November 17, 2017
Congenital Disorders; How to prevent birth defects
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Do you know that pneumonia is responsible for 16% of all deaths of children under 5 years old, killing 920 136 children in 2015 worldwide? Pneumonia is the single largest infectious cause of death in children worldwide. Here, we go through the causes, symptoms and treatments of Pneumonia.
Pneumonia is a serious infection that affects one or both lungs especially the lung sacs otherwise known as alveoli where the exchange of gases like carbon dioxide and oxygen takes place. This infection is caused by bacteria, viruses and fungi which cause inflammation in the airway. This makes the sacs to be filled with pus or fluid. Symptoms can be mild or severe which may include chest pain, difficulty in breathing, cough, chills and fever. Pneumonia can be classified based on the bacteria, virus or fungi that cause it, where it is acquired and degree of inflammation they cause in the lungs. It includes:
Community acquired pneumonia: Community-acquired pneumonia is the most common type of pneumonia. It found outside of hospitals or health care facilities. It may be caused by:
Bacteria. The most common cause of bacterial pneumonia in the U.S. is Streptococcus pneumoniae. This type of pneumonia can occur on its own or after you’ve had a cold or the flu. It may affect one part (lobe) of the lung; a condition called lobar pneumonia.
Bacteria-like organisms. Mycoplasma pneumonia can cause pneumonia. It typically produces milder symptoms than other types of pneumonia. Walking pneumonia is an informal name given to this type of pneumonia, which typically isn’t severe enough to require bed rest.
Fungi. This type of pneumonia is most common in people with chronic health problems or weakened immune systems. It is common in people who have inhaled large doses of the organisms. The fungi that cause it can be found in soil or bird droppings and vary depending upon geographic location.
Viruses. Some of the viruses that cause colds and flu can cause pneumonia. Viruses are the most common cause of pneumonia in children younger than 5 years. Viral pneumonia is usually mild. But in some cases, it can become very serious.
Hospital acquired pneumonia: This is the type of pneumonia is common among people who are sick in the hospital. It is caused by bacteria which very often are resistant to antibiotics. Tests and investigations are carried out at regular intervals when one is admitted to the hospital. This type is common among patients on ventilators (breathing machines) in the intensive care units and dialysis centres.
Health practitioner acquired pneumonia: This pneumonia is caused by bacteria and is common among health workers like nurses, doctor, cleaners and health workers in the hospitals or any health facilities especially those who live in long term care facilities.
Aspiration pneumonia: Aspiration pneumonia occurs when you inhale food, drink, vomit or saliva into your lungs. Aspiration is more likely if something disturbs your normal gag reflex, such as a brain injury or swallowing problem, or excessive use of alcohol or drugs.
Pneumonia can be further classified based on the inflammatory process in the lungs.
Lobar pneumonia: This affects one or two of the lobes of the lungs. It affects the entire alveoli space.
Bronchopneumonia: This pneumonia is characterised by inflammatory processes around the bronchi throughout the lungs. It is more diffuse than lobar pneumonia.
Lipid pneumonia: This is characterised by the accumulation of fats in the airspaces which cause airway obstruction.
The signs and symptoms of pneumonia may vary from mild to life threatening. These depend on the factors or microorganisms causing the infection and your age and overall health. Mild signs and symptoms often are close to those of cold or flu, but they last longer. Signs and symptoms of pneumonia may include:
Those at Risk of Developing Pneumonia
Pneumonia is detected after a thorough physical examination and history have been taken by the doctor or nurse. This is followed by some tests and investigations to determine the causative organism of the disease. These tests include:
Pneumonia is treated by curing the infection, relieving symptoms and preventing the complication of the disease.
Vaccination against certain diseases that can lead to pneumonia is important. These vaccines include:
These complications might occur if prompt treatment is not carried out to attack the infectious process.
Pleural effusion: it is characterised by the accumulation of fluid in the pleural space (between the ribs).
Septicemia: This is an increased level of infection in the blood.
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease: this results due to pleural effusion in the lungs which causes breathing difficulty and cough.