Pneumonia is a lung infection that happens when your lungs are filled with pus or fluid. It can range from mild to very severe and can take place in either one of the lungs or both the lungs. It makes the breathing process difficult as sufficient oxygen cannot reach your blood.
Anyone can get it but people over the age of 65 and infants above the age of 2 are at higher risk as the immune system at that age is not that strong. Smoking and drinking alcohol can increase your chances of getting the infection.
What are the symptoms?
Symptoms differ in the mild to severe range. Some symptoms that could be observed are:
- Pain the chest when you breathe or cough
- The temperature of the body is less than normal
- Changes in mental awareness and confusion
- Fever, chills, sweating, and fatigue
- Cough that may produce mucus
- Shortness of breath and headache
- Diarrhea, nausea, or vomiting
What are the different stages?
Pneumonia can be classified on the basis of lungs:
Bronchopneumonia can have an impact on all the areas throughout both the lungs.
Lobar Pneumonia can have an impact on one or more lobes of the lungs. It is classified into four stages based on its progression –
- Congestion: Tissues in the lung appear to be congested.
- Red Hepatization: Fluid is filled with red blood cells and immune cells.
- Gray Hepatization: Immune cells are still present but the red blood cells have started breaking.
- Resolution: Infection is being cleared by the immune cells.
How is it classified?
It can be classified based on its acquisition:
Hospital-Acquired Pneumonia (HAP) is procured during a hospital stay. It can be more serious as compared to the other types as the bacteria may be more resistant to antibiotics.
Ventilator-Associated Pneumonia (VAP) is when a person who is using a ventilator gets pneumonia.
Community-Acquired Pneumonia (CAP) is when you procure pneumonia from the community.
Aspiration Pneumonia is when you inhale bacteria from food, drinks, or saliva. It can occur if you have a problem swallowing or you have been sedated.
Walking Pneumonia –
It is a condition in which a person has pneumonia but he/she may not even know about it. It is a mild condition and may feel more like a respiratory problem. Symptoms such as chills, pain in the chest, fatigue, mild fever, shortness of breath, etc. may be observed.
What are the causes?
It can be caused due to bacteria, viruses, and fungi.
Some common types of bacterial pneumonia are:
- Streptococcus pneumoniae.
- Mycoplasma pneumonia.
- Haemophilus influenza.
- Legionella pneumophila.
Fungal pneumonia is of various types:
- Pneumocystis jirovecii.
- Cryptococcus species.
- Histoplasmosis species.
Viral pneumonia may be a result of:
- Chicken Pox,
- SARS-CoV-2, etc.
What are the risk factors involved?
- Infants above the age of 2 and people below the age of 65 are at higher risks.
- Smoking Cigarette.
- Weak immune system.
- If you have disease such as asthma, heart disease, etc.
- Being admitted to the hospital.
What are the complications?
- Bacteria may enter the bloodstream.
- If you have a problem with breathing.
- Fluid gets accumulated around the lungs.
- Lung abscess.
How can it be prevented?
- Maintain hygiene.
- Stop smoking.
- Have a strong immunity system.
- Get the vaccines on time.
- Get your children vaccinated.
How to diagnose?
There are various ways to diagnose pneumonia depending on the severity of the disease.
- X-Ray of the chest
- Blood Culture test
- Sputum Culture test
- CT Scan
- Fluid sample test
- Pulse oximetry
What are the treatments?
- Prescribed Medicines.
- OTC Medication.
- Home Remedies.