The diagnosis of pneumonia is usually done keeping in mind the patient's medical history followed by blood tests and chest X rays to diagnose the medical condition.
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 severe condition. The doctor will diagnose pneumonia based on detailed medical history, physical exam, and laboratory investigations. Read to know more on the diagnosis of pneumonia.
A detailed history of your signs and symptoms, such as how and when it started, will be taken by your doctor. To diagnose which type of germ is causing pneumonia, the doctor may inquire about specific 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.
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Your doctor will do a general and systemic examination. During the public exam, he will note your temperature, pulse rate, and blood pressure. In the systemic analysis, 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.
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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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