Pneumonia – Conditions

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Overview

Pneumonia is a lung disease that may be caused by bacteria, viruses, and fungi. As a consequence of the infection, inflammation occurs in the air sacs in your lungs, which are referred to as alveoli. This inflammation is caused by the infection. The alveoli become enlarged and filled with fluid or pus, making it difficult to breathe through them.

When it comes to the severity of pneumonia, it may vary from moderate to potentially life threatening. Infants and young children, individuals over the age of 65, and those who have health issues or weaker immune systems are the most vulnerable to the disease.

Since the condition is caused due to bacteria and virus, it is implied that it has the potential to spread from person to person. It is possible to transmit both viral and bacterial pneumonia to others via the inhalation of airborne droplets released by the sneeze or cough of the infected person. It is possible to acquire fungal pneumonia from the surrounding environment. It does not transmit from person to person.

Causes

Many different bacteria can cause pneumonia. In most cases, your body is able to keep these bacteria from invading your lungs. However, even if your health is usually excellent, these bacteria may occasionally overwhelm your immune system and cause you to get ill.

Depending on the bacteria that cause it and where you contracted the illness, this disease is categorized into the following types of pneumonia:

Community-acquired pneumonia

It is the most frequent form of pneumonia, which is also the most serious. There are instances when it happens outside of hospitals or other healthcare institutions, and is caused by one or more of the following: 

Bacteria

The bacterium Streptococcus pneumoniae is the most frequent cause of bacterial pneumonia. In addition to occurring on its own, this kind of pneumonia may develop after you have been sick with the flu or a cold. It may only damage one lobe of the lung, resulting in a disease known as lobar pneumonia.

Bacteria-like microorganisms

Another agent that may cause pneumonia is Mycoplasma pneumoniae. The symptoms of this kind of pneumonia are typically milder than those of other forms of pneumonia. It is also known as walking pneumonia.

Fungi

Those who have chronic health issues or weaker immune systems, as well as those who have inhaled high quantities of hazardous organisms, are more at risk for contracting this form of pneumonia.

Virus

Some viruses that cause colds and the flu are also capable of causing pneumonia. When it comes to children under the age of five, viruses are by far the most frequent cause of pneumonia. The symptoms of viral pneumonia are generally minor. However, in rare instances, it may become very severe. COVID-19 is a virus that may cause pneumonia, which can be life-threatening.

Hospital-acquired pneumonia

Some individuals develop pneumonia while in the hospital undergoing treatment for another disease. This is known as secondary pneumonia. Because the bacterium that causes hospital-acquired pneumonia may be more resistant to medicines and because the individuals who get it are already ill, it has the potential to be very lethal in both the short and long term. Pneumonia of this kind is more common in people who are dependent on breathing machines, often placed in critical care units.

Health-care acquired pneumonia

Those who reside in nursing homes or outpatient clinics, particularly renal dialysis centers are more likely to develop health-care-associated pneumonia, a bacterial illness that may be spread by the treatment they receive. It is possible that germs that are more resistant to antibiotics will cause healthcare-acquired pneumonia, just as they can cause this type of pneumonia.

Aspiration pneumonia

For the concern of what pneumonia feels like with aspiration pneumonia, your respiratory system is damaged as a result of inhaling anything into your lungs including food, drink, vomit, and saliva. The likelihood of aspirating increases if anything interferes with your usual gag response, such as brain damage or swallowing problems, as well as if you consume large amounts of alcoholic beverages or illegal substances.

Risk factors include age and smoking. Pneumonia may strike anybody at any time. However, the two age groups most at risk are:

  • Children under the age of two years
  • People above the age of 65

Smoking weakens your immune system, making it more susceptible to the bacteria and viruses that cause pneumonia.

Symptoms

The symptoms of pneumonia may range from minor to life-threatening. They may include the following:

  • Coughing that may result in phlegm which is a type of mucus
  • Fever
  • The sensation of perspiration or chills
  • Chest discomfort that becomes worse when you breathe
  • Shortness of breath
  • Decrease in appetite
  • Headaches
  • Nausea or vomiting

Other pneumonia symptoms may vary depending on the age and overall health, such as the following:

  • Children under the age of five may have rapid breathing or wheezing.
  • Infants may seem to be symptom-free, yet they may vomit, have low energy levels, or have difficulty drinking or eating.
  • People over the age of 65 may have fewer symptoms.

Diagnosis

Your doctor will first ask about your medical history, symptoms, and overall health.

Then they will examine you physically. Using a stethoscope, your lungs will be examined for unusual noises like cracking. Your doctor may order one or more of the following tests based on your symptoms and risk of developing problems, all this is proceed for pneumonia diagnosis:

  • Chest x-ray
  • Blood test
  • Sputum culture
  • CT scan
  • Bronchoscopy

Treatment

Antibiotics are prescribed for bacterial pneumonia. Antibiotics will not cure viral pneumonia. Relax, drink plenty of water, and take medications to bring down your fever in case of viral pneumonia. You may be admitted to the hospital for observation for pneumonia treatment if your symptoms are severe or you have other medical issues that increase the risk of complications.

Coughing helps clear fluid accumulated in your lungs, but cough medicine may be prescribed to help you sleep by reducing coughing. 

When to see a doctor

If you or your child develops signs of pneumonia, get medical attention immediately. Call the physician in case of experience severe or increasing cough with mucus, bluish lips or fingers, chest pain, or difficulty breathing.

Pneumonia may be deadly for individuals over 65, children under 2, and those with underlying health issues or weakened immune systems. 

Disclaimer

This information is intended for educational purposes only and should not be considered a substitute for professional medical advice. If you have concerns about Pneumonia or any other medical condition, please see a doctor for an accurate diagnosis and personalized treatment suggestions.