Pneumonia Symptoms

Pneumonia symptoms include productive cough, fever and chest pain upon breathing in.


Pneumonia symptoms might be tolerable at the onset of the disease. What prompts individuals to seek for medical intervention is the exacerbation of the disease symptoms. Indeed, people in general have the tendency to manage certain illnesses at home and would even fail to have it checked for proper medical intervention. The common thought is that hospitalization is costly and as long as the symptoms do not persist, sick people would rather stay at home than in the hospital.

However, Pneumonia can be fatal when left untreated. Therefore, it is beneficial to have an idea what Pneumonia is in order to recognize the right time to consult a doctor for suspected Pneumonia case before it is too late.

Pneumonia is a common lung infection that can affect one or both lungs. Its major causes are bacteria, viruses and fungi. In Pneumonia, the microorganisms would attack the air sacs and the lining of the airways. Consequently, the body would attempt to fight back these microorganisms through the inflammatory process. Eventually, the person will be manifesting symptoms that are related to the presence of infection.

The mode of transmission of this illness is airborne-droplet. This means that a person may acquire the disease upon inhalation of the microorganisms that causes Pneumonia from either suspended in the air or from droplets of secretions from an infected individual. These microorganisms are spread in the air by an infected person upon sneezing or coughing.

Moreover, a person can also be risk of developing Pneumonia in the presence of other conditions that impair the ability the cough out secretions from the oral and nasal cavity to avoid them from getting into the lungs and cause infection. Some of these conditions are stroke, neurological degenerative diseases and problems with swallowing. Aging can also risk a person to acquire Pneumonia. Aside from the deterioration of bodily functions such as swallowing, elderly people has weakened immune system as well. Besides, when the immune system is down, the body is less capable of resisting acquisition of diseases.

Pneumonia Symptoms

Pneumonia symptoms may start with cold’s symptoms and as it progresses, more manifestations will occur that would distinguish Pneumonia from other illnesses. The common Pneumonia symptoms are as follows:

1. Sneezing
2. Sore throat
3. High fever
4. Productive cough (rusty colored-sputum)
5. Chills
6. Chest pain
7. Difficulty of breathing
8. Cyanosis

The severity of Pneumonia symptoms are dependent on what portion of the lungs is affected by the infection. An infection that is more likely affecting the airways in the lungs will be distinguished through the increased amount of sputum being coughed out. On the other hand, when the air sacs are the affected structures, manifestations will be more related to disruption in gas exchange. The blood becomes less oxygenated due to the presence of fluids and pus in the air sacs resulting to difficulty of breathing and cyanosis (bluish discoloration which maybe evident on the skin, nail beds and lips). Fever, chills and chest pain are associated with the presence of inflammation. However, some individuals would display lighter Pneumonia symptoms such as mild headache, muscle pain and progressive cough.

Pneumonia Diagnosis

The following laboratory examinations can be performed to diagnose Pneumonia:

Chest X-ray

Chest X-ray is a radiologic examination that confirms presence of Pneumonia. This displays whether which lobe of the lungs is affected.

Sputum Examination

Sputum examination is used to identify what organism had caused the illness. In fact, there are specific microorganisms that serve as causative agent for Pneumonia. In other words, not all lung infections are considered Pneumonia.

As mentioned earlier, Pneumonia can be brought about by bacteria, viruses and fungi. The following is a specific list of the most common causative agents of Pneumonia:

Bacteria

1. Streptococcus pneumonia
2. Klebsiella pneumoniae
3. Hemophilus influenzae
4. Mycoplasma pneumoniae
5. Legionella pneumoniae
6. Chlamydia pneumonia

Viruses

1. Adenoviruses
2. Rhinoviruses
3. Influenza viruses
4. Respiratory syncytial virus
5. Parainfluenza virus

Fungi

1. Histoplasmosis
2. Coccidiomycosis
3. Blastomycosis
4. Aspergillosis
5. Cryptococcosis

Furthermore, Pneumonia can be diagnosed as well through blood test and bronchoscopy.

Blood Test

A blood test is usually performed to determine if there is a significant increase in specific components of the White Blood Cells (WBC) such as the neutrophil and lymphocyte. These components would somehow differentiate whether Pneumonia is bacterial in nature or might have been caused by other microorganisms. An increase in the level of neutrophils would indicate bacterial infection, while an elevation in lymphocytes level connote other causative agents are involved.

Bronchoscopy

Bronchoscopy is done with the use of a bronchoscope. This is a thin tube which is flexible enough to pass through the mouth or nose to have a direct view on the airways. This can also be used to obtain specimen of tissues or secretions from the infected lung portion.

Pneumonia Treatment

The treatment for Pneumonia is based on its causative agent. Pneumonia that is caused by bacteria and fungus are treated with the use of specific antibiotics. Some of the most common antibiotics used to treat Pneumonia are penicillin, combined amoxillin and clavulanic acid (Augmentin), azithromycin, levofloxacin and fluconazole. On the hand, viral Pneumonia is self-limiting or it resolves on its own and is dependent on the condition of the immune system. Therefore, the best way to handle this type of Pneumonia is to boost the immune system by taking enough rest and nutrition.

Pneumonia symptoms should be attended accordingly. Pneumonia is too common as an illness and its popularity heightens as it becomes one of the most common causes of death of thousands of people worldwide.

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