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Pneumonia: Overview


Even today, with all of our technology and our advances in 

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medications and antibiotics, more than 60,000 people die due to pneumonia every year.


Pneumonia is an inflammation of the lung that is normally caused by any number of types of infections, including bacteria, virus, fungi or potentially other organisms.


We consider this lung disease a particular threat to older people and those with chronic diseases.  And in the United States that’s very true.  However, pneumonia is the leading cause of death in children globally.


Don’t think for a moment that all pneumonia is created equal.  There are several types. Depending on which form you acquire the actual symptoms can range from merely mild to life threatening.  One of the most virulent forms is pneumonia that you develop while you’re in the hospital.  It can also be one of the deadliest forms as well.


Many cases of pneumonia occur suddenly.  It may seem that the chest pain, fever, chills as well as the cough and shortness of breath associated with this illness appear out of nowhere.  Many individuals develop pneumonia as a complication of a cold or the flu.  But for many others, the symptoms of this lung disease appear on its own.


Most antibiotics do a good job of treating the most common forms of bacterial pneumonias.  However, there is a concern over the growing predominance of an antibiotic-resistant strain.


Because pneumonia is potentially fatal, you need to seek out professional medical care should you think you may have it.  This is especially good advice for an older individual or someone who is at high risk.  Those who use tobacco, who drink alcohol excessively, or are on chemotherapy, are particularly vulnerable to this illness. 


Who is really at risk of developing pneumonia?  This illness seems to like to strike the two ends of the age spectrum.  Those who are 65 or older are at particular risk.  Children whose immune systems have not yet totally matured are also more susceptible to developing this illness.


Those individuals who have any type of immune deficiency disease – like HIV/ADIS or choric illnesses, like cardiovascular disease, emphysema and diabetes are also at increased risk.  If you’ve had a spleen removed, you’re also at a greater risk of acquiring pneumonia.


Those who smoke or abuse alcohol are also particularly vulnerable to this illness.  There are literally million of microscopic hairs – called cilia – that cover the surface of the cells which line your bronchial tubes.  These hairs beat in a wave-like fashion in order to clear your airways of normal

Note: Some statements in this article may not be approved by the FDA. This article is for informational purposes only and should not be taken as professional medical advice.


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