Pathophysiology of Pneumonia

Pathophysiology of Pneumonia

Diagnosis of Pneumonia

Pneumonia is a lower respiratory tract infection which is caused by viruses, bacteria or fungi.

The doctor asks the patient about their medical history and does a physical examination on the chest which includes listening to any sounds from the lungs. If a doctor suspects that a patient has pneumonia, a doctor recommends several tests on the patient.

Etiology of Pneumonia

Bacteria, viruses, and fungi cause pneumonia. Streptococcus pneumoniae bacteria is the most common cause of this condition. It is contagious, but the immune system of many people can kill it before it causes infection. Catching flu increases the chance of contracting pneumonia. Viruses such as Mycoplasma pneumoniae, syncytial virus and chlamydia pneumoniae are other causes of the disease (Godby et al., 2016). Fungi cause infection in people who have weakened immune systems.

Signs and symptoms of the disorder

Pneumonia has varied symptoms depending on the microbe that causes the infection and the age and health status of the patient.

Infants can breathe rapidly or get irritable while the elderly experience confusion. Common symptoms, however, include fever and chills, nausea and vomiting, cough, headache, shortness f breath, chest pain, and fatigue.

Complications which may occur include fluid building up in the lungs, respiratory failure, and rarely lung abscesses.


Lab test used for correct diagnosis

Lab tests include blood tests, chest x-rays, pulse oximetry, and sputum tests. Blood tests are meant to identify the organism causing the infection, while chest x-rays are used to determine the severity and location of the disease. Pulse oximetry determines the oxygen level in the blood and sputum tests are for pinpointing the cause of the infection. Patients who have severe health conditions or are older than 65 can received additional tests such as CT scan or pleural fluid culture (Godsby et al., 2016).


Methods of treating the disorder

Treatment involves curing pneumonia and preventing any complications from occurring. The form of treatment depends on the age of the patient, severity of the illness, the type of pneumonia and the overall health of the patient (Van & Opal, 2009). Treatment can be in the form of

  • Bacterial pneumonia is treatedusing vaccines.
  • Cough medicine which calm the cough to enable the patient to res.
  • Pain relievers reduce fever and discomfort.

Patients who show severe symptoms can be hospitalized or admitted in the intensive care unit if they need a ventilator.


Behaviors that help prevent the likelihood of the disorder

There is vaccination that protects against Streptococcus pneumonia. Receiving this vaccine reduces the risks of contracting pneumonia.

A person needs to practice good hygiene practices like using a tissue when sneezing or coughing reduces the spread of germs, reducing the risk of spreading pneumonia (Vinogradova et al., 20019).

Smoking increases the risk of developing this disease. Children whose parents smoke, face this risk.

Risk factors associated with the disorder

People with chronic lung diseases, poor nutrition, problems with immune systems or other chronic health conditions are at a higher risk of falling ill. They include people with HIV/AIDs, people who have had an organ transplant or those who have received chemotherapy for long periods.

Smoking also increases your risk because it damages the natural defenses of the body against bacteria and viruses that cause pneumonia.

Children aged two and below and adults above 65 years easily contract pneumonia (Vinogradova et al. 2009).





















Gadsby, N. J., Russell, C. D., McHugh, M. P., Mark, H., Conway Morris, A., Laurenson, I. F., … & Templeton, K. E. (2016). Comprehensive molecular testing for respiratory pathogens in community-acquired pneumonia. Clinical Infectious Diseases62(7), 817-823.

Musher, D. M., Abers, M. S., & Bartlett, J. G. (2017). The evolving understanding of the causes of pneumonia in adults, with special attention to the role of pneumococcus. Clinical Infectious Diseases65(10), 1736-1744.

Van der Poll, T., & Opal, S. M. (2009). Pathogenesis, treatment, and prevention of pneumococcal pneumonia. The Lancet374(9700), 1543-1556.

Vinogradova, Y., Hippisley-Cox, J., & Coupland, C. (2009). Identification of new risk factors for pneumonia: population-based case-control study. Br J Gen Pract59(567), e329-e338.