Pneumonia & Weight Loss

By Kristie Jernigan

Pneumonia is an inflammation in the lungs that causes difficulty with breathing and will sometimes require hospitalization. Pneumonia can wreak havoc on a person's health and can cause weight loss that can sometimes be severe. Pneumonia along with weight loss can make it more difficult for a person to recover and cause a continued downward spiral of a person's health.

Pneumonia is an inflammation in the lungs that causes difficulty with breathing and will sometimes require hospitalization. Pneumonia can wreak havoc on a person’s health and can cause weight loss that can sometimes be severe. Pneumonia along with weight loss can make it more difficult for a person to recover and cause a continued downward spiral of a person’s health.

Types

There are different types of pneumonia and all of them can result in weight loss. These types include: Bacterial pneumonia, Methicillin Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus (MRSA) and aspiration pneumonia, which is caused when someone inhales fluids or vomit into their lungs. Each of these types can be dangerous and even deadly if not treated promptly.

Causes

Causes of pneumonia and weight loss can be due to breathing in bacteria or substances that get lodged into the lungs and subsequently cause an inflammation or infection. According to the National Library of Medicine, pneumonia caused by bacteria is the most serious type of pneumonia. Weight loss comes as a result from the severity of the pneumonia on the person’s body. For example, some cases of pneumonia can overburden the system, which causes the person to become worn down and de-conditioned. As a result, the person’s health declines and a loss of appetite and weight loss occurs.

Effects

The potential effects of pneumonia and weight loss can be great. According to the National Library of Medicine, pneumonia affects millions of people every year. The effects of pneumonia and weight loss on a person’s body are just one aspect to consider. If a person becomes extremely ill, a hospital stay will be necessary for him to fully recover. This in turn drives up the cost of health care and also causes taxpayers money when the person has no insurance or is indigent. In addition, there are lost work days to the sufferers and increased costs to employers.

Identification

The identification of pneumonia and weight loss must be done as quickly as possible. Otherwise the condition will worsen and, in some cases, can become life-threatening. To identify the problem, your physician will do a complete physical examination. The physician will listen to the lungs to see if there is any wheezing or crackling, which can be indicative a problem. According to the National Library of Medicine, people who suffer from pneumonia usually have difficulty breathing and may struggle to breathe. Blood work, such as arterial blood gases, will be done to make sure you are getting enough oxygen into the blood stream. Cultures of the sputum may be done to try and determine the exact bacteria that are causing problem. In addition, if there is fluid in the space around the lungs, a pleural fluid culture may also be done. Finally, the physician may also take x-rays to look at the lungs and in some cases may even order a CT scan.

Treatment

Treatment for pneumonia and weight loss involves different methods. The physician will probably encourage you to rest and take it easy for a few days. He may even decide that you need to be placed into a hospital for more direct and comprehensive treatment. They may prescribe antibiotics, such as amoxicillin, sparfloxacin or macrolide. Breathing treatments may also need to be done, as well as fluids through an IV if there is severe dehydration.

References

About the Author

Kristie Jernigan is a health writer with over 17 years of experience as a medical social worker. She has worked mainly with the elderly population and with children. She holds a Bachelor of Science in psychology and early childhood from East Tennessee State University and a Master of Science in health care administration and gerontology from the University of Phoenix.

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