We understand your fears about pneumonia being one of the top causes of death worlwide but awareness about what it is can help you save your life.
Pneumonia refers to an infection that occurs in the lungs and is caused by bacteria, parasites, fungi or viruses.
One of the reactions of the body when it comes in contact with the pneumonia causing bacterium, fungus or virus is inflammation of the alveoli in the lungs or the filling up of alveoli with fluid. Sometimes, pneumonia can make a person either very sick or at the hands of death, While it is most likely to occur in young as well as healthy people, it has been found to be very dangerous in older adults, people with other types of diseases or those with an impaired immune system and babies.
More than 3 million people in the US develop pneumonia each year and about 70 percent of them have to seek treatment in a hospital. While most people suffering from pneumonia recover with medication and diet, there are others who succumb to it.
What Happens in Pneumonia?
Once you have been infected by the pneumonia-causing organism, the symptoms will take about 1 to 3 days or 7 to 10 days to show up depending on your general health and other factors. How severe the condition is and how long it stays depends on the following factors:
- Age and Health: the older you are the sicker you will be and get a name in the list of those with severe cases of pneumonia.
- How quickly you seek treatment: the sooner you seek treatment, the higher you are likely to come out of the disease safely and without much complication.
- Whether your immune system is weak or strong: if your immune system is impaired or weakened, you are likely to have a severe form of pneumonia.
- Whether it was a bacterium or virus that triggered pneumonia: it has been found via researches that viral pneumonia is less severe compared with one caused by bacteria.
Who is at High Risk of Contracting Pneumonia?
Like most diseases, there is always someone who is more likely than the other to contract pneumonia. Some people who run the highest risk of pneumonia include:
- Alcohol abusers
- Those who have other medical conditions like chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, asthma, emphysema or HIV/AIDS
- Those with an impaired or weakened immune system
- Those who take medication for the treatment of gastroesophageal reflux disease
- Malnourished people
- Persons who have only recently recovered from influenza infection or cold
- Those who were recently hospitalised in ICU
- Natives of Alaska
- People who have been exposed to certain types of pollutants or chemicals
If you have been suffering from the symptoms of pneumonia, it is important for you to visit the doctor and come to a conclusive diagnosis so you can seek treatment at the earliest.
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