Respiratory Disease – Pneumonia

For this week’s Assignment we were asked to choose a respiratory disease and discuss its overall impact on our bodies and lives. My topic of choice I am deciding to go with is Pneumonia. Pneumonia is characterized as an illness consisting of an inflammation of one or both of the air sacs in the lungs. These infected air sacs may become filled with pus or phlegm, resulting in chronic dry or mucus filled cough, shaking chills, high fevers, and difficulty breathing. Pneumonia can be caused by several different organisms such as viruses, fungi, and bacteria. It can also be brought on by being in a certain environment.

Pneumonia can be a very serious condition and should be treated as such. It can be mild or severe and life threatening. Infants and young children as well as elderly people over the age of 65 are more susceptible. Persons with health problems and weakened immune systems are also at higher risk. Symptoms of pneumonia can range from mild to severe, mild being similar to symptoms of a cold and severe resembling the flu or other serious illnesses. It also depends on what type of germ caused the infection and the person’s age and overall health.

The most common symptoms of pneumonia include chest pain, changes in mental awareness, cough with phlegm, fatigue, fever of course with chills, nausea and vomiting, diarrhea, or even a lower than normal body temperature, most commonly experienced in older persons affected.

People who are hospitalized, especially in an intensive care unit that are using a machine helping them to breathe (a ventilator), have chronic diseases such as COPD or asthma, those who smoke, and those with HIV/AIDS are at a doubled risk of developing pneumonia. Thankfully, there are some vaccines out there that may prevent certain types of pneumonia and it is especially important for children to be vaccinated.

Those recovering from pneumonia may be weak for a while and need quite some time to get back to feeling themselves. The treatment options for pneumonia are antibiotics such as penicillin for example, supportive care consisting of oxygen therapy, oral rehydration and IV fluids, and of course plenty of rest and fluids.

If bacteria was the cause of your pneumonia, it could get into your blood, especially if you didn’t make an appointment to go see a doctor for treatment. It’s an issue called bacteremia. (md, 2005) Complications of pneumonia are unfortunately common. Respiratory failure requiring a ventilator, sepsis which may lead to ultimate organ failure, acute respiratory disease syndrome, and lung abcesses requiring surgery are all possible complications. The worst of course, is death.

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