An infection in which virus, fungi or bacteria affect one lung or two is called pneumonia. About one third of the world population was used to subsequently die of pneumonia before the discovery of antibiotics.
In United States alone currently over three million people have pneumonia each year. About half a million of such patients are admitted to the hospitals for the treatment. Most of the hospitalized patients recover from the pneumonia where about 5 per cent patients die of pneumonia. It is the 6th leading cause of death in United States.
Some cases of pneumonia are trapped by breathing in droplets organisms that are responsible for causing pneumonia. These germs are spread into the air when an infected person sneezes or coughs. Pneumonia can also begin with the accidental entry of virus or bacteria that are commonly present in the throat, mouth and nose in the lungs. People commonly aspirate their secretions from mouth, nose and throat while sleeping. The reflex system of the body usually response to such aspiration and cough back up the secretions where the immune system of the body will help in preventing any kind of pneumonia from developing as result of aspirated organisms.
However if a person is ill and suffering from some other disease his or her immune system is in weak condition then there are chances that strong pneumonia will develop. People with viral infections, heart diseases, lung diseases, swallowing problems, drugs usage, alcohol drinkers, and those who have suffered a stroke or seizure are at greater risk of getting affected by the pneumonia. After entering into lungs these organisms settle down into the air sacs present in the lungs. Here they started to grow rapidly. As the immune system of the body tries to fight with the infection, the affected area of the lungs starts to get filled with the fluid and pus.
Pneumonia’s symptoms and signs
A majority of those people who have pneumonia initially suffer from a cold that is later on followed by high fever. High fever most of the times at 104 degrees Fahrenheit, cough with sputum and shaking chill are the vital symptoms of pneumonia. It is found that the sputum of pneumonia is either colorless or bloody. Shortness of breath is also evident. The surface of the lungs is called pleura and it is the only pain fibers. If outer pleural surface of the lung is involved in the pneumonia then the pain in chest gradullay develops. The pain usually goes on increasing and gets worse with time and is called pleuritic pain.
All cases of pneumonia are not alike. In certain cases symptoms start to appear one by one. In certain cases muscle ache, headache and coughing are the only signs of pneumonia. While in other pneumonia patients coughing is not a major symptom as the infection is far located from the large airways. Cyanosis is a state in which the color of the patients turns to be purplish or dusky due to the supply of blood that is not properly oxygenated. Infants and children affected by pneumonia do not show any specific sign or symptoms but fever with a feeling of quite ill and the lethargic attitude. In elder people same or few symptoms has been also witnessed.