Lungs are the life-saving organs of the human body. Pneumonia is a medical condition which can impair our life saver lungs. To keep it short, it refers to a medical condition where there is an inflammation of the lungs. This is a result of a bacterial, viral, or fungal infection. Some pathogens and parasites too cause this condition. It can be particularly dangerous if an individual is older than 65 or has a chronic illness or impaired immune system. However, there is no age limit as to when it can strike you.
The only good part is that when you are young, you are more capable of fighting the disease. This disease could range from mild to life-threatening and can be an outcome of another condition, such as flu. The infection could either be an acquired one, from being in public or the outer environment or hospital. In fact, you are more at a risk of acquiring it in a hospital than otherwise.
Symptoms and Effects
There are many symptoms identified with this condition. But some of them overlap with symptoms of other health problems as well. The most common symptoms are:
- Shortness of breath
- Shaking chills
- Chest pain that fluctuates with breathing (pleurisy)
- Muscle pain
The catch here is that those who are more vulnerable to pneumonia - people with chronic illness or weak immune system, could have fever or milder symptoms than people having lesser risk. If the condition is of a chronic level, the individual may cough up blood, have headaches, diarrhea (in some cases), and loss of appetite.
If at all you have persistent cough, shortness of breath, chest pain, sudden fever, especially a high fever lasting for a long time (102°F), consult the doctor as soon as possible. More so, if the fever is higher than 102°F with sweating and chills, get a medical check up done. It is advisable not to lose time if you smoke or drink excessively or fall in the senior citizen category. It can culminate into a life-threatening situation for people with heart failure or lung ailments.
Probable Effects of Pneumonia
Bacteria in the Bloodstream
Pneumonia creates a problem by obstructing your breathing. On top of it, if the infection gets an entry in the blood stream, it can wreak a havoc. It can spread to other organs that way.
Infection and Fluid Accumulation
There are situations where fluid is accumulated between the thin, transparent membrane which covers your lungs and the one lining the inner surface of the chest wall. What usually is the status that these membranes are smooth, facilitating a smooth breathing process. When these membranes become inflamed, fluid can accumulate and could be infected.
Abscess of the Lung
Abscess can be formed in the lungs. A cavity containing puss or abscess forms in and around the area.
Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome
Breathing could be obstructed, leaving the body short of oxygen. This called Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome or ARDS.
Older people and those who have weak immune system need to be a bit more careful than the others, in order to avoid serious problems emanating from pneumonia. There are shots and vaccines which are very common to prevent this disease. Ultimately effects of this disease can be avoided with little care and alertness! Take care!