Pneumonia Symptoms and Causes
In Pneumonia there is an inflammation in the lung which affects the microscopic air sacs (alveoli). It is usually caused by infection with viruses or bacteria and less commonly other microorganisms like fungus and parasites, certain drugs and other conditions such asautoimmune diseases (Caused by a faulty immune system- Diseases which are caused because one cell is not able to recognise the adjacent cell and thinks that it is a foreign body and starts attacking it).Pneumonia affects approximately 450 million people globally per year (which is seven percent of the population) and results in about 4 million deaths, mostly in the third-world countries. However it can be completely cured using anti-biotics.
Bacteria are the most common cause of community-acquired pneumonia (CAP), with Streptococcus pneumoniae being the most common bacteria. Other commonly isolated bacteria include: Chlamydophila pneumoniae, Haemophilus influenzae, Mycoplasmapneumoniae, Moraxella catarrhalis, Staphylococcus aureus, Gram-negative bacill andLegionella pneumophila. Alcoholism and smoking increases the risk of catching this bacteria as the body becomes weak and the immunity low.
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Let us look at the most common viruses which cause pneumonia. They are rhinoviruses,influenza virus,coronaviruses, adenovirus, respiratory syncytial virus (RSV),hantaviruses, coronavirus and para-influenza. Herpes simplex virus rarely causes pneumonia, except in groups such as: persons with cancer, newborns,transplant recipients and people with significant burns.
Fungal pneumonia is caused by Cryptococcus neoformans, Pneumocystis jiroveci, blastomyces,Histoplasmacapsulatum and Coccidioidesimmitis. It happens to people with weak immune system and who are on immune-suppressive drug during the treatment of some other medical conditions.
The main parasites which cause this pneumonia are- Strongyloidesstercoralis, Toxoplasma gondii,Ascarislumbricoidesand Plasmodium malariae.Parasites are carried either by animal vectors (carriers) or by direct contact of the skin or ingestion.
Idiopathic interstitial pneumonia or non-infectious pneumonia is a class of diffuse lung diseases. They include: diffuse alveolar damage, organizing pneumonia, respiratory bronchiolitis interstitial lung disease, nonspecific interstitial pneumonia, usual interstitial pneumonia and desquamative interstitial pneumonia.
Under a microscope mycoplasmas look like viruses however they are not viruses or bacteria. They have traits common to both. They are not very harmful like viruses and are the smallest agents of disease that affect humans. Mycoplasmas generally cause mild cases of pneumonia, most often in teenaged children or young adults.
There might be a persistent cough to a person infected with viral, bacterial or any other types of pneumonia.
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Due to constant coughing, there is a strain on the chest and lungs and that causes the chest pain. Chest pain caused due to pneumonia diminishes with the treatment of the disease.
Fever and Shaking Chills:
Since the viruses, bactaria, fungi, parasites or any other disease causing organism multiplies inside the body, it releases energy and increases the temperature of the body. Due to this fever the digestive system is affected and the person does not feel hungry and the food s/he eats does not get digested properly. Sometimes along the fever, the body starts shaking with chill and the patient should be wrapped in blankets to give him/her warmth.
Difficulty in Breathing:
The lungs are often congested and that causes difficulty in breathing or dyspnea.
Due to constant couging, difficulty in eating and digesting food, the body does not get proper nourishment and hence becomes weak. Hence along with the anti-biotics, the patient should be cautious about the diet and light walking should be done for the proper digestion of the food.
Due to constant coughing, the muscles often start aching. Also due to the fever and chills, there might be muscle ache.
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The patient might feel like throwing up as there is a lot of congestion in the chest and the body will try to get rid of the entire cough by vomiting. It is good to allow vomiting; however the food intake should take care of the nourishment.
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