Healthy Living

Pneumonia: Visiting a Lung Specialist

For a person suffering from pneumonia it is important to visit a lung specialist for guidance on how to treat and prevent pneumonia. Most people do not visit a specialist until the problem has become more serious, which can be dangerous. However, there are a number of things you should know before you decide to visit a lung specialist.

What is pneumonia?

Pneumonia refers to an infection of the lungs. Pneumonia affects a person’s lung tissues and leads to a number of symptoms which can not only be disturbing but also painful. The infection affects the alveoli and causes inflammation which leads to difficulty breathing.

Pneumonia is an infection that is mostly caused by either bacteria, viruses or fungi. However, the infection can also be caused by different chemicals which sometimes get into the body through inhalation. Lung cancer can also be a cause of pneumonia where people with lung cancer are at a very high risk of getting the infection.

Although pneumonia can be a very dangerous and fatal chest infection, most of the people suffering from the infection get better within a short amount of time. Nevertheless, the infection can also be severe. In most of these cases the patient can remained infected for a prolonged period of time. Sometimes 8 weeks or more. This type requires hospitalization for effective treatment.

Symptoms to look for before visiting a lung specialist

Before you think of visiting a lung specialist you must know when there is the need to take such a step. Getting to the doctor early is important with all conditions. Lung complications like pneumonia are fatal and require immediate attention as soon as signs and symptoms are identified. Pneumonia can be accompanied by other dangerous lung problems which makes it crucial to visit a lung specialist any time you know you have the infection.

To know if you have pneumonia or any other lung infection, look for the following symptoms:

  • Coughing -  This can be either mild or persistent depending on the condition. Coughing can also worsen during the night or once a person comes into contact with something cold
  • Chills -  These are experienced even during a sunny day and at night
  • Chest pains -  These are pains that occur more frequently, causing tremendous discomfort. You will also experience chest pains whenever you cough, laugh or take a deep breathe
  • Mucus production from coughing - This is mostly an uncontrollable symptom
  • Difficulties breathing
  • Fever

Other symptoms that can be associated with lung complications may include:

  • Loss of appetite
  • Loss of energy
  • Loss of weight
  • Feeling fatigued. This is a symptom that is experienced at any time of the day without the victim engaging in any activity. It can happen at night or even in the morning
  • Change in the color of the mucus. Mostly turning yellow or green
  • Headaches
  • Excessive sweating
  • Confusion
  • Shaking

If you experience such symptoms it is advised to visit a lung specialist as soon as possible.

What to Expect from a lung specialist

Visiting a lung specialist is an important step to take for any person suffering from pneumonia. A lung specialist is a type of qualified medical doctor whose specialization is lung function.

A lung specialist is in charge of examining a patient and diagnosing any lung infection; carrying out tests to identify the effects of any lung infection in a person, recommending the right treatment or carrying out the procedure if need be, and advising the best lifestyle behaviors to prevent and help people with lung infections.

Here are some of the objectives of a lung specialist that can help you know what to expect:

  1. Examine symptoms of any lung infection.
  2. Identify the causes of a lung infection at stake
  3. Identify other underlying infections of the lungs
  4. Provide the best treatment guideline for the patient
  5. Administering the right advice to lung infections victims

For a lung specialist to accomplish objectives listed above and many more, here are some of the questions you may be asked. They include:

  • When did your symptoms begin?
  • Are the symptoms occasional or continuous?
  • Are you experiencing severe or mild symptoms?
  • What are the exact symptoms you are experiencing?
  • What type of cough?
  • Have you been diagnosed with any chest or lung problem before?
  • How do you feel when you take deep breathes?
  • Is there anything that seems to worsen or improve the symptoms?
  • Have you been taking any medication?

Tests to expect from a lung specialist

Upon visiting a lung specialist you may also undergo a number of tests as a way of diagnosing any suspected lung infections. These tests can be different but they are geared towards identifying any underlying infections that cannot be ruled out by your symptoms. These are also meant to confirm any infection and assess the severity of the infection to the lungs. One of the infection that can be identified through the tests is lung cancer.

Such tests may include:

  • X-ray. An X-ray is done to examine any possibility of an infection such as pneumonia. Upon performing an X-ray a doctor is also able to assess how much the infection has spread . The X-ray is done on the chest. The X-ray can also look for other lung infections and their effects in the lungs.
  • Blood Test. A blood test is done to determine whether a patient has pneumonia. This is accomplished by identifying the type of organism causing the infection. This can be bacterial, viral or fungal pneumonia.
  • CT scans. This is a special test that you might expect from lung specialist to examine the possibility of lung cancer. The test is also known to give finer details of the condition.

Questions to ask a lung specialist

Apart from expecting a plethora from a lung specialist, it is also important to have questions ready that you can ask to make the experience more enlightening. They may include:

  • Do I have pneumonia?
  • Are there other underlying infections?
  • How severe are the effects in my lungs?
  • What can I do to reduce the symptoms?
  • Are there home remedies to deal with the condition?
  • How can I prevent lung complications?
  • What are the best treatment measures?
  • When should I come back for a follow-up?

The bottom line

Pneumonia is a lung-related infection that can be a serious threat to your heath, especially if not diagnosed in time and in the right way. Once you identify certain symptoms that can be associated with the infection, it is important to consult a specialist.

Consulting a specialist not only helps in identifying pneumonia, but it also helps in finding out other infections related to the lungs such as cancer. It will also help in knowing the scope of the effects caused by the infection..

Build a good relationship with your lung specialist by asking and answering questions. This will help you fully benefit from all the services they offer. Once you have visited a specialist, there will be the need for a follow-up appointment.