Pneumonia: The Risk Factors To Watch Out For
Pneumonia is an infection which predominantly affects the lungs; the air sacs within the lungs get inflamed and, in some instances, depending on the severity of the infection, can become filled with fluids. The causes are varied and include things like fungi, viruses and bacteria. Although, there is a spectrum of severity, with some cases being mild and others becoming life-threatening, there are also several risk factors which can make contracting pneumonia more dangerous for you. Read on to learn more.
Who is More at Risk?
While is it certainly true that pneumonia can affect anyone, there are certain groups of people who are more at risk should they contract it. For the most part, the at-risk groups tend to have a weaker immune system or some other lifestyle factor which affects the healthiness and robustness of their lungs. This includes young children ages two or younger and adults over the age of sixty-five. Those who have already been hospitalised rely on a ventilator or other breathing apparatus. People who suffer from chronic conditions weakened immune systems, or lastly, smokers.
Why Do the Risk Factors Matter?
While pneumonia can be milder for the majority of the population, those in the at-risk groups don’t often experience milder forms. The form of pneumonia that they have tends to quickly spiral into a more severe form. Even if their pneumonia remains mild, it can worsen any pre-existing conditions that they have, which can then cause a rapid decline in their health. However, the majority of people do tend to recover. It all comes down to when you seek medical intervention; Patient has some suggestions about when you should see a doctor as well as more information on pneumonia as a whole.
What Forms of Pneumonia Carry More Risk?
There are several forms of pneumonia, some of which are more dangerous than others. Firstly, there is viral pneumonia which tends to develop more gradually with the symptoms being slightly milder and more manageable. However, it is important to point out that while viral pneumonia is seen as less severe, it can become more severe if you also develop a bacterial infection.
Next, there is bacterial pneumonia. Walking pneumonia is a form of bacterial pneumonia which is exceedingly mild. In fact, most people do not know that they have it. However, for the most part, Bacterial pneumonia is often seen as more severe because it can affect more than one lobe of the lung. When this happens, multiple lobes of the lung are compromised, which, more often than not, means you will need to be hospitalised. The symptoms may be gradual or sudden. Usually, antibiotics can be used to treat it, but in rare cases, complications can occur.
Finally, there is fungal pneumonia. This form of pneumonia is typically more present in those with an already weakened immune system and, as such, can be very dangerous. As the name suggests, fungal pneumonia is an infection within the lungs caused by fungi. The fungi might be endemic, opportunistic or both. The mortality rate for immunocompromised patients is exceedingly high, but immunocompetent patients tend to do well when treated with anti-fungal therapies.
What Are The Symptoms?
There are several symptoms which can indicate that you are suffering from pneumonia. Although these symptoms may also point toward the flu or bronchitis so if you aren’t sure, it is worth making an appointment with your GP in order to receive a diagnosis. Firstly, pneumonia tends to create chills and a fever; this may or may not be accompanied by an abnormal body temperature.
Pneumonia affects the lungs, which means that you are likely to also experience shortness of breath or difficulty breathing in general. The fluid in your lungs can cause a cough which may be wet or dry. It can also be painful to cough. In addition, you might experience feelings of fatigue or tiredness. Finally, pneumonia can make you feel nauseous and make you sick.
How Do you Minimise Risks?
Luckily, there are several things that you can do to minimise your risks even if you fall into the at-risk categories mentioned above. First things first, you need to have a better handle on your health. If you have any underlying health conditions, you need to keep on top of them so that you are aware If there are any changes, regardless of whether those changes are due to pneumonia or another health condition.
Pneumonia can be a side effect of contracting another illness. However, most of the conditions that can lead to pneumonia can be vaccinated against. Most people have these vaccinations throughout their lives, from infancy to young adulthood. However, if you have not received all of your vaccinations, you can still enquire with your doctor about them to offer yourself an extra layer of protection.
Pneumonia is an infection which affects the lungs, and it can be serious or even fatal for some people. There are some factors which might put you more at risk should you contract it. Luckily, there are a number of things that you can do to mitigate the risks posed to you. Take care of yourself and be mindful of changes in your health.