing in your body. When the bacteria first takes hold, you may have general symptoms like fatigue, fever, and coughing. 

These initial symptoms disappear when your immune system inactivates the bacteria and it goes dormant.

But if your immune system can’t control the bacteria and an active infection develops in your lungs, you have one or more of the following symptoms:

  • Cough (lasting longer than two weeks)
  • Chest pain
  • Coughing up blood or mucus
  • Pain when breathing or coughing
  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Night sweats
  • Loss of appetite
  • Fatigue

Don’t wait to seek care at Midwest Respiratory, Ltd. if your symptoms are severe, don’t improve, or worsen.

How is tuberculosis treated?

Your provider diagnoses tuberculosis with a skin or blood test. You may also need a chest X-ray, a sputum test to identify bacteria, or other lab tests, depending on your symptoms.

After diagnosing TB, your provider treats the infection with one of several possible medications, often prescribing several medications to ensure the bacteria are completely eliminated.

If you have questions about your symptoms or want a TB evaluation, don’t wait to schedule an appointment. Call Midwest Respiratory, Ltd. today or use online booking to get the expert TB care you need.