Pneumonia is a lung infection that can be caused by bacteria, a virus, or a fungus. About one-third of the cases of pneumonia are usually caused by viruses, such as herpes simplex, influenza, rhinovirus, and respiratory syncytial virus. A type of bacterium called Mycoplasma pneumoniae, which generally causes respiratory infections can also cause pneumonia. If you have pneumonia, it can be mild and may require only a few weeks of treatment, or it may be so severe that it may require you to spend weeks at the hospital getting it treated. In some cases, pneumonia can even be fatal. If you have lung cancer, your chances of contracting pneumonia increase to a great extent.
What Are The Symptoms Of Pneumonia And Lung Cancer?
Whether you have lung cancer or not, the symptoms of pneumonia are the same. In fact, when you suffer from lung cancer, it can make it quite difficult to identify pneumonia as many of its symptoms are similar to complications caused by lung cancer.
Here are some of the common symptoms of Pneumonia:
Dark or rust-colored mucus or phlegm due to blood
Loss of appetite
Chills and shaking
Mild to very high fever
Sharp stabbing pain in the chest that becomes worse when you cough or breathe deeply
Shortness of breath after you perform a physical activity
Here are some of the common symptoms of lung cancer:
Shortness of breath
A persistent cough
Loss of appetite
Green or yellow mucus that can sometimes be bloody
Sharp, stabbing pain in the chest that becomes worse when you cough, laugh, or breathe deeply
What Are The Risk Factors For Pneumonia?
It is possible for almost anyone to develop pneumonia but certain factors increase your risk. Here are some of the risk factors that increase your chances of developing pneumonia.
A respiratory infection like a chest cold, laryngitis, or influenza
A chronic lung disease like cystic fibrosis and obstructive pulmonary disease
Heart disease, kidney disease, diabetes, and cirrhosis of the liver.
How Is Pneumonia Diagnosed?
If you suspect you have pneumonia, you will need to get it checked by your doctor immediately as delaying treatment can have life-threatening consequences. Your doctor may perform a physical exam and listen to you breathe through a stethoscope. They may also order blood tests and a chest X-ray. If you have lung cancer, it may be difficult to diagnose pneumonia as your tests will show up abnormal in both cases. You may need to undergo additional tests to confirm pneumonia and its severity.
How Is Pneumonia Treated?
Once it is confirmed that you have pneumonia, you will have to undergo a standard treatment for it regardless of whether you have lung cancer or not. The main aim of the treatment will be to treat the root cause of pneumonia. If your condition is severe, you may have to spend some time in the hospital for intravenous antibiotics. In case of viral pneumonia, the treatment will focus on supportive care like giving you intravenous fluids and supplemental oxygen. And, you will require plenty of rest to recover fully. Your doctor will consider your age, the severity of your symptoms, your overall health, your vital signs, and other medical issues you may have in order to suggest the best treatment option for you. Since pneumonia is a very serious condition especially if you have lung cancer, you need to follow the advice of your doctor carefully. Do not take matters into your own hands at any cost as it may result in serious complications.