Preparing for your appointment

If you suspect that you have tuberculosis, contact your primary care doctor. You may be referred to a doctor who specializes in infectious diseases or lung diseases (pulmonologist).

What you can do

  • Be aware of any pre-appointment restrictions. At the time you make the appointment, be sure to ask if there's anything you need to do in advance.
  • Write down any symptoms you're experiencing, including any that may seem unrelated to the reason for which you scheduled the appointment.
  • Write down key personal information, including any recent life changes or international travel.
  • Make a list of all medications, vitamins or supplements that you're taking.
  • Write down questions to ask your doctor.

Preparing a list of questions can help you make the most of your time with your doctor. For tuberculosis, some basic questions to ask your doctor include:

  • What's the most likely cause of my symptoms?
  • Do I need any tests?
  • What treatments are available? Which do you recommend?
  • What if the treatment doesn't work?
  • How long do I have to stay on the treatment?
  • How often do I need to follow up with you?
  • I have other health problems. How can I best manage these conditions together?

What to expect from your doctor

Your doctor may ask some of the following questions:

  • What are your symptoms, and when did they start?
  • Does anyone you know have active tuberculosis?
  • Do you have HIV or AIDS?
  • Were you born in another country, or have you traveled in another country?
  • Have you ever lived with someone who had tuberculosis?
  • Were you vaccinated against tuberculosis as an infant?
  • Have you ever had tuberculosis or a positive skin test?
  • Have you ever taken medicine for TB? If so, what kind and for how long?
  • What kind of work do you do?
  • Do you use alcohol or recreational drugs?
Feb. 23, 2016
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  2. Longo DL, et al., eds. Tuberculosis. In: Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine. 19th ed. New York, N.Y.: McGraw-Hill Education; 2015. Accessed Dec. 8, 2015.
  3. Tintinalli JE, et al. Tuberculosis. In: Tintinalli's Emergency Medicine: A Comprehensive Study Guide. 7th ed. New York, N.Y.: The McGraw Hill Companies; 2011. Accessed Dec. 8, 2015.
  4. South-Paul JE, et al. Tuberculosis. In: Current Diagnosis & Treatment in Family Medicine. 3rd ed. New York, N.Y.: The McGraw-Hill Companies; 2011. Accessed Dec. 8, 2015.
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  6. Tuberculosis (TB). Merck Manual Professional Version. Accessed Dec. 8, 2015.