The Causes And Symptoms Of Pneumonia - Health Article

The Causes And Symptoms Of Pneumonia

What is pneumonia?

Pneumonia is an inflammation of the air sacs (alveoli) and the surrounding tissue, often caused by an infection. If both lungs are inflamed, there is a double or bilateral pneumonia.

Provided timely recognized can be a bacterial pneumonia treated with an antibiotic. When the disease is not treated in a timely manner, the alveoli can weaken, such that the lung capacity is very reduced. This has in most cases cause death. Often occurs as a complication of pneumonia on other diseases or if the patient has a reduced resistance by other causes.

Before the discovery of penicillin had pneumonia in the Netherlands a leading cause of death in all age groups. Globally, pneumonia remains a common disease that affects about 450 million people each year. It is a leading cause of death in all age groups with 4 million deaths per year (7% of the global total). Especially children under five and adults over 75 are the victims. Pneumonia is about five times more common in developing countries than in the West. Viral pneumonia accounts for about 200 million cases per year.


There are several formats for pneumonia, for example to pathogen or severity. In the Netherlands, one usually makes a distinction where the pneumonia has risen: community-acquired (acquired in the environment) or hospital-acquired pneumonia (hospital-acquired pneumonia). The reason is the difference in treatment because of the type of patient and particularly pathogen. An off-acquired pneumonia is usually caused by Streptococcus pneumoniae, but sometimes by Haemophilus influenzae or Moraxella catarrhalis or "atypical pathogens" as Mycoplasmata and Chlamydiae. In the hospital acquired pneumonia can be caused by all kinds of micro-organisms, including fungi and yeasts.

Another classification that is generalized and lobar pneumonia. In the first case, one or two of the five lung lobes affected, in the second all lung lobes do with it.

 Pneumonia is an inflammation of the air sacs  The Causes And Symptoms Of Pneumonia

What causes pneumonia?

There are hundreds of micro-organisms that can cause pneumonia. However, a small minority is responsible for a vast majority of cases. The main causes are viruses, the bacterium Streptococcus pneumoniae (pneumococcus), gram-negative bacteria and atypical pathogens.

The Streptococcus pneumoniae has been one of the most common causes in all age groups, except for neonates. It is a gram-positive micro-organism that lives in the throat often opportunistically habitat of healthy people. An important other Gram-positive bacterium is Staphylococcus aureus.

Gram-negative bacteria are less often and are more common in people suffering from emphysema; Haemophilus influenzae, Escherichia coli, Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Moraxella catarrhalis are the most common in this group. Not infrequently, these are intestinal bacteria that are inhaled through aspiration upon vomiting.

Atypical pathogens
Atypical pathogens are Chlamydophila pneumoniae, Mycoplasma pneumoniae, and Legionella pneumophila. These are atypical pathogens given the fact that they are more prevalent in adolescents and usually are not susceptible to antibiotics which are used in typical pathogens. It is the 'clinical' different: the run is different and the pneumonia usually is milder - with the exception of Legionella pneumonia, which can run fulminant in all age groups - even though it can run in the elderly or immunocompromised fulminant infection.

Viruses and fungi
Viral agents are usually an influenza virus strain, the respiratory syncytial virus or adenovirus. Although the pneumonia not usually serious expires, the lung may become temporarily weakened, which colonized with bacteria and there is a so called bacterial superinfection can occur.

Fungi are an unusual cause of lung infections and usually occur in people with immune disorders such as aids, chemotherapy patients and injecting drug users.

Swine flu may increase the risk of pneumonia, because viruses that cause the flu penetrate deeper in the Airways.

Pneumonia is also caused by food, liquids and even small solid objects such as beads that end up in the lungs. One speaks then of an aspiration pneumonia. This often occurs in people with poor swallowing reflex by weakness, old age or paralysis. During narcosis and unconsciousness, there is also the possibility of inhaling vomit, pus or blood. All of these substances are a breeding ground for bacteria in the lungs, and then pneumonia can develop.

Pneumonia symptoms

Symptoms of pneumonia include the following:
  • Cough, possibly. coughing up green or yellow sputum
  • (Often high) fever
  • Dyspnea
  • Nostrils (mostly / only in children)
  • Pain in the chest, worse by deep breathing, jumping and cough
  • Rapid, shallow breathing
And sometimes the following:
  • headache
  • sweat
  • Hemoptysis (coughing up blood)
  • decreased appetite
  • fatigue
  • Cyanosis (blue discoloration of fingers, feet and lips)
  • Not infrequently, the patient at the onset of the disease once diarrhea.
Often there is a period preceded by a young patient with a cough, stuffy nose, sore throat and sometimes painful ears. The young patient has abdominal symptoms (which come from the painful inflamed lung) and would prefer to lie flat. Stand and jump is painful.

  • Abscess - A lung abscess is a pocket afgekapselde inflamed fluid in the lung. Treatment is by striving for an open connection through a bronchus through postural drainage and bronchodilators. In addition, data is longer than usual antibiotics.
  • Empyema - an infected pleural empyema suggests. Treatment is by means of inserting a chest drain, which can be flushed with saline.
  • Septic shock - This occurs bacteremia (bacteria in the blood stream) on, in which the body reacts with vasodilatation, involves opening of the blood vessels. This leads to a low blood pressure and an accelerated pulse.

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