Pneumonia is a pulmonary disease mainly caused by infection with bacteria, viruses and fungi. There are many forms of pneumonia and some of them are considered to be life-threatening. When pneumonia is caused by bacterial infection, immediate medical treatment with antibiotics is required.
Viral pneumonia is usually less serious and can in time clear on itself. Medical treatments are not very effective in overcoming viral forms of pneumonia and if the disease is not serious, no specific medications are required.
Viral forms of pneumonia generate milder symptoms that usually ameliorate with time. Viral pneumonia is very rare in adults, but very common in young children. Some of the symptoms of viral pneumonia are cough, chest pain, difficulty breathing, muscle pain or soreness and a general state of fatigue.
Pneumonia can also be caused by mycoplasmas. Mycoplasmas resemble both viruses and bacteria and they are the smallest infectious agents responsible for causing diseases. Mycoplasmas are considered to be responsible for causing around 20 percent of general pneumonia cases.
Bacterial pneumonia has the highest incidence in very young children and elderly people. People with chronic pulmonary obstructive disease (emphysema, chronic bronchitis) are also very exposed to developing pneumonia.
Pneumonia is very common in people with diabetes, heart dysfunctions or weak immune system and patients who have suffered surgical interventions or chemotherapy are also predisposed to developing pneumonia.
Pneumonia is a very contagious disease. The infectious agents responsible for causing pneumonia are airborne and they can be easily contracted through breathing. Pneumonia can also be acquired through direct contact with a contaminated person.
Pneumonia can either affect one or both lungs. When bacteria reach inside the lungs, they quickly spread and grow in number, causing serious damage to the pulmonary tissue. When pneumonia is caused by bacteria, it is very important to follow an appropriate medical treatment with antibiotics.
Untreated pneumonia can become severe and can even cause death. Complicated pneumonia involves bacterial infection of both lungs and it is very difficult to overcome with medical treatment.
Statistics indicate that around 3 million people in the United States alone are diagnosed with pneumonia each year. If the disease is not discovered in time, some patients can’t be recovered from the illness.
According to statistics, almost 5 percent of hospitalized people with pneumonia don’t respond well to the specific treatments and eventually die.
Although some forms of pneumonia are very difficult to overcome, the disease can be prevented through vaccination. Pneumonia vaccines are recommended to all people who present a high degree of risk in developing this disease.
The pneumonia vaccine should be administered every 5 or 6 years and it is very effective in preventing the development of pulmonary diseases such as pneumonia.