Pneumonia is an infection of your lungs caused by specific types of bacteria, viruses or fungi. In normal situations, your body can easily filter out these harmful microorganisms and stop infections from even reaching your lungs. However, sometimes your body will fail to do this and you can develop pneumonia. You can also develop this condition if an infection from another part of your body spreads to the lungs. Pneumonia is an infection of your lungs caused by specific types of bacteria, viruses or fungi. In normal situations, your body can easily filter out these harmful microorganisms and stop infections from even reaching your lungs. However, sometimes your body will fail to do this and you can develop pneumonia. You can also develop this condition if an infection from another part of your body spreads to the lungs.
As pneumonia gains ground in your lungs, a healthy person’s body fights back with its natural defenses: white blood cells. The area where the infection is also becomes inflamed, which helps your body fight off the bacteria, virus or fungi.
If you are diagnosed with pneumonia, you might be wondering how serious it is or can become. While every situation is different, there are cases where pneumonia has turned deadly. While things seem to be going as well as they can be for someone with pneumonia, it can turn deadly based a on a few factors.
Who is Most at Risk?
Anyone is technically at risk for developing pneumonia. A relatively healthy person can contract pneumonia at any time.
For people who have chronic conditions, like lung disease, heart disease or a compromised/weakened immune system, avoiding the infection is not so easy. Many factors can cause a weakened immune system, like age, illness and disease. Here are some examples of people with weakened or compromised immune systems:
- The elderly
- Those with diabetes
- People with heart, kidney or lung disease
- People who are HIV positive or who have developed AIDS
- Those receiving drugs to suppress their immune system
- People with cancer, especially those who have leukemia or lymphoma or who are undergoing chemotherapy.
- Those who smoke or drink excessively
When a Bad Situation Turns Deadly
A relatively healthy person should naturally be able to fight of this infection on their own if it is viral. If the infection is bacterial, then the healthy person’s body will need antibiotics to help. For those who are not healthy, though, the situation can become more serious.
People with weakened immune systems are most at risk when they develop pneumonia. They are less likely to respond to treatment and are not able to cope as well as a healthy person with the extra stress placed on their organs. They are also more likely to develop serious complications. In fact, pneumonia is one of the leading causes of death for the elderly and seriously ill.
The situation can also become serious for any person if their condition gets too bad and is left untreated. If pneumonia progresses to infecting the alveoli, then a person will most likely need medical help to get healthy. The alveoli are small air sacs at the end of the breathing tubes in the lungs where oxygen passes into the blood. When they become infected with pneumonia, they start to fill with fluid and pus, which disrupts your body’s natural process of gas exchange in your lungs. As this stops oxygen from reaching your blood, you could become short of breath. If left untreated, this can become life-threatening.
Pediatric Pulmonologist in New York City
If you have further questions or concerns regarding pneumonia, do not hesitate to make a consultation with Dr. Mayank Shukla, the premier pediatric pulmonologist in New York City. Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org to begin your journey to breathing easier.