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How is Pneumonia Diagnosed and Evaluated?

How is Pneumonia Diagnosed and Evaluated?
How is Pneumonia Diagnosed and Evaluated?

How is Pneumonia Diagnosed and Evaluated?

Pneumonia is an infection that inflames the air sacs in one or both lungs causing coughing, hacking and wheezing. Pneumonia can range from mild to life-threatening. Mild signs and symptoms are often similar to those of a cold or flu, but they tend to last longer. The two age groups at highest risk are: children 2 years and younger and people who are 65 and older.

5 warning signs of  pneumonia:

  • Sharp or stabbing chest pain (you might feel it more when you cough or take a deep breath)
  • Feeling extreme fatigue and exhaustion
  • Coughing up greenish, yellow, or bloody mucus
  • High Fevers
  • Fast breathing and heartbeat

See your doctor if you have difficulty breathing, chest pain, persistent fever of 102° F or higher with a  persistent cough.

If pneumonia is suspected, your doctor may recommend the following tests:

  • Chest X-ray: This helps your doctor diagnose pneumonia and determine the extent and location of the infection.
  • Blood tests: Blood tests are used to confirm an infection and to try to identify the type of organism causing the infection.
  • Sputum test: A sample of sputum from your lungs is taken after a deep cough and analyzed to help pinpoint the cause of infection.
  • Pulse oximetry: This measures the oxygen level in your blood. Pneumonia can prevent your lungs from moving enough oxygen into your bloodstream.

If you are 65  years of age or older or have any serious symptoms or health conditions, additional tests may be ordered.

  • CT scan: If your pneumonia isn't clearing as quickly as expected, your doctor may recommend a CT scan.
  • Pleural fluid culture: A fluid sample is taken by putting a needle between your ribs from the pleural area and analyzed to help determine the type of infection.

 Do not hesitate talking to your doctor if pneumonia is suspected.

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