About Pneumonia – Symptoms, Classification, Prevention

What is Pneumonia?

Pneumonia is a type of respiratory infection associated with the inflammation and infection of the lungs. It is one of the leading causes of death in the patients across the world.

It can be caused by different types of infectious agents including microorganisms like virus, bacteria, and fungi. It can infect one or both the lungs.

When a person gets Pneumonia, there is accumulation of pus and other fluids in the lung tissues. It makes it difficult for the person to breathe and it further leads to cough and fever.

Common Symptoms

The typical symptoms of the Pneumonia comprises of difficulty in breathing, cough with sputum production, and severe chest pain while inhaling the air. The pneumonia is usually diagnosed by taking the chest x-rays and examining the sputum of the patient.

The exact treatment is recommended by the doctor after thorough diagnosis and it depends on the presence of type of pneumonia in the patient being treated.

Severity of Disease

Pneumonia is the killer disease that accounts for an estimated 18% of all deaths of children (less than five years old). The brutality of this killer disease is evident from the fact that it causes more number of deaths than AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis combined.

Pneumonia can occur to anyone; however its incidence is more prominent in children, older adults and patients suffering from chronic illnesses. It is highly prevalent in the countries of sub-Saharan Africa and South Asian region.

The severity of Pneumonia depends on various factors such as type of Pneumonia, extent of pneumonia and overall health of the patient.

For example, a healthy and young person is easy to treat while an old person with other complications is really hard to be treated successfully. Overall, there are over fifty types of pneumonia.

Classification of Pneumonia

There are various ways of classifying Pneumonia and this classification assists in better identification and management of the Pneumonia. The treatment for different types of Pneumonia differs from each other.

On the basis of where or how it was acquired

                    Community-acquired

                    Aspiration

                    Healthcare-associated

                    Hospital-acquired

                    Ventilator-associated pneumonia

On the basis of area of lung affected

                    Lobar pneumonia

                    Bronchial pneumonia

                    Acute interstitial pneumonia

On the basis of causative organism

                    Bacteria

                    Viruses

                    Fungi

                    Parasites

                    Idiopathic

On the basis of signs and symptoms (in children)

                    Non-severe

                    Severe

                    Very severe

Prevention and GAAP

As the saying goes, “Prevention is better than cure”; it holds true in case of Pneumonia as well and therefore it is important to understand the underlying causes, symptoms and preventive measures of Pneumonia.

There are vaccines available today that can prevent the occurrence of pneumonia. One can keep check on pneumonia by immunization, adequate nutrition and taking care of various environmental factors.

WHO and UNICEF had launched the action plan for the prevention and control of pneumonia on a global scale in 2009. It is called as GAAP and it involves taking several measures in order to protect, prevent, and treat pneumonia in children across the world.