Pneumonia is a serious disease in which an inflammatory process develops in the lung tissue. It is a very common disease: more than 400 million cases of pneumonia are recorded annually in various countries of the world. Unfortunately, despite the development of medical science in 7 million cases, pneumonia ends in the death of the patient.

Community-acquired pneumonia: basic facts

A feature of pneumonia is that a lot depends on where this disease began: the type of pathogen, manifestations of the disease and treatment tactics. Most often, the disease begins outside the hospital (at home, on a trip, on vacation), then they talk about community-acquired pneumonia. If signs of pneumonia appeared in a patient during treatment in a hospital for a completely different disease or after surgery, then hospital pneumonia occurs . The second option is much more difficult, since it occurs most often in weak or bedridden patients. The fight against such pneumonia is a big medical problem for any state. 

Community-acquired pneumonia can be caused by infectious or non-infectious causes, with the former accounting for the vast majority of cases. There are four main types of pneumonia pathogens: bacteria, atypical flora, viruses and fungi.

Most often, community-acquired pneumonia is caused by bacteria and atypical microorganisms. The leader among all pathogens is pneumococcus. It is the cause of pneumonia in 30-50% of patients. Also, an important role belongs to atypical pathogens (respiratory mycoplasma, chlamydia and legionella ), the frequency of their involvement in the occurrence of pneumonia is 8-30%. More rare causative agents of this disease include Haemophilus influenzae, Staphylococcus aureus, Klebsiella, or Escherichia coli.

The choice of drugs for the treatment of bacterial pneumonia is made by the doctor based on which pathogen is most likely involved in its occurrence. Given the bacterial nature of the inflammation, antibiotics will be the main consideration in the treatment of community-acquired pneumonia. The doctor determines which of them to give preference depending on the characteristics of the clinical course of the disease (for different pathogens there are small differences in the picture of the disease) and on the results of sputum analysis for sensitivity to antibiotics. 

However, in more rare cases, the patient may develop fungal or viral pneumonia. Each of these diseases has its own characteristics.

Viral pneumonia

Viral pneumonia is most commonly caused by the following pathogens:

  • Influenza virus.
  • Parainfluenza virus.
  • Adenoviruses.
  • RS viruses.
  • Herpes virus.

In its pure form, viral pneumonia occurs most often in childhood (more than 85% of cases). In adult patients, a viral infection in most cases greatly weakens the body, reduces the activity of the immune system, and against its background bacterial pneumonia develops.  

Inflammation of the lungs of a viral nature usually has a rapid course and develops against the background of an already current acute respiratory viral disease. At first, the patient is worried about fever, runny nose, dry cough, weakness, pain in muscles and joints. Suddenly, on the 3-4th day, there is a sharp deterioration in the general condition: chest pain appears, cough intensifies and symptoms of general intoxication (fever, weakness, aches). While bacterial pneumonia immediately begins with a fever, cough and chest pain.

Sputum in viral pneumonia is secreted in small quantities, it is transparent and odorless. For bacterial pneumonia, the purulent character of sputum is characteristic: it has a white or green color and an extremely unpleasant sweetish odor.

The results of X-ray and laboratory tests in both cases will also differ. And this is extremely important for the correct diagnosis of the cause of the disease. After all, the main drugs for the treatment of bacterial pneumonia are antibiotics, and viral ones are antiviral agents. The lack of proper treatment can lead to very sad consequences, so it is advisable to hospitalize all patients with signs of viral pneumonia.

Fungal pneumonia

Fungal pneumonia is a severe lung disease that normally does not develop in young and healthy people. In the majority of the population, fungi of such genera as Aspergillus , Candida , Pneumocystis live in the respiratory tract, but do not cause any harm, since they are a conditionally pathogenic flora. For the occurrence of fungal pneumonia, a certain background is needed, in which local immunity, which usually easily copes with a fungal infection, is unable to fight it.

Therefore, this type of lung pneumonia develops in people with congenital or acquired immunodeficiency or severe diseases of the bronchopulmonary system. Potential patients with fungal pneumonia include people suffering from malignant neoplasms who have undergone radiation or chemotherapy; patients forced to take immunosuppressants, corticosteroids or cytostatics for a long time , as well as having HIV infection. Also at risk are patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, bronchiectasis, with neoplasms of the respiratory system.

The manifestations of fungal pneumonia are often erased and are associated with the disease that led to a decrease in immunity. Prolonged fever, cough with fetid sputum, shortness of breath, etc. are characteristic. Fungal pneumonia is very difficult to treat, often causes various complications and is often the cause of death of patients.

However, modern antifungal agents have significantly improved the prognosis for patients with fungal pneumonia. Treatment of such patients most often takes place in the intensive care unit of a hospital.

Any pneumonia is a serious disease that requires compulsory treatment under the supervision of a doctor. You cannot rely on traditional methods, herbs and homeopathic remedies, especially when it comes to children, elderly and pregnant women. After the course of treatment, it is necessary to conduct a control X-ray examination, and if it does not reveal inflammatory changes in the lungs, the disease is considered cured.

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