Pneumonia is an inflammation of lung tissue caused by an infectious agent. The lung is composed of two main parts: the bronchi (tubes through which air passes) and alveoli (tiny air sacs, where the exchange of oxygen into the blood and carbon dioxide is released). In pneumonia, the alveoli are affected, irritated, inflamed and filled with fluid and infectious material, which causes respiration to become painful. This is the infection that causes the most hospitalizations. Most often, it affects young and old people (23-34 cases per 1,000 in people over 75 years of age) and is predominately seen in men during the winter season.
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Pneumonia is also one of the diseases that cause infant deaths. Health authorities estimate that each year about 1.2 million children under five years die as a result of pneumonia. In most cases, (70-80%) pneumonia treatments are performed in the hospital.
Here are the most common risk factors that can lead to pneumonia:
2. Chronic diseases: diabetes mellitus, liver disease, heart disease, kidney disease, cancer, chronic lung disease, AIDS
6. Age (children and people over 50 are the most susceptible to pneumonia)
7. Splenectomy (patients who have had their spleen removed) and, in general, patients with low immunity
9. Immunosuppressants or chronic steroid treatments
10. Resident centers who have the chronically ill or elderly
11. Exposure to certain drugs
The two main pillars for the diagnosis of pneumonia are: symptoms compatible with lower respiratory tract infection and presence of infiltrates on an x-ray. Respiratory symptoms consist of:
2. Pleuritic chest pain (increases with breathing)
3. Shortness of breath
4. Malaise fever, low body temperature, chills, sweating, increased heart and respiratory rates
A modification to the sounds of affected breathing (inspiration and expiration) is verified by the doctor through auscultation with a stethoscope, a sign which, together with the above symptoms, will make the Experienced Doctor in Maui think there is a presence of pneumonia. The typical clinical picture is a sudden onset less than 48 hours after getting chills, fever over 99.5 ° F, productive cough, purulent sputum (phlegm with pus), and pleuritic chest pain (increases with breathing). To learn more, contact Dr. Annelle Onishi today.