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When it comes to lung lesions, there are a number of possible lung infections that can lead to this strange occurrence. Pneumonia, tuberculosis and even lung abscesses are possible and will all have a characteristic presentation on a Chest X-ray exam.

Suspicious densities on the lung come in all shapes and sizes. This variability also applies to numerous possibilities that could be responsible for these lung lesions. As we have seen before, there is a distinct possibility that it could be a lesion for lung cancer but there are far less severe possibilities to consider. One of the most common reasons that you will have this presentation could be due to a lung infection. Here, I will cover what the signs of a lung infection on X-ray will look like and some of the likely diseases that can lead to this irregular presentation. 

Pneumonia Infections

In most cases, if a doctor suspects that you have some type of infection like pneumonia, a Chest X-ray is not even a necessary step. It wastes time and doesn't make a difference in the treatment that the patients will be given normally [1]. Nevertheless, it is possible that an X-ray is ordered if the treatment becomes more complicated or a patient does not improve after therapy. X-rays for pneumonia will be very characteristic and have infiltrates that can appear like small marks or lesions [2]. 

In reality, it is very likely that you have had pneumonia at some point in your life. In the United States alone, there are over 3 million new cases of pneumonia each year [3]. Those most susceptible to the disease are the young, elderly and those with a weak immune system. Treatments are relatively straightforward as long as you seek medical attention and you will need to have a round of antibiotics. In many countries, amoxicillin will be the first medication that is used but due to bacterial resistance, this is often not enough. Clavulanic acid is a fortifying agent that can make the antibiotic more potent. It is in your best interest to try to have amoxicillin and clavulanic acid together at the start of the infection in order to make you healthy once again. If there is no improvement, stronger antibiotics will follow. [4]

Tuberculosis Infections

Another potential presentation that you could see is consolidation in the upper field of the lung and hilar enlargement. Consolidation in medicine is just a fancy word to say that there is darkening in the Chest X-ray. The hilar zone refers to the blood vessels that you can see in the center of the lung. They will often appear larger when a patient has long-term infections. One of the most well-known infections that present with this specific presentation will be tuberculosis. [5]

This is a disease that will be most likely silent at the start. There are epidemics of this disease worldwide and traveling to areas where the disease is common can make it more likely that you will have this disease. Tuberculosis is caused by the bacteria Mycoplasma tuberculosis and it is highly contagious. It is transferred through the respiratory system and you can become infected with the disease as easily as breathing the same air as someone with the disease. Once infected, you may have an active form of the disease but more likely, you will have a silent form of the disease that only becomes active after a number of years. Regions with high levels of the disease include Africa, Europe, Asia and South America but it can even be found in hospitals and prisons in the United States and Canada. [6]

As long as the disease is treated, patients should have no further risks. Treatment options and prophylactics are miserable, however. Many patients will complain about the side effects but there are not many alternative options that you can use due to the limited numbers of treatments for the disease. 

Lung Abscesses  

The last characteristic lung infection would be with an obvious cavity that forms in the upper lobes of the lung. This will be very noticeable and will have a mixture of fluid and air in the lesion. This can be considered to be one of the suspicious densities on the lungs that can be problematic to treat as well. An abscess is just a cavity that is formed in your body after a long-term infection. If the infection is not properly treated, the bacteria will continue to grow and grow until an abscess is formed. Antibiotics will not be enough to make a difference at this stage of the game so what a pulmonologist will need to do is a lung aspiration. This entails using a needle to remove the pus that is found inside of the cavity to help reduce the inflammation. IV antibiotics will then likely follow to help make sure this sign of a lung infection on X-ray disappears. [7]


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