Pneumonia is an infectious disease of the lungs. It is the most dangerous lower respiratory tract infection. The inflammation of alveoli of the lung disturbs oxygen supply mechanism.
Pneumonia can affect everyone regardless of age factor. Elderly person and infants with low immune power are most likely to face serious consequences of pneumonia infection.
Pneumonia has bacterial, viral and fungal causes.
Pneumonia is classified according to the causes as follows.
Bacterial pneumonia are caused by the bacterium such as
Viral pneumonia is caused by the viruses such as
Respiratory SYNCYTIAL virus
The fungal infections causing pneumonia are
Risk factors for pneumonia:
The risk factors responsible for the cause of pneumonia are
Age – pneumonia occurs irrespective of age. But mostly the old aged people and infants with low immunity are affected.
Chain smoking – smoking continuously will damage the immune systems fight against bacterial and viral infection causing pneumonia.
Alcohol addiction – excess intake of alcohol disturbs the immune mechanism and increase the chance of pneumonia.
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder (COPD) – makes the infection of pneumonia easier.
Few conditions – HIV, asthma and emphysema are most likely risk factor for cause of pneumonia. Even the heart and lung disease also contribute to the cause.
Drugs – few drugs taken mainly the immune suppressant drugs are more likely to cause pneumonia.
Mal nutrition – intake of less nutritious food will definitely reduce the immune power.
Chemicals – direct contact or exposure to the harmful chemicals can increase the risk of pneumonia.
Pollutants – exposure to certain pollutants or toxic substances increases the risk of pneumonia.
Hospitalization – patient in the ICU and being hospitalized for long period are more vulnerable to attack of pneumonia causing organisms.
Symptoms of pneumonia:
The most commonly seen symptoms are
Cough – commonly seen as dry or with thick mucus, sometime seen with blood in it.
Chest pain and discomfort.
Shallow breathing – even feel breathlessness at resting position.
Rapid heartbeat – the heart beat tends to rise faster.
Shaking or shivering chills.
Loss of appetite – reduction in the desire to eat.
Lack of body energy.
Severe head ache.
Diarrhea and vomiting
Fatigue – excessive tiredness.
The history of the patient is very important in diagnosing pneumonia. Doctors clearly check the history to rule out the other lung diseases and detect the risk factor involved.
Stethoscope is used to detect the pneumonia presence. Crackling sounds heard in the lying position indicate the presence of pneumonia.