Understanding Pneumonia

Cough and fever are two of the most common ailments a person usually encounters on his lifetime. However, when cough and fever is coupled with other ailments such as shortness of breath as well as chest pain, then the health condition of the person may already be serious because those symptoms are common to the sickness called Pneumonia.

By the way, what is pneumonia? This question is one of the most typically asked and we often get a vague answer such as “it is a lung problem”, “a contagious disease” or you may also get an answer as morbid as “it is a fatal disease”. Although all of those are a correct bit of information that pertains to pneumonia, still the proper definition of pneumonia according to the medical dictionary provided by emedicinehealth.com is it is an “inflammation of one or both lungs” where according to them, it is usually caused by an infection but not at all times. Having said that, let us find out how pneumonia happens.

Well, let us start by saying that the body, as we all know, has an immune system which is designed to help keep bacteria from infecting our body – including the lungs. When the lungs are being infected by bacteria, the body tries to resist and fight those bacteria with such processes as inflammation.

During the so called inflammation, the alveoli, air sacs in the lungs that are microscopic in nature, are being filled with fluids. For that reason, the lungs cannot function well since it cannot take the oxygen in the blood efficiently. Also, it cannot effectively remove the carbon dioxide from the blood. Aside from that, the lungs are becoming less elastic too. Those chains of events cause the shortness of breath of a person while the inflammation causes the coughing and fever. In addition to that, during that process, the lungs have to work harder and perform more to ensure that the body has the needed supply of oxygen.

However, you should remember that when you are experiencing cough and fever with chest pain and shortness of breathing, you should always consult your doctor about it. Do not self medicate since there is also one illness that have the same symptoms – the Bronchitis. The only difference between the two is that instead of the inflammation of the alveoli, the bronchi tubes are being inflamed. Since both sicknesses have the same symptoms, consulting a doctor is the best course of action to have proper diagnosis as well as proper medication. Typically, a patient may need a chest x-ray to tell the two sickness apart since physical examination alone will be too difficult.

Now that you know more about pneumonia and its symptoms and how it differs from bronchitis, it is expected that you always consult your doctor when the symptoms present themselves. The reality is that with either of the two illnesses you will need professional medical assistance and in some cases, hospitalization. Never take chances with your health – always take the safer course of action and get an opinion (or two) from a qualified healthcare professional.

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