Pneumonia can be hard to diagnose as the symptoms are often similar to cold or flu. Symptoms in the extremes of age such as in newborns and infants, and elderly may not show the typical signs of the infection. Hence it may not be apparent in many patients that they have a more serious condition. The doctor will diagnose pneumonia based on detailed medical history, physical exam, and laboratory investigations. Read to know more on diagnosis of pneumonia.
Medical History: The doctor will take a detailed history about your signs and symptoms, such as how and when it started. To diagnose which type of germ is causing the pneumonia, the doctor may enquire about certain details such as travel history, your hobbies, exposure to pets and other animals, and exposure to sick people at home, school or work. Share with your doctor your past and current medical conditions, your medication and vaccination history, and if you smoke.
Physical Examination: Your doctor will do a general and systemic examination. During the general examination he will note your temperature, pulse rate, and blood pressure. In the systemic examination he will listen to your lungs with a stethoscope. In pneumonia, the lungs may make extra sounds such as crackling, bubbling, and rumbling sounds when breathing in.
Diagnostic Tests: Some diagnostic tests which your doctor may recommend for detection of pneumonia include:
Your doctor will not recommend all the tests at the same time. Tests such as chest computed tomography (CT) scan, sputum test, pulse oximetry, arterial blood gas analysis, and bronchoscopy are done if the cause of symptoms cannot be diagnosed by physical examination and chest X-ray.
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