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Acute Pneumonia – Causes of Acute Pneumonia, Symptoms, Treatment

Pneumonia is a respiratory disease that is characterized by an inflammation of lung parenchyma. This causes small air sacs of lungs, known as alveoli, to accumulate fluid in it. This condition causes shortness of breath or difficulty in breathing. Pneumonia is caused by several microorganisms and also due to lung injuries. Acute form of pneumonia or acute pneumonia is certainly a serious condition, particularly in young children and elder people. In children below 5 years of age, pneumonia leads to death. Acute form of pneumonia is characterized by the sudden onset of the disease, whereas chronic form progresses slowly.

Causes of Acute Pneumonia:

This disease is caused by virus, bacteria, protozoa or fungi in both adults and children. Bacteria is the most common microorganism that causes pneumonia. Usually, these enter into body through nose, eyes and mouth and hence, infects lungs, particularly alveoli or air sacs of lungs. Often, pneumonia affects the lower lobes of lungs. Pneumonia is also caused by any damage or injury to lungs, which is caused by the exposure to certain radiation and chemicals. Apart from these, people who are given aspiration and radiation therapy can also suffer from acute pneumonia.

Symptoms of Acute Pneumonia:

Symptoms of the condition vary depending upon the microorganisms. For instance, viral pneumonia symptoms vary from the symptoms of bacterial pneumonia. However, most people experience influenza-like symptoms in the early stage, that worsens gradually. Here are some of the common symptoms of acute pneumonia:

  • Sore throat
  • Fever with chill
  • Breathing difficulty
  • Flushed cheeks
  • Coughing
  • Wheezing
  • Chest pain
  • Increased heart rate
  • Lips and nails turns to blue color
  • Profuse sweating

Treatment for Acute Pneumonia:

Exact form of acute pneumonia play vital role in the treatment of the condition. Diagnosis is done for the detection of the condition. Physical examination, chest x-ray and mucus and blood tests are done. Antibiotics, such as amoxicillin, clarithromycin, erythromycin, pencillin, etc. are used for treating bacterial pneumonia. Other antibiotics can also be used for curing the condition based on the type of bacteria. Antibiotics are also used for treating mycoplasma pneumonia. Usual antibiotics fail to treat viral pneumonia. Often, rimantadine, oseltamivir, zanamivir and amantadine are used for treating viral pneumonia. However, antibiotics are required for viral acute pneumonia, if the condition is associated with bacterial infection of lungs. Usually, patients are advised to take rest and balanced diet for fast recovery. Mechanical ventilation or oxygen therapy may be required, if this results in congestion and difficulty in breathing.

In some cases, acute pneumonia leads to certain complications such as endocarditis, pleuritis and pericarditis. In pleuritis, fluid accumulates between inner chest wall and pleura layers, that causes cough, shortness of breath and chest pain. In pericarditis, pericardium tissues surrounding the heart becomes inflamed. Endocarditis is characterized by the inflammation of inner lining of heart and also heart valves. Acute pneumonia must be treated in the early stages to avoid complications.

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