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In the News Understanding Pneumonia – Part II

Written by Lisa Jillanza

(continued from Part I…)

What are the risk factors?

  • Age - the most vulnerable are children below 2 years and adults above 65 years.
  • Hospitalized in intensive care unit and if on support of ventilator for a prolonged period.
  • Lung diseases such as asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) can increase the risk.
  • Poor immune system - persons with weak immune system due to conditions such as HIV/AIDS, Cancer or undergone organ transplants. 

How is pneumonia diagnosed? 

Diagnosis is done by reviewing medical history, physical examination, and lab tests to confirm the condition.

What tests and procedures are typically run on someone who may have pneumonia?

X-ray: Chest X-ray is taken to check the presence of infection.

Blood culture: To check the presence of infection and identify the causative organism.

Sputum culture test: To confirm the cause of infection.

Urine test: Bacterial infection of streptococcus pneumonia and legionella pneumoniphila can be identified.

Pulse oximetry: To measure oxygen flow to the lungs.

CT scan: CT scan of chest is performed to detect the severity of infection.

Bronchoscopy: A camera fitted tube is inserted into the lungs to look into the airways and to sample out via bronchial wash helping in diagnosing the causative agent. 

If you or someone you know is experiencing any of the signs or symptoms of pneumonia, please seek medical attention. Pneumonia can be fatal if left untreated.

In the News: Understanding Pneumonia – Part I

Written by Lisa Jillanza

While COVID and RSV are two conditions typically highlighted in the news and health reports lately, pneumonia is often overlooked but still just as prevalent, if not more, than the aforementioned.

This month we look at pneumonia and all of the things you need to know about this illness.

What is pneumonia?

An infection of the air sacs in one or both the lungs. Characterized by severe cough with phlegm, fever, chills, and difficulty in breathing. 

What causes pneumonia?

An infection caused by a bacteria or virus. 

How is it spread?

Bacterial and viral pneumonia spread through inhalation of airborne droplets by coughing or sneezing.

What are the symptoms of pneumonia?

Symptoms may include:

  • Cough with mucus or phlegm
  • Fever usually of high grade with chills
  • Fast breathing
  • Shortness of breath
  • Chest pain while coughing
  • Fast heartbeat
  • Feeling very tired or very weak
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Loss of appetite
  • Body pain
  • Severely affected patients my cough up blood or show cyanosis (have a blue color around the mouth due to lack of oxygen) 

What is the treatment for pneumonia? 

Both viral and bacterial pneumonia are treated with antibiotics. 

(continued in Part II…)

Arthritis 101: Foods to Avoid

Written by Lisa Jillanza

While there is no compelling evidence that one type of arthritis reacts differently to foods over another type, doctors do advise against eating certain foods to help alleviate some symptoms.

Here are some foods to avoid if you have arthritis:

  • Fried foods
  • Processed foods
  • Salty foods
  • Spicy foods
  • Red meat
  • Tomatoes
  • Foods containing gluten.

In addition to these foods, you should also avoid drinking alcohol and using tobacco products.

In the News May is Melanoma Awareness Month– Part II

Written by Lisa Jillanza

(Continued from Part I…)



How is melanoma diagnosed?

Step one: Physical exam. Your doctor will ask questions about your health history and examine your skin to look for signs that may indicate melanoma.

Step two: Removing a sample of tissue for testing (biopsy). To determine whether a suspicious skin lesion is melanoma, your doctor may recommend removing a sample of skin for testing.

“The type of biopsy procedure your doctor recommends will depend on your particular situation. Most often doctors recommend removing the entire growth when possible. One common technique, the punch biopsy, is done with a circular blade that's pressed into the skin around the suspicious mole. Another technique, called an excisional biopsy, uses a scalpel to cut away the entire mole and a small margin of healthy tissue around it.”

How is melanoma staged? 

Melanoma is staged using the Roman numerals 0 through IV. At stage 0 and stage I, a melanoma is small and has a very successful treatment rate. But the higher the numeral, the lower the chances of a full recovery. By stage IV, the cancer has spread beyond your skin to other organs, such as your lungs or liver.

How can you prevent melanoma? 

  • Avoid the sun during the middle of the day.
  • Wear sunscreen year-round.
  • Wear protective clothing.
  • Avoid tanning lamps and beds.
  • Have your moles checked regularly.
  • Contact your dermatologist if a mole changes in shape, size or color.