Pneumonia is an illness that causes inflammation in the lungs. It has a number of symptoms and has also a number of causes. It can sometimes be confused with bronchitis. A chest x-ray may definitely diagnose pneumonia. Breathing in air droplets from someone with this illness is the most common way of catching it.
The symptoms of pneumonia are:
- Chest pain
- Shortness of breath
When the lungs are infected with bacteria, their response is inflammation. This is the body's answer when bacteria reproduce in the lungs. White blood cells are released, which in turn release cytokines, which activate the general immune system but result in fever, chills, and fatigue. Inflammation occurs in the microscopic sacs in the lungs, called alveoli, and the lungs works less efficiently than usual. They become stiffer and unable to absorb oxygen into our blood. They also have difficulty in removing carbon dioxide from our blood.
Inflammation is the cause of shortness of breath. The lungs find it hard to pump in enough oxygen to the body. This causes the sensation of shortness of breath. Inflammation also causes chest pain, fever, and coughing. Shortness of breath could be more noticeable if the patient has other lung conditions like emphysema and asthma.
Some causes of pneumonia are:
- Bacteria. Legionella pneumophilia, mycoplasma pneumonia, streptococcus pneumonia, and chlamydia trachomatis are among the most common causes of bacterial pneumonia. When the lungs get infected with these bacteria, inflammation occurs as explained in the above paragraphs. Among the causes of pneumonia listed here, bacteria are the most common. They cause a large part of the illness. Bacterial pneumonia is very treatable, however.
- Virus. Influenza virus, respiratory synctial virus, and metapneumovirus are among the most common viruses that cause viral pneumonia. Viruses attack the cell linings, which result in the direct death of those cells. These viruses also make the lungs and other organs susceptible to bacterial infections. This results in a complication of bacterial and viral pneumonia.
- Toxic materials. These materials cause chemical pneumonia. When the person inhales toxic materials, the lungs are injured, which caused this kind of pneumonia.
- Fungi. Opportunistic or endemic fungi can cause fungal pneumonia. The lungs may also be infected with both kinds of fungi. This has a high mortality rate when compared to other kinds of pneumonia.
- Parasites. Parasitic pneumonia is comparatively rare. This mainly occurs only with immuno-compromised individuals. When parasites reach the lungs, they inflect a combination of cellular destruction and disruption of oxygen supply.
- Atypical. Atypical pneumonia refers to pneumonia not caused by the more common disease causing agents.
Other causes are environment-acquired. They could be community, hospital, or ventilator-associated. Notably, community-acquired pneumonia is a leading cause of deaths and illness worldwide. You do not catch this illness by simply not dressing aptly for cold or rainy weather. Those are the causes and symptoms of pneumonia, and the one effective way to avoid this illness is to practice proper hygiene.