Get Educated About Pneumonia
Pneumonia is a medical condition that causes inflammation and fluid to build up in the alveoli of the lungs. Many years ago, those who were infected by it had a very low survival rate. But that all changed after the discovery of antibiotics. Now, doctors can easily treat the condition with a wide range of medications, such as penicillin, that can boost the immune system so that a person can recover faster than they normally would. The medications have to be taken as quickly as possible for them to be the most effective though. So it is very important that those who have the highest risk of developing pneumonia understand what the symptoms, types, and potential complications of the condition are.
Pneumonia is an infection, so the body responds to it in the same way that it does other types of infections. First, a high fever will develop. Next, a person will start to feel very tired all the time, no matter how much rest that they get. Then, fluid will start building up in their lungs, which causes them to cough all the time. As the condition progresses, more serious symptoms begin, such as wheezing, breathlessness, and tightness in the chest. Many people also develop pain in their upper back and chest muscles.
Types of Pneumonia
Whenever pneumonia infects just one portion of a lung, it is called lobar pneumonia. If it infects patches of both lungs, doctors call it multifocal pneumonia. When both of the entire lungs are infected, it is multibar pneumonia. But the way that pneumonia is diagnosed and treated depends on which of the following types of it that someone has:
- Fungal Pneumonia - Those who live in a home that has black mold or other types of fungi have a high risk of developing a condition called fungal pneumonia because of the spores that the small plant releases into the air in order to propagate itself. The spores are inhaled into the lungs each time that someone takes a deep breath, which causes the lungs to become irritated and inflamed. Wearing a protective breathing mask can help prevent this from happening, but the mold still needs to be removed as soon as possible. A person who develops pneumonia from the spores in their lungs will have to take special antifungal medications to help clear it up.
- Infective Pneumonia - If a virus or bacteria causes a person to develop pneumonia, doctors call the condition infective pneumonia. It is then broken down into two other subtypes, which are community-acquired infective pneumonia and hospital-acquired infective pneumonia. Community-acquired infective pneumonia occurs when someone develops the condition from being exposed to people who they work or live with. It is treated with common antibiotics. People develop hospital-acquired infective pneumonia whenever they have to spend a considerable amount of time in a hospital or other medical facility. It is the most serious of all because it tends to be resistant to most types of antibiotics. So doctors often struggle to try to find the right medications to help a person who has it.
- Atypical Pneumonia - Whenever a person has a mild case of pneumonia that is not impairing their ability to do most of their day-to-day tasks, doctors say that they have atypical pneumonia. Sometimes, it is also called walking pneumonia. Atypical pneumonia clears up in a couple of weeks with penicillin.
- Aspiration Pneumonia - Pneumonia can also develop from a person repeatedly inhaling liquid into their lungs. This type of pneumonia occurs most often in those who have a medical condition that makes it difficult for them to swallow properly. Antibiotics help clear it up, but it won't improve until the underlying cause is first treated.
If pneumonia isn't treated in time, it can lead to other more serious health conditions developing because of the strain that it puts on the body. Three of the most common complications that occur are respiratory failure, heart failure, and systemic infections from the spread of bacteria. Death is also possible, especially in small children and senior citizens who don't have a strong enough immune system to fight the pneumonia off.
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