Pneumonia: Causes, Symptoms and Risk Factors

Updated on 21 November 2022

Pneumonia: Causes, Symptoms and Risk Factors

Pneumonia is a kind of lung infection caused by bacteria, viruses, fungi, or parasites. It can be life-threatening if not treated properly. It causes the air sacs of either one or both lungs to become inflamed. The air sacs can be clogged with pus (purulent material) or fluid, resulting in pus or phlegm, difficulty in breathing, chills, and fever. The severity of pneumonia disease can range from mild to even life-threatening. It is especially dangerous for children, people over the age of 65, and those with weak immune systems or health problems.

The symptoms and signs of Pneumonia range from mild to severe. These symptoms entirely depend on the type of germ that's causing the infection, as well as your overall health and age. Mild symptoms and signs are generally similar to a common infection, including a cold or the flu. However, in the case of pneumonia, these symptoms and signs tend to last way longer. Infants and newborns are known not to show any symptoms or signs of infection. However, they may have difficulty eating or breathing, appear tired and restless, have cough and fever, as well as vomit.

When To Visit A Doctor?

You need to consult your doctor if you notice the pneumonia symptoms, which include having trouble breathing, having a persistent cough (especially if you're coughing up pus), a persistent high fever (of 102°F or 39°C), or chest pain. Individuals within these high-risk segments need to visit a doctor as soon as possible: 

  • Individuals over the age of 65.
  • Children under the age of 2 with symptoms and signs.
  • Patients who are undergoing chemotherapy or taking immunosuppressive medications. 
  • People who have a pre-existing medical condition or a weak immune system. 

Pneumonia can easily become a life-threatening condition for certain individuals with chronic lung problems or heart failure. 

Risk Factors

Anyone can get pneumonia. However, the age groups that are most at risk include:

  • Children under the age of two years.
  • Adults over the age of 65.

Some other risk factors include:

  • Smoking: Smoking increases the risk of developing pneumonia. It tends to damage the natural defences of the body against viruses and bacteria that cause pneumonia. 
  • Asthma: People with asthma are more likely to develop pneumonia than people without asthma.
  • Immunosuppression: People who have weakened immune systems are more prone to developing pneumonia. These include people with HIV/AIDS, those who are undergoing or went through chemotherapy, those who have had an organ transplant, as well as those who receive long-term steroids. 
  • Diabetes: Diabetic people are more likely to develop pneumonia than people without diabetes.
  • Hospitalisation: If you're on a ventilator (a machine that assists in breathing) in the ICU (Intensive Care Unit) that you are at a high risk of developing pneumonia. 

Final Words

Most people tend to recover from pneumonia with proper treatment. However, it can lead to certain complications, especially for those at high-risk. These complications can include bacteria spreading to the blood and other organs, a lung abscess, fluid build-up around the lungs, and severe breathing difficulties. Pneumonia can even be fatal in certain cases. Hence, it is crucial to seek medical attention from the best pulmonology hospital in Raipur if you suspect that you may have pneumonia.





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