Pneumonia – Exams and Tests?

Physical exam

Your doctor will listen to your lungs using a stethoscope. When you have pneumonia, your lungs might make crackling, bubbling, and rumbling sounds when you inhale. You also may be wheezing, and it may be hard to hear sounds of breathing in some areas of your chest.

Chest X-ray

One of the best ways of diagnosing pneumonia is by performing a chest X-ray. I won’t go all technical, but here are some chest x-ray detail that might help in diagnosing abnormalities in your lungs. As we know, not all lungs abnormality is pneumonia, the infection can be light or can be harsh like cancer. So, let’s discuss about the chest X-ray Abnormalities.

Chest X-ray Abnormalities or Lung abnormalities

Here are some key points a doctor keeps in mind before analyzing an x-ray:

  • While comparing the lung zones, all zones (left, right, upper, lower) should be observed.
  • Finding the abnormal zone of the lungs is mandatory for it is the main way to find out the infection.
  • Most lung diseases tend to be bilateral and symmetrical that makes the doctor’s job easy to know that the problem is.

Lung zones:

Assess the lungs by comparing the upper, middle and lower lung zones on the left and right. Once you have spotted asymmetry, now you can decide which side is abnormal. If an area seems out of proportion then that area must be the abnormal area.

Some patients may need other tests, including:

    • Blood count test: Blood test to check the WBC (White Blood Cell) count and RBC (Red Blood Cell) might also be required to try to know the germ which might be in your blood
    • Arterial blood gases in order to see if there is enough supply of oxygen in your blood from the lungs
    • CT (or CAT) scan of the chest for getting a better view of the lungs
    • Sputum tests for looking for the organism which can be detected in the mucus that has been collected from you after a deep cough
    • Pleural fluid culture if there is fluid in the space surrounding the lungs
    • Pulse oximetry: It is done in order to measure the amount of oxygen that is contained in your bloodstream,  which is done by simply attaching a small clip onto your finger for a small amount of time
    • Bronchoscopy: It is a procedure used for looking into the lungs’ airways, this is only performed if you have severe condition or you have hospitalized.

Pneumonia – Treatment Overview

Treatment for pneumonia usually depends upon the type of pneumonia that you carry and its severity in your body, and if you have any other chronic diseases. The goal of treatments are for curing the infection completely and preventing the complications.
These steps can be applied to treat it at home by following these steps:

  • Drink lots of fluids which will help in loosening secretions and bring up phlegm.
  • Get plenty of rest. Make someone else perform the household chores.
  • Do not take cough medicines that have not been prescribed to you. Coughing is one natural way of your body getting rid of an infection. If your cough prevents you from getting the rest, take advice from your doctor about how you can get relief.
  • You can control your fever with the help of aspirin, non-steroidal, anti-inflammatory drugs (ibuprofen or naproxen), or acetaminophen. You should never give aspirin to children.
  • Make sure you take antibiotics as prescribed

In case of severe pneumonia, you ought to be treated in the hospital which will give you some sophisticated facilities like antibiotics and other medications through vein and you can also receive breathing treatments if required.
A tip to when to go to hospital has been described below in the other treatments section.

Viral Pneumonia 

Typical antibiotics will not work for viral pneumonia; sometimes, however, your doctor might give an antiviral medication. Such type of viral pneumonia generally improves in 1 to 3 weeks.

Bacterial Pneumonia 

Patients that have mild pneumonia and are otherwise healthy are at times treated with antibiotics (oral macrolide like azithromycin, clarithromycin, or erythromycin). Patients with other serious illnesses like heart disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease that include emphysema and chronic bronchitis, kidney disease, or diabetes are often given higher or powerful dose antibiotics.
In addition to antibiotics, proper diet and oxygen must be taken to increase oxygen in the blood when needed. In some cases, medication for easing chest pain and comforting from violent cough may be necessary.

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