Understanding the Types, Causes, and Diagnosis of Pneumonia
An infection in your respiratory system can be life-threatening if left untreated. Some infections are Bacterial, while others are viral and fungal. Proper treatment is only possible when the correct diagnosis is given. In any case, you cannot afford to ignore seeking treatment, especially where you suspect that you have pneumonia.
What Is Pneumonia?
It is an infection that attacks the respiratory system, causing inflammation in the air sacs in your lungs. These air sacs are called alveoli. When they are inflamed, they usually fill up with fluid, like pus. This will make it difficult for you to breathe.
Pneumonia can be viral, bacterial, or fungal. Either way, the germs that cause this disease are very contagious. They are easy to spread from person to person, often through airborne droplets. A sneeze or a cough is the one way to spread this infection from one person to the other.
Causes of Pneumonia
The causes of pneumonia can only be identified by classifying them according to the causative agents. Usually, the infection can be caused by:
- Bacterial pneumonia – it is the most common cause, with the bacteria known as Streptococcus pneumoniae. It affects many adults and most likely affects one part of a lung.
- Viral pneumonia – Pneumonia can result from respiratory viruses like the flu or common cold. This type of pneumonia is milder than its counterparts. It can even improve without treatment from an ER near you, after a few weeks.
- Fungal pneumonia – can be spread from bird droppings or soil. It is common among patients who have a weak immune system. For such, you need to ensure you are attended to at an emergency room in Austin, ensuring that the disease won’t be fatal.
Types of Pneumonia
When discussing the types of pneumonia, it is usually a different classification, based on how or where the infection was acquired. Any of the above-mentioned causes of pneumonia have a different form of acquisition, including the following:
- Aspiration pneumonia – it is commonly caused by bacteria you inhale into your lungs. Sources can be foods, drinks, vomit, saliva, and environs. In most cases, patients who get this type of pneumonia are not strong enough to cough out the particles they Inhaled. This then allows the particles to travel into your lungs and cause an infection. People who use alcohol or other drugs are highly susceptible to this kind of pneumonia.
- Ventilator-associated pneumonia (VAP) – while you receive treatment in the hospital, using a ventilator to aid your breathing is necessary for some treatments. However, the ventilator also makes it hard for you to cough out any pollutants, therefore, trapping them in your system. If you acquire pneumonia in this way, it is called VAP pneumonia.
- Hospital-acquired pneumonia (HAP) – this is termed as one of the most dangerous kinds of pneumonia, having that it can be resistant to antibiotics. Usually, it is acquired during a stay in the hospital.
- Community-acquired pneumonia (CAP) – any type of pneumonia acquired outside a medical facility is called CAP pneumonia.
What Are the Symptoms of Pneumonia?
Any pneumonia diagnosis starts by acknowledging the symptoms you are experiencing. The types of pneumonia you have and the underlying cause can go a long way in dictating the symptoms you exhibit. Beyond that, your overall health standing and age will also affect how the infection affects you. Some of the common symptoms among pneumonia patients are:
- Spiting mucus when you cough
- Pain in your middle back
- Chest pains
- Difficulty breathing
- Chills and fever
- Distressing cough
- Nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea
Tips for Pneumonia Prevention
Pneumonia prevention is possible if you stick to basic guidelines for caring for your health. Some of the tips to help you along are:
- Flu vaccine – getting a flu vaccine annually can help fight this disease.
- Quit smoking and excessive use of alcohol – it is also an important factor for pneumonia recovery.
- Keep up with proper hygiene – there are multiple ways for you to compromise your health through poor hygiene. For pneumonia, practicing good hygiene helps. Wash your hands with running water and soap frequently, or rely on an alcohol-based sanitizer.
- Watch your immune system – eat plenty of fruits and vegetables, along with plenty of water to flush out toxins.