The Effects of Pneumonia on the Body

The Effects of Pneumonia on the Body: Symptoms, Causes, Treatment

Symptoms of Pneumonia in Adults: Long Term Effects and Treatments

Pneumonia is one of the most common diseases that affects humans. It is caused by bacteria or viruses which invade the lungs.

The infection spreads through coughing and sneezing. Some infections may cause only mild symptoms, while others may lead to death.

Long term effects of pneumonia include:

Respiratory failure (lung collapse)

Death from respiratory failure due to lack of oxygen supply to vital organs such as brain, heart and kidneys. Death occurs within days if not hours.


Short term effects of pneumonia include:

Coughing up blood due to inflammation of lung tissue. Blood loss may result in shock.

Death may occur if not treated quickly enough.


Pneumonia causes:

Viruses such as influenza or cold viruses, adenoviruses, or rubella may cause pneumonia.

Bacteria-borne infections like those by Mycobacterium tuberculosis, non-tuberculous mycobacteria and legionellosis may cause pneumonia.

Inhaling food or liquids into lungs due to neurological diseases such as Guillain-Barre syndrome may cause pneumonia.

Injury to lungs due to respiratory diseases such as sarcoidosis, hypersensitivity pneumonitis and idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis may cause pneumonia.

Exposure to irritants such as smoke, certain chemicals or dust may cause pneumonia.

Viral pneumonia is more common than bacterial pneumonia. It is more common in children, the elderly and people with weak immune systems.

Bacterial pneumonia is less common than viral pneumonia but may become life-threatening quickly due to the spread of infection to other organs.

Causative organisms:

Viruses: Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), influenza virus and parainfluenza virus are the most common causes of pneumonia in infants and young children.

Mycoplasma pneumonia may be a potential cause of pneumonia in infants and young children. Other mycoplasma may cause atypical pneumonia in young and middle-aged adults.

Bacteria: Mycobacteria such as Mycobacterium tuberculosis, M. avium complex (MAC), M.

kansasii, M. gordonae, M. marinum, M. scrofulaceum, M. simiae, M. szulgai and M. ulcerans are the most common causes of bacterial pneumonia in adults.

In immunocompromised patients atypical mycobacteria may cause rapidly progressive pneumonia.

Causative agents of atypical pneumonia are: Mycoplasma pneumonia, Chlamydophila pneumonia, Legionella pneumophila, Coxiella burnetii, viruses and fungi.

Some of the more common viruses are: Parainfluenza virus, Respiratory syncytial virus, Adenovirus, Rhinovirus and Herpes virus.

Fungi: Aspergillus flavus, A. fumigatus, A.

nidulans, A. niger and Mucor may cause pneumonia.

Bacterial and viral pneumonia may be community-acquired or hospital-acquired.

Community-acquired pneumonia affects individuals not residing in a health care setting. Most cases of community-acquired pneumonia are viral.

Hospital-acquired pneumonia (HAP) develops in patients during the course of medical treatment or within 30 days after discharge from a hospital or nursing home.

Health care-associated pneumonia (HCAP) is a type of HAP and is caused by genetic or environmental factors related to the health care setting.

Mortality rate is higher in HCAP than in community-acquired pneumonia (CAP).

HAP caused by multidrug-resistant organisms is with a high mortality rate.

Pneumonia caused by Aspergillus, Nocardia, and Zygomycetes (molds and yeast) have higher mortality rates than that of other pathogens.

Drug-resistant pathogens are a global health concern.

Pulmonary Lymphangitis:

One of the complications following phthisis is pulmonary lymphangitis (lymphangitis). This is a condition of inflammation and dilation of superficial lymphatic vessels in the lungs.

It may appear as red, swollen linear grooves on the surface of the lung tissue.

Pulmonary edema is fluid in the lung tissues due to heart failure.

Tuberculosis is a common cause of cor pulmonale (cardiac failure due to effects on the heart of pressure on the heart by the enlarged lungs).

Pleurisy is an inflammation of the pleura, the membrane surrounding the lungs and chest wall. The most common cause is infection of the lungs (pneumonia).

It causes sharp, stabbing pain that worsens with breathing in and moving. Respiration may also be painful.


This is a disease caused by mycobacterium tuberculosis.

It is transmitted through airborne droplet nuclei when an infected person coughs or sneezes and non-infected person inhales them.

In the lungs, the bacteria usually infect and destroy the tissue covering the air sacs (alveoli).

The infected area is then replaced with scar tissue, which prevents the lung from expanding fully.

The distinguishing sign of tuberculosis is the production of thick sputum (phlegm) that has a TB-specific smell.

Some people have no symptoms at all.

Infected people can transmit tuberculosis without symptoms or signs.

The most striking symptom of advanced infection is loss of weight due to inability to take in nutrition through the lungs.

The earliest symptoms of tuberculosis are: loss of weight, loss of appetite, fever, weakness, drowsiness, and lack of energy.

If untreated in its early stages, it may lead to pneumonia or bronchitis.

Other symptoms include: night sweats, a constant hacking cough producing sputum with blood, chest pain that increases when coughing and decreasing with rest.

Other symptoms include: fever, chest pain, and a persistent, productive cough of blood-tinged mucus (hemoptysis).

Complications arising from the disease may involve the brain, liver, kidneys, bones, etc.

Diagnosis is by either a microscopic examination of sputum or a tissue sample. Sputum can be tested in specialized laboratories.

Treatment involves: INH, Rifampicin, Pyrazinamide, and Ethambutol for the first 2-6 months and is usually effective.

Those with a weakened immune system or other health problems may require longer treatment.

People who have had close contact with an infectious person should see a doctor.

Diagnosis is easy to confirm and usually involves a sputum test.

TB has a long latency period (time between initial infection and the start of symptoms) of about 8 to 12 weeks.

About one third of the world’s population has been infected with tuberculosis.

It is one of the most common fatal infectious diseases in the world. Around 1.7 million people died from tuberculosis in 2004.

About 9 million people were diagnosed with tuberculosis in 2004.

The disease is more common in developing countries, particularly in Asia and Africa.

In the United States, about 4,800 people died from TB in 2006 and about 13% of those had HIV.

The main problem with tuberculosis is not the initial infection but the fact that it can lie dormant in the body for many years before resurfacing as the disease.

Infection in adults usually presents as a lung infection and in children as an abdominal infection.

Pulmonary tuberculosis is called consumption.

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Nonbacterial pneumonia after allogeneic marrow transplantation: a review of ten years’ experience by DT Phung, Z Wang, S Rutherford, C Huang… – Obesity …, 2013 – Wiley Online Library