Facts About Pneumonia

  • Pneumonia is an inflammation of the lung tissue due to infection with bacteria or viruses
  • When the lung tissue becomes inflamed, it works poorly. This can cause shortness of breath. The more extensive lung inflammation, the more affected is her breathing,
  • It is particularly the youngest and the oldest age groups that are affected
  • Severe pneumonias are often caused by bacterial group pneumococci
  • Infection usually takes place through droplets by coughing or sneezing of a sick person
  • How severe pneumonia is depends on the microorganism that causes the disease, and the age and general condition of the sick
  • And older people are particularly vulnerable to pneumococcal disease, offering one vaccine to protect against this infection

What is pneumonia?

Pneumonia, which is called pneumonia in technical language, is an inflammation of the lung tissue as a result of an infection with bacteria or viruses. The lung tissue is also called the lung (alveoli). It is here that the life-saving transport of oxygen from the air to the blood takes place. When the lung tissue becomes inflamed, hampered the transport of oxygen and that can get shortness of breath. The greater part of the lung that are affected, the more pronounced can åndenøden be.

How common is pneumonia?

Pneumonia is a very frequent disease. About 1% of all (1 in 100) gets pneumonia in the course of a year. It is particularly the youngest and the oldest age groups, which are exposed to pneumonia. The disease occurs most frequently in winter.

What causes pneumonia?

Many different bacteria, viruses and other microorganisms can attack the lung tissue and cause pneumonia. They can be difficult to detect by routine tests, and usually you do not find out which micro-organism that causes pneumonia. Infection usually occurs through droplets by coughing or sneezing of a sick person, but in general, pneumonia is not very contagious. Often you become ill with its own bacteria you have in your throat.

Several things can make a particularly likely to develop pneumonia:

  • Cough reflex weakened due to high alcohol consumption, heart disease, diseases of the central nervous system or old age
  • Smoking
  • Acute respiratory infection or acute bronchitis due to virus
  • Immunocompromised or poor general condition

Pneumonia can also develop in otherwise perfectly healthy people. Among severe pneumonia, most caused by bacterial group pneumococci.

What are the symptoms of pneumonia?

Most patients with pneumonia feel quite sick. Pneumonia occurs like after previous upper respiratory infection (colds / sore throat / acute bronchitis). One gets annoying cough, and that increased shortness of breath. Persistent fever after a week’s illness is common, but often there are only a fever at night. Chest pain can occur, especially if the pleura is attacked. Chest pain of pneumonia often exacerbated in special positions or when you cough or breathe deeply.

The at least parts of the respiratory tract is the small air sacs (alveoli). This is where the exchange takes place between the inhaled air and the bloodstream. From the inspired air is transported oxygen (O 2 ) than in the blood vessels and then throughout the body. At the same time transported carbon dioxide (CO2), which is actually a waste product of the body’s metabolism, into the alveoli and is exhaled.

By pneumonia alveoli becomes gradually more or less filled with the first liquid and subsequently a mixture of liquid and dead cells (pus). This means that it is difficult for oxygen and carbon dioxide to be transported between the alveoli and blood stream. There will be short of oxygen in the blood, and there is too much carbon dioxide in the blood. These changes explain most symptoms of pneumonia.

Note: Although cough is a major symptom that makes you a doctor, due to cough means always pneumonia. All with pneumonia have fever, it also applies to the so-called “cold” pneumonia.

In severe pneumonia, especially in older people and in people weakened by other illness, condition characterized by high fever, poor general condition and shortness of breath. Strong chest pain and cough with colored or bloody sputum is very common in pneumonia, which includes an entire lobe of the lung (called lobar pneumonia).

What symptoms should you pay particular attention to?

Persistent high fever three days after antibiotic treatment is started, you should make sure you seek medical advice again. Coughing up bloody sputum and strong chest pain should always lead to that you seek medical advice.

How is it diagnosed?

X-ray of pneumonia, lower portion of the right lung

X-ray of pneumonia, lower portion of the right lung

A typical medical history and physical examination can be sufficient that the doctor can provide a definite diagnosis (clinical diagnosis). Blood samples as high CRP and increased white blood cell count can strengthen the suspicion of pneumonia. However, research shows that the clinical diagnosis can be quite uncertain. In some cases, want the doctor why there is an X-ray of the lungs to confirm or deny whether you have pneumonia.

What treatment is there?

Most patients with pneumonia can be treated at home. It is important that you ensure that the body gets calm and rest to accelerate healing. Stay warm and drink plenty. By bacterial infections disease is treated with antibiotics for about 10 days while not using medication by pneumonia caused by viruses. In severe cases it may be necessary to hospitalize you in a hospital.

Pneumococcus is a major cause of bacterial pneumonia. Since the year 2007, pneumococcal vaccine has been part of the childhood immunization program. And older people are particularly vulnerable to infections with pneumococci, offers you pneumococcal vaccine. Unfortunately, it seems that this vaccine does not protect against the pneumonia, but it prevents serious complications like blood poisoning and meningitis.

What are the long-term prospects?

There is great variation in the severity of pneumonia. The type of microorganism underlying infection, and the age and general condition of the patient come into play. In the elderly and in people with weakened immune systems, pneumonia is a serious illness that often requires hospitalization. For most, a course of antibiotics, however, be sufficient for the disease usually resolve within 1-3 weeks.

Pulmonary failure when the lungs can not oxygenate the blood sufficiently, may in rare cases require mechanical ventilation. Viral infection, wherein the bacteria are spread around with the blood, is a rare but very serious complication.

How do I avoid or worsen pneumonia?

You have an increased risk of pneumonia in cases where the immune system is weakened, for example. pronounced by cooling, excessive alcohol consumption, and in following the progress of a flu. People who lack the spleen, have an increased risk of pneumococcal disease, and in these cases we recommend pneumococcal vaccination. Also elderly and debilitated people, and those with chronic heart and lung diseases may benefit from vaccination against both pneumococcal and the flu.

If you’ve got pneumonia and is in treatment, you must take the tablets as prescribed and ask your doctor again if you do not notice improvement after about 3 days.

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