When the lung tissues get filled with liquid and solid material, it is known as consolidation of the lungs. The liquids substitute the air pockets which are normally filled by gas. Consolidation may occur only in certain lobes of the lung or it could be widespread and afflict all of the lobes.
By and large, consolidation usually occurs due to pneumonia which is an inflammation of the lung tissue. When one has pneumonia, the inflammation is caused by a build-up of blood cells, exudates, and cellular debris in the air sacs (alveoli).
Other causes for consolidation of the lungs are:
- A build-up of edema and pus.
- Collapse of the lung.
- Actinomycosis– caused by bacteria.
- Ascariasis– caused by roundworm.
- Aspergillosis– caused by a common mold.
- Cryptococcosis– a fungal disease which can be fatal.
- Hydatid cyst– caused by tapeworm.
- Inhalation of toxic gases.
- Oxygen toxicity
When you confer with your health care provider / chest specialist, he will take your medical history and the symptoms you are experiencing as well as conduct a physical examination. He will also ask you to carry out certain tests and investigations to understand the precise cause for the consolidation, so that he can embark upon the most suitable treatment regimen.
Signs And Symptoms Of Lung Consolidation
Commonly seen signs and symptoms of lung consolidation include:
- Breathlessness and wheezing.
- Pain and heaviness in the chest
- Difficulty in breathing. The degree of difficulty in breathing depends upon the extent of consolidation.
- Breathing which is rather noisy.
- Abnormal breathing sounds.
- Face appears pale or bluish.
- Cough with a lot of sputum.
- Occasionally, blood in the sputum.
- Night sweats
- Exhaustion and fatigue
- In severe cases, there will be tachypnea – wherein you breathe very rapidly, sweat a lot and have difficulty whilst talking.
Treatment Of Consolidation In Lungs
Once the tests and investigations have been carried out and your doctor has ascertained the causative factors, the exact treatment regimen commences. The usual guidelines for treatment are:
- Rest is very essential to manage pneumonia.
- Antibiotics will be prescribed to mange bacterial infections; you need to follow the prescribed course of medications as told by the doctor; do not stop treatment even if you perceive amelioration.
- In case of viral and fungal infections, appropriate anti-viral and anti-fungal drugs need to be taken.
- You may also need analgesics and non steroidal anti-inflammatory agents to manage the pain and inflammation.
- You need to eat a well, balanced diet to help recover faster.
- Vitamin C supplements can be taken to help boost immune mechanism and expedite cure.
- To get rid of all the mucus in your lungs, drink a mixture of honey, powdered ginger and lime juice; this blend helps sluice out the expectoration, build immunity and tone up the lung tissues.
- In case you have severe breathing difficulties, talk to your doctor; you may need to use a breathing machine at home or in the hospital to help ease the breathing.
- You may also need hospitalization if the condition is too severe, in order to receive oxygen treatment and intravenous anti-biotics to allay the pain and discomfort associated with lung consolidation.