Pneumonia

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Overview of Pneumonia

Pneumonia is characterized by inflammation of the lungs. There are different forms of pneumonia, based on the causative agent of pneumonia. These forms include atypical pneumonia, streptococcal pneumonia and viral pneumonia. Atypical pneumonia is also known as walking pneumonia. The causative agents of atypical pneumonia are different from the typical bacteria that cause streptococcal pneumonia. Pneumonia causing pathogens invade and colonize the lungs. The cause inflammation and swelling in the lung and increase the production of mucous, and cause breathing problems. According to CDC, every year pneumonia and flu cause large number of deaths all over the world, ranking it 8th on the list of deadliest diseases.

Causes and Risk Factors of Pneumonia

Atypical is caused by different type of bacteria (atypical bacteria), ones that differ from the bacteria that cause typical pneumonia. These bacteria include Mycoplasma, Legionella and Chlamydophila. Atypical pneumonia is a comparatively mild form of pneumonia. The typical pneumonia is caused by Streptococcus pneumoniae, thus given the name Streptococcal pneumonia. Other bacterial agents involved along with S. pneumoniae include Haemophilus influenza and Klebsiella pneumoniae. Viral pneumonia is caused by different viruses that target the upper respiratory tract, they include adenovirus, flu and cold virus, respiratory syncytial virus and chicken pox. Age is a major risk factor of pneumonia and children and elderly (above 65) are considered to be at high risk of developing pneumonia. Immunocompromised individuals, smokers and pregnant women at also included in the risk group being affected by pneumonia.

Signs and Symptoms of Pneumonia

The symptoms of all three kinds of pneumonia are more or less the same. The prominent symptoms of pneumonia include high grade fever, cough, chills, muscle pain, loss of appetite, headache, difficulty breathing, fatigue, sweating, and blueness of lips and shortness of breath. Rash may appear if Mycoplasma is involved and diarrhea and mental confusion may occur if infection of Legionella has occurred.