Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Pneumonia Concerns

Pneumonia is an inflammation and consolidation f lung tissue to due to an infectious agent, such as myoplasma (walking pneumonia, bacteria, or virus. Most pneumonia diseases are usually acquired in a community setting.

Bacterial pneumonia occurs more often due to bacteria called S. Pneumo. About half of all people infected with this bacteria show no symptoms.

Also, in comparison with viral pneumonia, bacterial pneumonia has a shorter duration and is also more severe in the damage the bacteria can do to the patient. If left untreated, pneumonia can lead to the critical diseases of meningitis or sepsis, if not death.

Approximately 2 to 5 million people acquire pneumonia every year. 40 to 60 thousand people die due to pneumonia every year, and pneumonia is the most common infectious cause of death that exists. More men get pneumonia than women.

About 20 percent of CAP cases are viral rather than bacterial. So most of the time, an antibiotic will be needed for the pneumonia patient. Also, about 10 million doctor visits are due to CAP and the symptoms from the disease.

Pneumonia acquired while a patient is in a medical institution for another medical reason is called nosocomial pneumonia. Often, the symptoms are more severe, as the patient usually has another serious medical issue that is being treated in the medical facility as they acquire this type of pneumonia.

If this type of pneumonia is acquired at such a location, it usually happens after the first 48 hours of a patient being in such a facility. Also, the microbe that causes nosocomial pneumonia is usually S. Aureus, according to others.

However, frequently the cause of pneumonia is by resistant bacteria which is difficult to eliminate. Such bacteria, such as MRSA or VRE, are resistant to most antibiotics, so treatment of this type of pneumonia is more difficult, and there are limited alternatives when one is infected with a antibiotic resistant bacteria.

Treatment for nosocomial pneumonia may require a longer period of therapy and recovery as well. About 25 percent of ICU patients without pneumonia acquire nosocomial pneumonia while there for another medical issue.

Symptoms for the typical pneumonia patient may be a fever, a high heart rate, a productive cough, and inflamed lungs noted on an X-ray. A sputum sample is usually obtained from the suspected patient in order to determine what is causing the pneumonia.

If it is bacterial, antibiotic therapy is initiated for a certain length of time to cure the infection. At the same time, the health care provider should rule out lung cancer or tuberculosis as the provider is assessing the patient.

Patients who are suspected or are diagnosed with community acquired pneumonia (CAP) are often started an antibiotic regimen from what is called the macrolide class of antibiotics. Macrolides have been proven to shorten the length of time the disease exists in the patient who has pneumonia.

How serious CAP is with a patient can be determined by what is called a risk stratification point system- which lists various symptoms and conditions that may be present in the suspected patient who may have pneumonia.

Points are assigned to these symptoms, and the severity of them regarding the disease of pneumonia. If the point number exceeds 90 points, the pneumonia patient is admitted to a hospital for more aggressive treatment and evaluation. About a third of all patients with community acquired pneumonia require hospitalization.

Elderly patients usually experience this type of severity with their CAP illness, as well as those people with compromised immune systems for whatever reason. Also, primary care physicians diagnose and treat typical pneumonia in the United States. In the United States, about 2 million or more people acquire pneumonia, and over 4 thousand people die from this disease every year.

Worldwide, about 2 million children less than 5 years of age die every year due to pneumonia. Two pneumonia vaccinations are available presently. It has recently been proven that the polysaccharide pneumonia vaccine is not useful in preventing pneumonia. However, the conjugate pneumonia vaccine has been shown to prevent the disease, according to recent studies.

The effective vaccine has experienced greater worldwide access recently to prevent what may be a very deadly disease without prevention and treatment.

Dan Abshear

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