Nasty Infectious Diseases You Want To Avoid - Pneumonia
This is an infection of the lungs of variable cause, considered to be the most common infectious cause of death in the United States. It is a common complication of influenza. There are many different types of pneumonia, classified according to what causes the condition; for example, it may be a bacterial, viral, fungal, parasitic, or mycoplasmic. For example, bacterial pneumonia is caused by bacterial infection such as Streptococcus pneumoniae which is the most common bacterial cause and occurs most often in winter and spring, when upper respiratory tract infections are most frequent. S. pneumoniae is commonly referred to as the pneumococcus. In addition to S. pneumoniae, other bacteria that can cause pneumonia include Staphylococcus aureus, Klebsiella pneumoniae, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Haemophilius influenzae, and Mycoplasma pneumoniae. Pneumonias associated with fungus, Q fever, Legionnaires' disease, psittacosis, and viruses are included in a category known as atypical pneumonia syndromes.
Chlamydial pneumonia was formerly known as Taiwan Acute Respiratory agent pneumonia (or TWAR agent pneumonia) because it was first diagnosed in Taiwan. Many cases have been reported all over the world, including Europe, Canada, the United States, Australia and Japan. Chlamydial pneumonia among people aged 5 to 35 is the second leading cause of pneumonia. Between 5 and 10 percent of older people admitted to the hospital with pneumonia have this condition.
If a large portion of one or more lobes of the lung is involved, the disease is called a pneumonia. Bronchopneumonia, more common than lobar, implies that the disease process is distributed in different places in the lungs, originating in a localized area within the bronchi and extending to the adjacent surrounding lung area.
There are a number of risk factors that can predispose a patient to develop pneumonia. Any condition that produces mucus or an obstruction (such as cancer or chronic lung disease) can make the patient more susceptible to pneumonia. Also at risk are people with an impaired immune system, smokers, people confined to bed, alcoholics, or the very old.
Patients with cystic fibrosis are prone to respiratory infection with Pseudomonas and Staphylococcus; Pneumocystis carinii pneumonia has been associated with AIDS patients. Anyone with congestive heart failure, diabetes, or chronic lung disease is also more susceptible.
Pneumonia in the elderly may occur spontaneously or as a complication of another disease. These pulmonary infections are often difficult to treat and are more often fatal than similar infections in younger patients. The onset of pneumonia in the elderly may begin with a general deterioration, confusion, rapid heartbeat and breathing. To reduce the serious consequences of pneumonia in this group, vaccination against pneumococcus and. influenza viral infections is recommended.
Cause - Pneumonia is usually caused by inhaling a microorganism, although the germ can occasionally pass to the lungs from the bloodstream.
Symptoms - Shaking chills are very common, and coughing becomes frequent and may produce a colored discharge. The fever is high and may reach 105 degrees F. Pain in the chest may occur as the lungs become more inflamed. During the most serious phase of pneumonia, the body loses fluids, which must be replaced in order to prevent shock; pus in the lungs cause severe respiratory distress.
Treatment - Bacterial pneumonia is usually treated with antibiotics (such as penicillin). When given early enough in the course of the disease, antibiotics are very effective.