Pneumonia: Causes and Symptoms

What is pneumonia?

Pneumonia is an inflammatory illness that affects the lungs. It is characterized by the inflammation of the alveolar in the lungs, the microscopic air-filled sacs in the lungs that are responsible for absorbing the oxygen from the air. The inflammation causes the alveolar to be filled with liquid instead.

Causes of pneumonia

Pneumonia can be caused by a variety of things. They can come from an infection with certain bacteria, virus, parasites or fungi. Pneumonia can also be caused by chemical means through inhaled substances that might affect the lungs. Pneumonia can also develop after serious physical injuries happen to the lungs.

There are certain groups of people who might find themselves at greater risk of developing pneumonia. Children are especially considered as a high risk group. People suffering form chronic illnesses may also find themselves at greater risk of developing pneumonia. The same way for people who may have weakened immune systems and those who have been suffering from lung problems. Smokers are also at high risk from developing pneumonia later on.

Symptoms of pneumonia

There are different types of pneumonia that can plague a person, depending on its cause. There is the bacterial pneumonia that is caused by various strains of bacteria that affect the lungs. The Streptococcus pneumoniae is the most common bacterium that causes pneumonia is usually occurs when the body is weakened through some illness and malnutrition or weak immunity, giving the bacteria a chance to work its way into the lungs.

Aspiration pneumonia is a type of pneumonia that is characterized by inflammation of the lungs as well as the bronchial tubes. This type of pneumonia is usually caused by inhalation of foreign material, from food, drink or secretions that find its way into the lungs. This type of pneumonia may cause some pus to form in the lungs. Excessive alcohol consumption, old age, dental problems and the use of sedative drugs are among the contributing factors that may help bring about this type of pneumonia in people.

There is also a type of pneumonia that is contracted during a hospital stay. A hospital acquired pneumonia brought about by organisms that are present in hospitals ranging from mild to life threatening. This type of pneumonia is usually harder to treat since the organisms that causes the infection are usually have better defense mechanisms than those generally encountered in the natural surroundings.

Treatment for pneumonia

Doctors usually treat bacterial pneumonia with antibiotics. Antibiotics aren’t effective against most viral forms of pneumonia. And although a few viral pneumonias may be treated with antiviral medications, the recommended treatment is generally the same as for the flu, rest and plenty of fluids.