If there are signs of pneumonia, prompt action must be taken. After all, pneumonia can be fatal. How does the disease manifest?
FRANKFURT – Pneumonia is one of the most common causes of death worldwide. This is an infection of the small air sacs, also called alveoli, and the surrounding tissues. In most cases it is caused by bacteria or viruses – but there are also other causes that can cause incurable disease.
In principle, pneumonia can affect anyone, but sufferers are not always aware of it. Therefore, it is primarily important to know how this manifests itself and how it can be treated. An overview of causes, symptoms and treatment.
Pneumonia: Bacteria and viruses are often responsible for the disease
In Germany, more than 500,000 people develop pneumonia, as pneumonia is medically called. The Lung Information Service provides information about this. About 290,000 patients must be treated in hospital – up to 13% do not survive the disease. Infants, young children, immunocompromised people, and the elderly are particularly at risk. According to the information service, people over 60 years old are statistically more likely to be treated in clinics than younger people. The incidence rate and risk of death are therefore strongly age-dependent.
In most cases, pneumonia is caused by bacteria, viruses or, in rare cases, fungi. For example, it can be a symptom associated with acute influenza and is particularly common with corona infection. As a general rule, the defense mechanisms of the lungs ensure that they cannot be attacked by foreign bodies, such as a healthy portal MSD Handbook looking at. However, if the immune system is severely weakened or if an overwhelming amount of bacteria and viruses are ingested through the respiratory tract, pneumonia can occur.
Risk factors include lung diseases such as asthma, heart disease, and severe damage to the lungs from smoking. In addition, bedridden people are at risk of developing pneumonia. With these, there is a risk of germs from the mouth and throat, leftovers or stomach contents entering the airways and causing pneumonia there. MSD Handbook. But how does a dangerous disease manifest itself?
How does pneumonia manifest – symptoms at a glance
Typical signs of pneumonia are:
- High temperature
- Weakness and fatigue
- Cough with vomiting
- Shortness of breath, shortness of breath
- Increased heart rate
- Source: MSD Manual
Even with mild symptoms, a doctor should be consulted. Because: If the pneumonia is already very advanced, it is possible that not enough oxygen gets to the lungs and bloodstream. The resulting shortness of breath can be life-threatening. Viruses and bacteria can also get into an infected person’s blood, which can cause dangerously low blood pressure (sepsis), according to the manual.
Pneumonia as a health hazard: treatment and prevention
Once pneumonia occurs, it can last up to four weeks with proper treatment. If bacteria are responsible for the disease, antibiotics are used to relieve symptoms and speed up the healing process. If the pneumonia is severe, corticosteroids are often used.
The information in this article does not replace a visit to your doctor. Only experts can make the correct diagnosis and start appropriate treatment. You should discuss taking medications or nutritional supplements with your doctor beforehand.
Pneumonia often occurs unexpectedly and without consciously exposing oneself to certain risks. But you can also do something for the health of your lungs. The best way to prevent pneumonia is to quit smoking. In addition, the immune system can actually be strengthened with certain foods. (Progressive)