What is Pneumonia?
Pneumonia is a lung infection caused by bacteria, viruses, or fungi. The disease causes the alveoli, or air sacs, of the lungs to fill up with pus or fluids. Symptoms can range from mild to severe and may include a cough with phlegm, fever, chills, and difficulty breathing.
Many factors affect how serious pneumonia is, such as the type of germ causing the lung infection, your age, and your overall health. Pneumonia tends to be more serious for children under the age of five, adults over the age of 65, people with certain conditions such as heart failure, diabetes, or COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease); or people who have weak immune systems due to HIV/AIDS, chemotherapy, or any sort of transplant procedures.
How Do You Get Pneumonia?
Most of the time, your nose and airways filter germs out of the air you breathe. This keeps your lungs safe from an infection. However, germs may sometimes find a way to enter your respiratory system and cause infections. This is most likely to happen when:
- Your immune system is weak
- A germ is very strong or present in large amounts
- Your body fails to filter germs out of the air you breathe
When germs entire and reach your lungs’ alveoli, they become inflamed and fill up with fluid. This causes the symptoms of pneumonia, such as a cough, fever, chills, and breathing difficulties.
How Does Pneumonia Affect Your Body?
Pneumonia makes it difficult for oxygen to reach your blood. If there is a lack of oxygen in your blood, the cells in your body cannot function properly.
There are two ways in which the disease can affect your lungs. It may be in only one part, or lobe, of your lung, which is called lobar pneumonia. Or, it may be widespread with patches throughout both lungs, which is called bronchial pneumonia, or bronchopneumonia.
How Serious Is Pneumonia?
Pneumonia is a very serious lung disease that kills thousands every year and hospitalises many more. The disease tends to be much more serious for young children and the elderly (people above the age of 65). Pneumonia also has adverse effects on people who have other chronic health problems and people who have weak immune systems.