Pneumonia

Pneumonia Specialist
Pneumonia is an infection in the lungs that makes breathing difficult. As a fellowship trained and board-certified specialist in both internal medicine and pulmonology, Meena Mehta, MD in Concord, Massachusetts is uniquely qualified to deal with this potentially life-threatening medical condition. It takes a combination of drug therapy, respiratory care, and medical monitoring to beat pneumonia and prevent some serious complications. You'll want a specialist like Dr. Mehta if you or someone you love has pneumonia.

Pneumonia Q & A

Meena Mehta, MD

What is pneumonia?

Pneumonia is an infection in the lungs caused by a variety of organisms. One of the biggest myths about this condition is that it’s always caused by bacteria. The truth is pneumonia is an infection, but it might involve:

  • Bacteria
  • Viruses
  • Fungi

Part of the diagnostic challenge faced by professionals like Dr. Mehta or nurse practitioner Li Chin Sun is figuring out what type of organism is invading the air sacs of the lungs.

When a person has pneumonia, the air sacs can fill with a pus or fluid, making it very difficult to get oxygen into the blood. The condition ranges from mild to extremely severe and can lead to long-term complications, such as:

  • Bacteremia
  • Chronic lung problems
  • Pleural effusion
  • Lung abscess

Pneumonia can even lead to death, so it's not something that should be left untreated.

What are the symptoms of pneumonia?

One of the reasons pneumonia is such a challenge is sometimes the symptoms are very mild. A patient might think he or she has a little cold that will go away over time, instead of an acute infection. Some common symptoms include:

  • Chest pain
  • Confusion
  • Wet cough
  • Dry cough
  • Fatigue
  • Fever
  • Sweating
  • Low body temperature
  • Nausea
  • Diarrhea
  • Shortness of breath

Newborn babies can have pneumonia with no symptoms at all.

When should you see a pulmonary specialist?

If you suspect you have pneumonia, don't wait. The quicker you get treatment, the better the chances of avoiding potential complications. This is especially true for high-risk groups. If you:

  • Are elderly
  • Have chronic illnesses like COPD or HIV
  • Take chemotherapy
  • Take certain kinds of medication
  • Have recently choked on food, vomit or a drink

For these individuals, mild pneumonia can quickly become life-threatening. If you feel bad enough to wonder if you have pneumonia, don’t hesitate to make an appointment. It's a treatable condition, so there is no reason to suffer with it.

What is the treatment for pneumonia?

That depends on many factors including the source of the infection, your age, and your overall health. In most cases, it is treated at home with medication. In severe cases, Dr. Mehta or Li Chin Sun may recommend hospitalization for more aggressive treatment.

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