The long illness known as pneumonia disease it is brought on by bacteria, viruses, or fungus. The infection causes inflammation in the lungs’ alveoli, which are small air sacs. As the alveoli swell with liquid or pus, breathing becomes challenging.
Pneumonia disease is caused by bacteria or viruses and can spread to others. This is caused by fungi that can spread throughout the environment. It cannot be transferred from one person to another.
This is further divided into groups based on how or where it was acquired:
Hospital acquired pneumonia (HAP). HAP is contracted while being treated in a hospital. Due to the bacteria’s potential increased antibiotic resistance, it may be more dangerous than other forms.
Community acquired pneumonia (CAP). It can be obtained outside of a hospital or other institutional environment is referred to here.
Ventilator associated pneumonia (VAP). the term used to describe pneumonia in ventilator-dependent patients.
Aspiration pneumonia: This brought on by inhaling germs into your lungs through food, drink, or saliva. If you have trouble swallowing or are very sleepy from using narcotics, alcohol, or other sedatives, it’s more likely to happen.
Walking pneumonia disease
Walking pneumonia is a milder case of pneumonia. People with walking pneumonia disease may not even know they have pneumonia. In contrast to this disease, their symptoms could seem more like a minor respiratory illness. However, it can necessitate a lengthier recuperation time.
Symptoms can include things like:
- Slight fever
- Dry cough that persists for more than a week
- Breathing difficulty
- A chest aches
- Diminished appetite
It frequently brought on by viruses and bacteria like Streptococcus pneumoniae or Haemophiles influenzae. The bacterium Mycoplasma pneumoniae is the most frequent cause of walking pneumonia, though.
Pneumonia disease stages
Pneumonia may be classified based on the area of the lungs it affects:
Both of your lungs can be affected by bronchopneumonia disease. Most of the time, it’s localized near or around your bronchi. The tubes that connect your windpipe to your lungs are known as these.
Lobar pneumonia disease
One or more lobes of your lungs are affected by lobar pneumonia disease. The lobes, which are distinct sections of the lung, make up each lung.
It can be further divided into four stages:
- Congestion: The tissue in the lung appears heavy and clogged. Infectious organisms have accumulated in the air sacs’ fluid.
- Red Hepatization: Immune cells and red blood cells have entered the fluid. As a result, the lungs appear reddish and solid.
- Gray Hepatization: While immune cells remain, the breakdown of red blood cells has begun. The color shifts from red to gray as a result of the breakdown of red blood cells.
- Resolution: The infection is now being cleared by immune cells. A strong cough assists in the removal of any remaining fluid from the lungs.
The symptoms of pneumonia can be mild or life-threatening. Examples include:
- coughing that may produce phlegm (mucus)
- sweating or chills
- shortness of breath that happens while doing normal activities, or even while resting
- chest pain that’s worse when you breathe or cough
- feelings of tiredness or fatigue
- loss of appetite
- nausea or vomiting
Other symptoms can vary according to your age and general health:
- Infants may appear to have no symptoms, but sometimes they may vomit, lack energy, or have trouble drinking or eating.
- Children under 5 years old may have fast breathing or wheezing.
- Older adults may have milder symptoms. They can also experience confusion or a lower-than-normal body temperature.
Causes of pneumonia disease
When bacteria infect your lungs and spread, you get pneumonia disease. The lungs’ air sacs (alveoli) become inflamed as a result of the immune system’s response to eradicate the infection. These symptoms can be brought on by the swelling and fluid buildup in the air sacs caused by this inflammation.
It is brought on by a variety of infectious agents, including bacteria, viruses, and fungi.
The most common cause of bacterial pneumonia is Streptococcus pneumoniae. Other causes include:
Respiratory viruses are often the cause of pneumonia disease. Examples of viral infections that can cause pneumonia include:
- Influenza (flu)
- Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV)
- Rhinoviruses (common cold)
- Human parainfluenza virus (HPIV) infection
- Human metapneumovirus (HMPV) infection
- Chickenpox (varicella-zoster virus)
- Adenovirus infection
- Coronavirus infection
- SARS-CoV-2 infection (the virus that causes COVID-19)
Although the symptoms of viral and bacterial pneumonia are very similar, viral pneumonia is usually milder. It can improve in 1 to 3 weeks without treatment.
Fungi from soil or bird droppings can cause pneumonia disease. They most often cause pneumonia in people with weakened immune systems. Examples of fungi that can cause pneumonia include:
- Pneumocystis jirovecii
- Cryptococcus species
- Histoplasmosis species
Anyone can get pneumonia, but certain groups do have a higher risk. These are the groups:
Anyone can get pneumonia disease, but certain groups do have a higher risk. These are the groups:
- Infants from birth to 2 years old
- People ages 65 and older
- People with weakened immune systems due to:
- The use of certain medications, such as steroids or certain cancer drugs
People with certain chronic medical conditions, such as:
- Cystic fibrosis
- Heart failure
- Sickle cell disease
- Liver disease
- Kidney disease
- People who’ve had a brain disorder, which can affect the ability to swallow or cough, such as:
- Head injury
- Parkinson’s disease
- People who live in a crowded living environment, such as a prison or nursing home.
- People who smoke, which makes it more difficult for the body to get rid of mucus in the airways.
- People who use drugs or drink heavy amounts of alcohol, which weakens the immune system and increases the odds of inhaling saliva or vomit into the lungs due to sedation.
Diagnosis of pneumonia disease
Depending on the severity of your symptoms and your risk of complications, your doctor may also order one or more of these tests:
- Blood tests. The tests are used to confirm an infection and to try to identify the type of organism that cause the infection. However, precise identification isn’t always possible.
- Chest X-ray. This helps your doctor diagnose pneumonia and determine the extent and location of the infection. However, it can’t tell your doctor what kind of germ is causing the pneumonia.
- Pulse oximetry. This measures the oxygen level in your blood. Pneumonia can prevent your lungs from moving enough oxygen into your bloodstream.
- Sputum test. A sample of fluid from your lungs (sputum) is taken after a deep cough and analyzed to help pinpoint the cause of the infection.
Your doctor might order additional tests if you’re older than age 65, are in the hospital, or have serious symptoms or health conditions. These may include:
- CT scan. If your pneumonia isn’t clearing as quickly as expected, your doctor may recommend a chest CT scan to obtain a more detailed image of your lungs.
- Pleural fluid culture. A fluid sample is taken by putting a needle between your ribs from the pleural area and analyzed to help determine the type of infection.
Treatment of pneumonia disease
Pneumonia treatment entails treating the infection and avoiding complications.Typically, community-acquired pneumonia can be treated with medication at home.Although the majority of symptoms subside within a few days or weeks, fatigue can last for up to a month.
The type and severity of your pneumonia, your age, and your overall health all influence the specific treatments you need.
There are a few choices.
- Antibiotic It caused by bacteria can be treated with these medications. Choosing the best antibiotic to treat your pneumonia and determining the kind of bacteria that are causing it may take some time. A different antibiotic may be suggested by your doctor if your symptoms do not improve.
- Cough medication: You can use is medication to ease your cough so you can sleep. It’s a good idea to not completely eliminate your cough because it helps move fluid out of your lungs. You should also be aware that very few studies have examined whether over-the-counter cough medications reduce pneumonia-caused coughing. Use the lowest dose that helps you sleep if you want to try a cough suppressant.
- Painkillers: These can be taken as needed to treat a fever or discomfort. Aspirin, acetaminophen (Tylenol, among others), and ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin IB, among others) are examples of these medications.
If your symptoms are very severe or you have other health problems, you may need to be hospitalized. At the hospital, doctors can keep track of your heart rate, temperature, and breathing. Hospital treatment may include:
- antibiotics injected into a vein
- respiratory therapy, which involves delivering specific medications directly into the lungs, or teaching you to perform breathing exercises to maximize your oxygenation
- oxygen therapy to maintain oxygen levels in your bloodstream (received through a nasal tube, face mask, or ventilator, depending on severity)
Prevention for pneumonia disease
- Getting vaccinated is the first line of defense against pneumonia. Pneumonia can be avoided with the help of a number of vaccines.
- Pneumovax 23 and Prevnar 13 are two pneumonia vaccines that protect against pneumococcal-caused pneumonia and meningitis. Which one might be best for you is something your doctor can tell you.
- There are 13 different kinds of pneumococcal bacteria that Prevnar 13 can kill. This vaccine is recommended by the CDC-Trusted.
- Pneumovax 23 is safe for children under the age of two, adults between the ages of 2 and 64 with chronic conditions that increase their risk of pneumonia, and adults 65 and older when prescribed by a doctor. It is effective against 23 different types of pneumococcal bacteria.
- Adults between the ages of 19 and 64 who smoke Children between the ages of 2 and 64 who have chronic conditions that increase their risk of pneumonia.
- The Flu vaccine Pneumonia can frequently be a complication of the flu, so you should also get the flu shot every year. Everyone over six months of age should get vaccinate.
- According to the CDC Trusted Source, especially those who may be at risk for complications from the flu.
- The Hib vaccine protects against the bacterium Hemophilus influenzae type b (Hib), which can cause meningitis and pneumonia. This vaccine is recommended by the CDC-Trusted Source for:
- According to the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) Trusted Source, pneumonia vaccines will not prevent all cases of the condition. Other exceptions include older children or adults with certain health conditions and people who have received a bone marrow transplant.
- However, if you are vaccinated, your illness is likely to be milder, last longer, and you are less likely to experience complications.
Other tips for prevention
- Make an effort to quit smoking. Smoking increases your risk of respiratory infections, particularly pneumonia.
- Always wash your hands for at least 20 seconds with soap and water on a regular basis.
- Cover your sneezing and coughing. Dispose of used tissues promptly.
- Regular exercise, a well-balanced diet, and adequate rest are all important.