If you have been diagnosed with pneumonia, you may wish to ask your physician the following five questions:
1. Will I have to undergo any more diagnostic tests besides the sputum test I have already taken?
This depends upon your doctor’s decision. However, the tests commonly used to diagnose pneumonia are:
• Chest X-ray or a CAT Scan – This gives the exact location of pneumonia in the lungs and the extent of infection spread.
• Blood tests help check our white blood cell (WBC) count as well as look for the presence of other disease-causing micro-organisms. An increased WBC count shows the presence of infection and/or inflammation.
• Sputum culture tests--this is a sure shot test that confirms the presence and type of bacteria or micro-organism in the sputum that has caused the pneumonia.
• Physical examination using a stethoscope which will help the doctor hear the tell-tale sounds from the lungs during your breathing. The sounds of bubbling and rasping will confirm the presence of chest fluids in the lung. Fever, pulse and respiration rates are also used along with other techniques to support diagnosis.
• Differential diagnosis may be done by doctors to ensure that some other condition with similar symptoms as pneumonia is not being misdiagnosed. COPD, asthma, pulmonary emboli and pulmonary edema may all be confused with pneumonia-like symptoms.
2. Are there any chances of complications arising from my pneumonia?
Yes. In most cases the treatments are effective enough to get rid of the infection. However, if you belong to a risk group (for example, having a history of alcohol or tobacco abuse, being on immunosuppressants, being older than 65 years of age or younger than 5 years old, having underlying heart, lung diseases or diabetes, being a COPD patient, having genetic issues that would pre-dispose you or being routinely exposed to certain chemicals or pollutants, etc.), pneumonia may be harder to tackle with medicines, take longer to cure and may lead to complications.
Though not very common, the list of possible complications arising from out of pneumonia are: