What Is Pneumonia?
Pneumonia is a lung infection that occurs when an infection causes the air sacs (alveoli) in the lungs to fill with pus. This makes it difficult to breathe in enough oxygen to reach the bloodstream. Although anyone can get this infection, it is more common in infants below age 2 and people over age 65, as they have a weaker immune system which is not strong enough to fight infection. Pneumonia can affect either one or both lungs. Some people may have it and be unaware. Experts term it as Walking pneumonia. Infection can vary from mild to very severe - which may require hospitalization.
Causes of Pneumonia
Bacteria, viruses, or fungi can prompt pneumonia. If the cause of pneumonia is bacteria or a virus, it can be contagious.
Typical causes include flu viruses, cold viruses, Streptococcus pneumoniae and Mycoplasma pneumoniae bacteria or RSV virus A hospital stay is also one of the causes of pneumonia and termed as "hospital-acquired" pneumonia.
If the pneumonia is specifically caused by the use of a ventilator during the hospital stay then it is term as “ventilator-associated pneumonia”. The majority of pneumonia cases are the result of “community-acquired pneumonia,” which implies people didn’t get it in a hospital. Smoking cigarettes and too much alcohol consumption drinking increase the risk of getting pneumonia.
The doctor may suggest undergoing a few tests for pneumonia diagnosis
- Blood tests -this determines signs of a bacterial infection if any.
- Chest X-ray - this is done to detect the infection in the lungs and how far it’s developed.
- Pulse oximetry - to estimate the oxygen level in the blood
- Sputum test - to find if there is any fluid in the lungs for the cause of an infection If pneumonia signs began during a hospital stay, test like an arterial blood gas test, bronchoscopy, CT scan, pleural fluid culture may be suggested
The course of treatment may depend on the type of pneumonia you have. Some may get better with antibiotics while others may even require hospitalization
Dr. Jeenam Shah, Chest and Allergy Clinic offers state-of-the-art advanced diagnosis and treatment for various Pulmonary and Respiratory ailments. The clinic has expertise in managing various respiratory diseases like pneumonia.