Did you know that there are 30 or more known causes of pneumonia?1 Because of this, pneumonia cases can differ from each other because of many other factors that come into play. Types of Pneumonia According to the Illness-Causing Agent A factor that has to be taken into consideration is the main agent that causes the infection. These are just some of the main groups of pneumonia based on what ignites the disease:2 • Bacterial pneumonia: commonly caused by bacteria strains such as Streptococcus pneumoniae, Chlamydophila pneumonia or Legionella pneumophila.
3 This affects people of all ages,4 leading to a weakened ability of the body to exchange oxygen and carbon dioxide, breathlessness and pain when you try to take in oxygen.5Bacterial pneumonia cases can be mild or severe, depending on the strength of the bacteria strain and how long until the disease is diagnosed and treated.6 • Viral pneumonia: triggered by viruses such as influenza, chickenpox, adenoviruses or respiratory syncytial virus.
7 You can catch viral pneumonia via coughing, sneezing or touching an object that was contaminated by an infected person. A patient with viral pneumonia doesn’t just have swollen lungs, but blocked oxygen flow as well.8Viral pneumonia is said to be responsible for one-third of all pneumonia cases. People who have this type of pneumonia are also most likely to get bacterial pneumonia.9 • Mycoplasma pneumonia: generated by Mycoplasma pneumoniae, an “atypical bacterium” that’s considered to be one of the smallest agents that affect humans.
10,11 This is why this type of pneumonia is also called atypical or walking pneumonia.12 Mycoplasma pneumonia affects people of all age groups,13 but it’s more common among people who are less than 40 years old.14 The disease can be transferred easily via respiratory fluids, leading to regular epidemics.15 People who have this disease exhibit different symptoms and physical signs, but overall they have mild and widespread pneumonia16 or dry cough.
17 Most mycoplasma pneumonia cases are mild.18 • Aspiration pneumonia: infections or inhalation of food, liquid, gases or dust lead to this type of pneumonia.19 This illness goes by other names, such as necrotizing pneumonia, anaerobic pneumonia, aspiration pneumonitis, and aspiration of vomitus.20 People with aspiration pneumonia have inflammation minus the bacterial infection. Unfortunately, aspiration pneumonia can be difficult to treat on some occasions because people who usually acquire this disease are already sick to begin with.
21 • Fungal pneumonia: produced by various endemic or opportunistic fungi. This causes fungal infections, such as histoplasmosis, coccidioidomycosis, and blastomycosis that occur after inhaling spores or conidia or reactivating a latent infection. It has to be noted that fungal pneumonia cases are quite difficult to diagnose.22 Although cases of fungal pneumonia are not so common in the U.S.,23 they’re prevalent in Mexico and other South American countries, as well as African countries.
24 Types of Pneumonia According to Where the Infection Was Acquired Another way to classify a pneumonia case is to know where you got infected with the pneumonia-causing bacteria, virus or germ. There are three types of pneumonia that are determined by the place where you acquired the disease:25 • Community-acquired pneumonia (CAP): happens after acquiring a common viral infection, such as the flu.
Patients who have CAP got the disease outside of hospitals or other health care settings, such as at school or at work,26 and are consequently infected with germs that are found in the mouth, nose or throat while they are sleeping.27 Community-acquired pneumonia is the most common type of pneumonia, with majority of the cases occurring during winter. According to the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, around 4 million Americans are affected every year, with 1 out of 5 people with CAP requiring hospitalization.
28 • Hospital-acquired pneumonia (HAP): occurs when people are infected when they’re admitted to a hospital for another illness. HAP tends to be more dangerous compared to community-acquired pneumonia because you’re already sick when you’re infected with HAP. Your risk for HAP even rises when you already use a ventilator. Plus, hospitals are usually hotbeds for antibiotic-resistant germs.29 • Health care-associated pneumonia: refers to an infection in other health care settings such as nursing homes, dialysis centers and outpatient clinic.
30 Specific Types of Pneumonia You Should Watch Out For There are other types of pneumonia that don’t fall under the categories listed above. Regardless, it’s still important to be vigilant and consult a physician or health expert when you notice symptoms of these infections, since some diseases might lead to further harm. • Pneumococcal pneumonia: this is caused by bacteria (such as Streptococcus pneumoniae), viruses or fungi.
This disease is common among children under 5 years old or adults 65 years old and above. Pneumococcal pneumonia infects the upper respiratory tract and can spread to the nervous system, lungs, ears, or blood if not treated immediately.31 • Bronchial pneumonia: a class of pneumonia that affects both the lungs and the bronchi.32 The Streptococcus pneumonia bacteria strain is the usual origin of this disease, but it can also be triggered by other strains such as Staphylococcus aureus, Haemophilus influenza or Klebsiella pneumoniae.
33 • Lobar pneumonia: another disease caused by the Streptococcus pneumoniae bacteria strain wherein there is an infection in one lobe (or area) of the lung.34 • Legionella pneumonia: also known as Legionnaires’ disease, this is caused by the legionella bacterium strain. Patients affected by Legionella pneumonia inhale the bacteria, which is why this severe type of pneumonia is common among older adults, smokers and immunocompromised people.
35 • Bilateral pneumonia: this is caused by a bacterial, viral or fungal infection that affects both lungs. It’s also known as double pneumonia, and patients have difficulty breathing and show traces of fluids in the lungs. The risk for being infected with this disease is high among older people who have difficulty swallowing, alcoholics, and recreational drug users.36 • Eosinophilic pneumonia: also known as acute eosinophilic pneumonia (AEP).
This is a rare condition wherein eosinophils, a type of white blood cell that’s part of your immune system, increase rapidly and accumulate in your lungs. Eosinophils form in order to combat allergens, inflammation or infection. The cause of the disease is yet to be determined, although researchers are looking into the link between environmental factors and the development of the disorder.37 • Lipoid pneumonia: lipoid pneumonia is a rare disease wherein oily and fatty substances enter the lungs.
38,39 According to the Journal of General Internal Medicine, lipoid pneumonia is often caused by inhalation, aspiration or even ingestion of fatty substances such as petroleum jelly, mineral oils, nasal drops and olive oil.40 • Hypostatic pneumonia: this disease manifests at the base of the chest cavity, when the lower portions of the lungs are not able to expand properly because the patient is either inactive or immobile.
41,42 Hypostatic pneumonia is common among elderly and/or debilitated people.43 • Interstitial pneumonia: considered to be rare, this happens when there’s an inflammation of the “mesh-like” walls of the alveoli (or air sacs) in your lungs, and as a result, the small air sacs in the lungs become separated. There might be an inflammation of the pleura (a thin cover that shields the lungs and its individual lobes) as well.
44 MORE ABOUT PNEUMONIA < Previous Pneumonia Duration Next > Pneumonia Causes PreviousPneumonia Duration NextPneumonia CausesSee Also: Types Of Braking System
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Signs and Symptoms of Pneumonia Pneumonia often starts with symptoms typical of a cold or upper respiratory infection, like sore throat, nasal congestion, and cough. As the infection develops in the lung, high fever is apparent along with chills and a cough that produces thick sputum. Chest pain can occur if the outer layer (pleura) of the lungs is involved in the inflammatory process. Read more about signs and symptoms of pneumonia » What is pneumonia? Pneumonia is an inflammation of the airspaces in the lung most commonly caused by infections.
Bacteria, viruses, or fungi (infrequently) can cause the infection. There are also a few noninfectious types of pneumonia that are caused by inhaling or aspirating foreign matter or toxic substances into the lungs. Around 50,000 people die each year of pneumonia in the U.S. Although anyone of any age can be affected, pneumonia is more common in elderly people and often occurs when the immune system becomes weakened via a prior infection or another condition.
Pneumonia is generally more serious when it affects older adults, infants and young children, those with chronic medical conditions, or those with weakened immune function. What are the different types of pneumonia? Pneumonia can be classified in different ways. Health care professionals often refer to pneumonia based upon the way that the infection is acquired, such as community-acquired pneumonia or hospital-acquired pneumonia.
Community-acquired pneumonia (CAP), as the name implies, develops outside of the hospital or health-care environment. It is more common than hospital-acquired pneumonia. CAP is most common in winter and affects about 4 million people a year in the U.S. Hospital-acquired pneumonia (HAP) is acquired when an individual is already hospitalized for another condition. HAP is generally more serious because it develops in ill patients already hospitalized or under medical care for another condition.
Being on a ventilator for respiratory support increases the risk of acquiring HAP. Health-care-associated pneumonia is acquired from other health-care settings, like kidney dialysis centers, outpatient clinics, or nursing homes. Other classification systems for pneumonia describe the way the inflammatory cells infiltrate the lung tissue or the appearance of the affected tissue (see the following examples).
Bronchopneumonia causes scattered, patchy infiltrates of inflammation in the air sacs throughout the lungs. It is more diffuse than lobar pneumonia. Lobar pneumonia causes an inflammation of one lobe of a lung and typically involves all the airspaces in a single lobe. Lipoid pneumonia is characterized by the accumulation of fats within the airspaces. It can be caused by aspiration of oils or associated with airway obstruction.
What are the different types of pneumonia? (Continued) Sometimes, types of pneumonia are referred to by the type of organism that causes the inflammation, such as bacterial pneumonia, viral pneumonia, or fungal pneumonia. The specific organism name may also be used to describe the types of pneumonia, such as pneumococcal (Streptococcus pneumoniae) pneumonia or Legionella pneumonia. Other types of pneumonia that are commonly referenced include the following: Aspiration pneumonia develops as a result of inhaling food or drink, saliva, or vomit into the lungs.
This occurs when the swallowing reflex is impaired, such as with brain injury or in an intoxicated person. Several types of bacteria, including Legionella pneumophila, Mycoplasma pneumoniae, and Chlamydophila pneumoniae, cause atypical pneumonia. It is sometimes called "walking pneumonia" and is referred to as atypical because its symptoms differ from those of other types of bacterial pneumonia. Pneumonia that arises from being on a ventilator for respiratory support in the intensive-care setting is known as ventilator-associated pneumonia.
Is pneumonia contagious? Most types of bacterial pneumonia are not highly contagious. Even though it is possible to spread bacteria from one person to another, pneumonia typically occurs in people with risk factors or weakened immune defenses when bacteria that are normally present in the nose or throat invade the lung tissue. Any kind of bacterial or viral pneumonia has the potential to be contagious, but Mycoplasma pneumoniae and tuberculosis are two types of bacterial pneumonia that are highly contagious.
Breathing in infected droplets that come from patients who are coughing or sneezing can spread the disease to others. What is the contagious period for pneumonia? It is impossible to say with certainty exactly how long an adult or child with pneumonia is contagious, since this varies according to the type of germ or organism that caused the pneumonia. This contagious period can range from one to two days to weeks.
In general, while an infected person is coughing or sneezing, there is the potential to release contaminated droplets into the air. Many bacterial pneumonias are much less contagious after antibiotics have been taken for about 24-48 hours. However, this time period may vary for some organisms. For example, with tuberculosis, it can take two weeks or more of antibiotics before the person is no longer contagious.
With viral pneumonias, the patient becomes less contagious after the symptoms have improved, especially fever. Some people with viral pneumonia may not be contagious after one to two days with no fever, but others may still shed some infectious virus particles for a longer time. What causes pneumonia? Streptococcus pneumoniae, a type of bacteria, is the most common cause of pneumonia. Legionella pneumophila is the bacterial type that causes the pneumonia known as Legionnaires' disease.
Other bacteria types that can cause pneumonia include the bacteria that cause so-called "atypical" pneumonia, Legionella pneumophila, Mycoplasma pneumoniae, and Chlamydophila pneumonia. Haemophilus influenzae is a type of bacteria that can cause pneumonia. It most commonly causes disease in babies and children younger than 5 years of age. Adults 65 years or older, American Indians, and Alaska Natives are also at increased risk for developing H.
influenzae disease. The most common cause of viral pneumonia in adults is the influenza virus. A number of different respiratory viruses cause pneumonia in children, such as respiratory syncytial virus (RSV). While viral pneumonia tends to be less severe than bacterial pneumonia, there is a risk of developing secondary bacterial pneumonia when viral pneumonia is present. Other virus types that can cause pneumonia include measles and varicella (chickenpox) viruses.
Rarely, certain viruses may develop lethal pneumonias such as SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome) or MERS (Middle East respiratory syndrome); both diseases are caused by different coronaviruses. Fungi that cause pneumonia include Cryptococcus, Histoplasma, and Coccidioides. In most individuals, these organisms don't cause illness, but they can cause pneumonia in some people. Fungal infections are most common in those with weakened immune systems due to HIV/AIDS or those taking medications that suppress immune function.
Another infection that is considered a fungal type of pneumonia is Pneumocystis jiroveci, formerly known as Pneumocystis carinii. This organism became known as a frequent cause of pneumonia in patients with HIV/AIDS. Daily Health News Trending on MedicineNet What are risk factors for pneumonia? There are a number of factors that increase the risk of developing pneumonia. These include a weakened immune system, either due to disease such as HIV/AIDS or cancer, or to medications that suppress immune function; infants and children 2 years of age or younger; age 65 and older; having a chronic disease such as cystic fibrosis, COPD, sickle cell anemia, asthma, heart disease, or diabetes; swallowing or coughing problems, as may occur following stroke or other brain injury; being a patient in an intensive-care unit of a hospital, particularly if on ventilator support; malnutrition; and cigarette smoking.
What is the incubation period for pneumonia? The incubation period for pneumonia depends on the type of organism causing the disease, as well as characteristics of the patient, such as his or her age and overall health status. Most cases of pneumonia begin with symptoms similar to those of a cold or the flu that last longer than the flu (about seven to 10 days) and become more severe. The symptoms of pneumonia can occur from a few days to a week following the flu-like symptoms.
What are pneumonia symptoms and signs? Symptoms and signs of pneumonia may be mild or severe and depend upon someone's overall state of health as well as the type of organism causing the pneumonia. Severe symptoms of pneumonia include cough, chest pain when breathing or coughing, labored breathing or shortness of breath, coughing up phlegm, fever, chills, and fatigue. Nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea are other possible symptoms that can accompany the respiratory symptoms.
Infants and newborns may not show specific symptoms of pneumonia. Instead, the baby or child may appear restless or lethargic. A baby or child with pneumonia may also have a fever or cough or vomit. Older adults or those who have weak immune systems may also have fewer symptoms and a lower temperature. A change in mental status, such as confusion, can develop in older adults with pneumonia. How long does pneumonia last? The duration of symptoms varies according to the type of pneumonia and the underlying health status of the individual.
How do health care professionals diagnose pneumonia? The diagnosis of pneumonia always begins with taking a medical history and performing a physical examination to look for characteristic signs. In particular, listening to the lungs may reveal areas where sound is diminished, wheezing, or crackling sounds in affected areas. Some commonly performed diagnostic tests are as follows: A chest X-ray is able to illustrate whether or not pneumonia is present, but it does not provide information about the organism responsible for the infection.
In some cases, a chest CT scan may be performed. This will reveal more detail than the chest X-ray. Pulse oximetry measures the amount of oxygen in the bloodstream. The test involves a painless sensor attached to the finger or ear. Blood levels of oxygen may be reduced in pneumonia. Microbiology tests to identify the causative organism. Tests may be performed on blood or sputum. Rapid urine tests are available to identify Streptococcus pneumoniae and Legionella pneumophila.
Cultures of blood or sputum not only identify the responsible organism but can also be examined to determine which antibiotics are effective against a particular bacterial strain. Bronchoscopy is a procedure in which a thin, lighted tube is inserted into the trachea and major airways. This allows the doctor to visualize the inside of the airways and take tissue samples if needed. Bronchoscopy may be performed in patients with severe pneumonia or if pneumonia worsens despite antibiotic treatment.
From Health Resources Featured Centers Health Solutions From Our Sponsors What is the treatment for pneumonia? Antibiotic medications are the treatment of choice for pneumonia caused by bacterial and fungal infections. The exact choice of medications depends on many factors, including the following: The organism responsible for the infection The likelihood that the organism is resistant to certain antibiotics The patient's underlying health condition About 80% of cases of CAP can be managed at home with the patient taking oral antibiotics.
There are numerous treatment regimens available. Initial treatment (before the causative organism has been identified) is called empiric treatment and is based upon the organisms most likely to be responsible for the illness. Once the exact organism has been identified in the laboratory and susceptibility testing performed to determine which antibiotics are effective, the treatment regimen can be further individualized.
In around 20% of cases, CAP must be managed in the hospital, typically with intravenous antibiotics initially. HAP care is managed in the hospital, typically with intravenous antibiotics. Antibiotics are not effective against viral pneumonia. Depending upon the type of virus that causes pneumonia, antiviral medications can provide benefit when started early in the course of the disease. For example, the medications oseltamivir (Tamiflu) and zanamivir (Relenza) are used to treat influenza virus infections.
Antifungal agents are used to treat most fungal pneumonias. What types of doctors treat pneumonia? In some cases, primary-care physicians, including pediatricians, internists, and family medicine specialists, may manage the care for patients with pneumonia. In more severe cases, other types of specialists may be involved in treating the patient with pneumonia. These include infectious-disease specialists, pulmonologists, critical-care specialists, and hospitalists.
What are complications of pneumonia? There are a number of potential complications of pneumonia. The infection that causes pneumonia can spread to the bloodstream, causing sepsis. Sepsis is a serious condition that can result in lowering of blood pressure and failure of oxygen to reach the tissues of the body, resulting in the need for intensive care management. Another complication is the accumulation of fluid in the space between the lung tissue and the chest wall lining, known as a pleural effusion.
The organisms responsible for the pneumonia may infect the fluid in a pleural effusion, known as an empyema. Pneumonia can also result in the formation of an abscess (collection of pus) within the lungs or airways. What is the prognosis of pneumonia? Most people with pneumonia improve after three to five days of antibiotic treatment, but a mild cough and fatigue can last longer, up to a month.
Patients who required treatment in a hospital may take longer to see improvement. Pneumonia can also be fatal. The mortality (death) rate is up to 30% for patients with severe pneumonia who require treatment in an intensive-care unit. Overall, around 5%-10% of patients who are treated in a hospital setting die from the disease. Pneumonia is more likely to be fatal in the elderly or those with chronic medical conditions or a weakened immune system.
Is it possible to prevent pneumonia? Is there a pneumonia vaccine? It is not possible to prevent all types of pneumonia, but one can take steps to reduce the chance of contracting the condition by quitting smoking, practicing good hand-washing, and avoiding contact with people who have colds, the flu, or other infections. A vaccine is available against the most common bacterial cause of pneumonia, Streptococcus pneumoniae (also known as Pneumococcus).
There are two types of vaccine: PPSV23 (Pneumovax), a pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine against 23 types of the bacteria, and PCV13 (Prevnar 13), a pneumococcal conjugate vaccine that protects against 13 types of the bacteria. These vaccines may not always prevent pneumococcal pneumonia, but they may prevent serious complications of pneumonia if it does occur. Avoidance of areas where fungal pathogens are endemic is recommended to prevent fungal pneumonias.
There is no antifungal vaccine available; however, for some high-risk patients, some clinicians have recommended prophylactic antifungal drugs. Are side effects associated with the pneumonia vaccine? Side effects of PCV13 in children include drowsiness, temporary loss of appetite, or redness, swelling, or tenderness where the shot was given. Mild fever and irritability are other common side effects.
Adults receiving pneumococcal vaccines have reported pain, redness, rash, and swelling where the shot was given; also mild fever, fatigue, headache, chills, or muscle pain. Any type of vaccine has the potential to cause an allergic reaction, which can be severe, but this side effect is rare. This would happen within minutes to a few hours after receiving the vaccine. How many pneumonia vaccines do you need? PCV13 or Prevnar 13, is currently recommended for all children younger than 5 years of age, all adults 65 years of age or older, and people 6-64 years of age with certain medical conditions.
PPSV23 is currently recommended for all adults 65 years of age or older and for people who are 2 years of age or older and at high risk for pneumococcal disease (for example, those with sickle cell disease, HIV infection, or other immunocompromising conditions). PPSV23 is also recommended for use in adults 19-64 years of age who smoke cigarettes or who have asthma. There is no evidence about the safety of PCV13 or PPSV23 vaccine use in pregnancy.
Women who need the vaccine should be vaccinated before a pregnancy, if possible. Some people may be recommended to receive both the PCV13 and PPSV23 vaccines. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends two pneumococcal vaccines for all adults 65 years or older. The PCV13 and PPSV23 should not be given at the same time. When both vaccines are recommended, a dose of the PCV13 should be given first, followed by a dose of PPSV23 at another visit to your health care provider.
Seasonal influenza vaccines are available yearly and are recommended to decrease the chance of contracting influenza. Vaccines against the measles virus and varicella virus, two viruses that can also cause pneumonia, are also available. The common side effects of these vaccines are similar to those listed below for the pneumonia vaccine. Daily Health News Trending on MedicineNet Reviewed on 4/25/2017 References REFERENCES:American Lung Association.
"Pneumonia Fact Sheet." <http://www.lung.org/lung-disease/influenza/in-depth-resources/pneumonia-fact-sheet.html>."Healthcare-Associated Pneumonia." Medscape.com. <https://www.medscape.org/viewarticle/558518>.United States. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. "Pneumonia." Aug. 24, 2016. <http://www.cdc.gov/pneumonia/index.html>.United States. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
"Pneumococcal Vaccination: Who Needs It?" Nov. 22, 2016. <http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/vpd-vac/pneumo/vacc-in-short.htm>.IMAGES:1.iStock2.iStock3.Bruce Blaus4.Getty Images5.iStock6.Bigstock7.iStock8.iStock9.Bigstock10.Getty Images11.Getty Images