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Dec 29, 2023

In-Depth Guide To Pneumonia: Causes, Symptoms, And Treatment

Oftentimes, symptoms that seem simple may end up leading to significant health ailments or conditions. While you may have critical illness insurance to be able to deal with such situations, it is fundamental to take care of your health and ensure that you keep diseases at bay. One such condition to be wary of is pneumonia. Without proper care, pneumonia may end up putting you through a tough time, wreaking havoc on your physical health, and possibly making you face some significant healthcare expenses. Pneumonia, a common respiratory infection, can affect individuals of all ages, causing inflammation in the air sacs of the lungs. Although treatable in most cases, pneumonia can be a serious health concern, especially for vulnerable populations. One should take the right precautions in case of children, senior citizens, and pregnant women to protect them against such ailments. Getting the right insurance policy, such as a senior citizen health insurance for older adults may be a step in that right. Let’s take a closer look at what pneumonia is, its types, and symptoms.

What is Pneumonia?

Pneumonia is an inflammatory condition that affects the air sacs in one or both lungs. These air sacs, also known as alveoli, can become filled with pus or other liquid, hindering normal lung function. The infection can be caused by various microorganisms, including bacteria, viruses, and fungi. Pneumonia can range from mild to severe and may lead to complications, especially in individuals with weakened immune systems or pre-existing health conditions.

Types of Pneumonia

Following are some of the types of pneumonia that one may be affected with. The course of prescribed treatment may differ as per the type of pneumonia one is affected with.
  1. Bacterial Pneumonia: Caused by bacteria, typically Streptococcus pneumoniae, this type of pneumonia can develop on its own or as a complication of another respiratory infection.
  2. Viral Pneumonia: Commonly caused by influenza (flu) viruses or respiratory syncytial viruses (RSV), viral pneumonia tends to be more prevalent during the winter months.
  3. Mycoplasma Pneumonia: Caused by the bacterium [, this type is often milder than other forms and is commonly known as "walking pneumonia."
  4. Fungal Pneumonia: Caused by various fungi, such as Histoplasma, Coccidioides, or Cryptococcus, fungal pneumonia is relatively rare and typically affects individuals with compromised immune systems.
  5. Aspiration Pneumonia: This type occurs when foreign substances, such as food or gastric juices, are inhaled into the lungs, leading to infection.

Symptoms of Pneumonia

The symptoms of pneumonia can vary depending on the type of infection and the overall health of the individual. Common symptoms include:
  1. Cough: Often producing phlegm that may be discoloured.
  2. Fever: A high body temperature is a common sign of infection.
  3. Shortness of Breath: Difficulty breathing, especially during physical activity.
  4. Chest Pain: Pain or discomfort in the chest, exacerbated by coughing or deep breathing.
  5. Fatigue: Feeling unusually tired or weak.
  6. Confusion: Particularly in older adults.

Causes of Pneumonia

Some of the common causes of pneumonia are as follows:
  1. Bacterial Infections: Bacteria, such as Streptococcus pneumoniae, Haemophilus influenzae, and Staphylococcus aureus, are common culprits of bacterial pneumonia.
  2. Viral Infections: Influenza viruses, respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), and others can lead to viral pneumonia.
  3. Fungal Infections: Fungi like Histoplasma, Coccidioides, and Cryptococcus can cause pneumonia in individuals with weakened immune systems.
  4. Aspiration: Inhaling foreign substances, such as food, vomit, or gastric juices, can lead to aspiration pneumonia.
  5. Risk Factors: Factors such as age, weakened immune system, chronic diseases (e.g., diabetes, heart disease), smoking, and recent respiratory infections increase the risk of developing pneumonia.

Diagnosis and Treatment

If pneumonia is suspected, a healthcare provider will typically perform a combination of the following:
  1. Physical Examination
  2. Chest X-ray
  3. Blood Tests
  4. Sputum Test
The approach to treating pneumonia depends on the type of infection and its severity. Common treatment options include:
  1. Antibiotics
  2. Antiviral Medications
  3. Antifungal Medications
  4. Pain Relievers and Fever Reducers
  5. Hospitalisation
A number of these possibilities may be covered by your health insurance. It is ideal to get to know the coverage scope of your policy when you buy it, so you may be better prepared. Pneumonia is a serious respiratory infection that requires prompt medical attention. If you find yourself or a loved one experiencing any symptoms, you may want to consult your healthcare provider immediately. Having a health insurance policy may not keep diseases at bay, but it may allow you to access the right healthcare without having to worry about the financial pressure it will put you under. Using a health insurance calculator, you may be able to understand how much you may have to pay for the sort of policy you seek.* Prioritising both preventive measures and timely access to medical care, along with the support of the right health policy, contributes to better outcomes in managing and overcoming pneumonia.   *Standard T&C Apply Insurance is the subject matter of solicitation. For more details on benefits, exclusions, limitations, terms, and conditions, please read the sales brochure/policy wording carefully before concluding a sale.

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