Bronchopneumonia, more commonly known as simply pneumonia, is an infection that causes inflammation of the lung. Pneumonia affects a large number of people 65 and older but can also impact infants and otherwise healthy adults.
Viruses, fungi, parasites and bacteria are common causes of pneumonia, although most cases of the infection are caused by viruses and bacteria. Pneumonia can also be caused by the accidental inhaling of various substances into the lungs, such as liquid, vomit, food or liquids.
Pneumonia fills the lung's alveoli with fluid, which prevents oxygen from efficiently reaching the bloodstream. The symptoms of pneumonia are caused by the body's reaction to the filling of the lungs and its effort to fight off the infection. According to the National Institutes of Health, the most common symptoms of pneumonia are cough with mucus, fever, shaking chills and shortness of breath. Other symptoms include headaches, excessive sweating, stabbing chest pain, fatigue, loss of appetite and confusion.
For serious cases of pneumonia, when the patient is either over the age of 65, under the age of 2 or has another serious condition, such as heart disease, patients are usually admitted into a hospital. Hospital treatment consists of receiving fluids and antibiotics delivered through the veins, breathing treatments and oxygen therapy. Mild pneumonia in otherwise healthy individuals is generally treated with oral antibiotics on an outpatient basis.
According to the National Heart and Lung Blood Institute, you should see a doctor if you experience the following relapse symptoms of pneumonia:
-high fever -shaking chills -cough with phlegm that does not improve or worsens -shortness of breath with normal daily activities -chest pain when you breathe or cough -feel worse after a cold or the flu
There are several factors that can increase your chances of getting pneumonia or experiencing a pneumonia relapse. According the National Institutes of Health, the following factors increase your risk of pneumonia:
-smoking cigarette -recent viral respiratory infection (cold, laryngitis, flu) -chronic lung disease (COPD, bronchiectasis, cystic fibrosis) -cerebral palsy -heart disease, liver cirrhosis, or diabetes mellitus -living in a nursing facility -impaired consciousness -surgery or trauma -immune system problem