Pneumonia affects approximately 450 million people globally per year, seven percent of population, and results in about 4 million deaths, mostly in third-world countries.
Pneumonia is an infection of the lungs that is caused by bacteria, viruses, fungi, or parasites. It is characterized primarily by inflammation of the alveoli in the lungs or by alveoli that are filled with fluid (alveoli are microscopic sacs in the lungs that absorb oxygen). At times a very serious condition, pneumonia can make a person very sick or even cause death. Although the disease can occur in young and healthy people, it is most dangerous for older adults, babies, and people with other diseases or impaired immune systems.
Causes, Symptoms & Treatment
Bacteria and viruses are the primary causes of pneumonia. When a person breathes pneumonia-causing germs into his lungs and his body’s immune system cannot otherwise prevent entry, the organisms settle in small air sacs called alveoli and continue multiplying. As the body sends white blood cells to attack the infection, the sacs become filed with fluid and pus – causing pneumonia.
Pneumonia has bacterial, viral, fungal, and other primary causes.
Some people are more likely than others to develop pneumonia.
Individuals at higher risk include those who:
- Abuse alcohol
- Have other medical conditions, such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, emphysema, asthma, or HIV/AIDS.
- Are younger than 1 year of age or older than 65.
- Have a weakened or impaired immune system.
- Take medicines for gastroesophageal reflux disease.
- Have recently recovered from a cold or influenza infection.
- Are malnourished.
- Have been recently hospitalized in an intensive care unit.
- Have been exposed to certain chemicals or pollutants.
- Have any increased risk of breathing mucus or saliva from the
nose or mouth, liquids, or food from the stomach into the lungs.
Symptoms of pneumonia caused by bacteria usually come on more quickly than pneumonia caused by virus. Elderly persons and small children may actually have fewer or more mild symptoms than expected for such high risk groups.
Most people with pneumonia begin with cold and flu symptoms and then develop a high fever, chills, and cough with sputum.
Although symptoms may vary greatly depending on other underlying conditions, common symptoms include:
- Rusty or green mucus (sputum) coughed up from lungs
- Fast breathing and shortness of breath Shaking chills Chest pain that usually worsens when taking a deep breath (pleuritic pain)
- Fast heartbeat
- Fatigue and feeling very weak
- Nausea and vomiting
- Muscle pain
- Confusion or delirium
- Dusky or purplish skin color (cyanosis) from poorly oxygenated blood
Over-the-counter medications are also commonly prescribed to better manage pneumonia symptoms. These include treatments for reducing fever, reducing aches and pains, and suppressing coughs. In addition, it is important to get plenty of rest and sleep and drink lots of fluids.
Hospitalization for pneumonia may be required if symptoms are especially bad or a patient has a weakened immune system or other serious illness. At the hospital, patients generally are treated with intravenous antibiotics and possibly put on oxygen.
Even though prescription medications are an available treatment option to help manage pneumonia, the good news is that at Murugu Natural & Nutritional Clinic, we cure the condition permanently in a record three weeks.