Initially it is important to differentiate pneumonia from noninfectious pulmonary conditions, such as congestive heart failure, atelectasis, primary and metastatic tumors, and congenital abnormalities, such as pulmonary hypoplasia or congenital lobar emphysema. The wide variety of conditions that may simulate pneumonia include radiologic imaging problems (e.g., poor inspiration or a prominent thymus), recurrent or acute aspiration, atelectasis, tumors, collagen vascular disorders, allergic alveolitis, chronic pulmonary diseases (e.g., cystic fibrosis or asthma), and congenital abnormalities (e.g., pulmonary sequestration). A thorough history and physical examination usually help to exclude many of these conditions.
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If you suffer with asthma, you will no doubt be familiar with the uncomfortable sensations as your bronchial tubes begin to narrow and your muscles around them start to tighten. A sticky mucus known as phlegm begins to produce and increase within your bronchial tubes and you begin to wheeze, cough and struggle to breathe.