Last updated:09-05-2008
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Definition and causes

Pneumonia is an inflammation of lungevævet most frequently caused by bacteria, viruses, parasites and fungi. In rare cases, pneumonia caused by chemical reasons, for example. inhalation of toxic gases. Sometimes a pneumonia at the start, getting stomach containing stomach acid and bacteria into the trachea and further into the lungs (mixture of bacterial and chemical reason).

Pneumonia is a very frequent disease, which cause up to 20,000 hospitalisations each year in Denmark. Presumably, there are 4-5 times more to get the disease but not hospitalised. Earlier pneumonia was a very frequent cause of death. But today the death very rare and seen only in the elderly or other already weakened people.

Pneumonia spreads through inhalation of a pathogenic micro-organism. In rare cases, you can get pneumonia know that bacteria in the blood is brought to the lungs, where they attack lungevævet.

There are several factors that increase the risk of getting pneumonia considerably. These risk factors associated with the reduction of the immune system:

  • Age(the vast majority who have pneumonia are over 60 years in which the immune system is often weakened).

  • Influenza (the immunocompromised, which increases the bacteria living conditions. Virus can also directly infect the lungs and give a viral pneumonia).

  • Chronic diseaseswhich reduces the patient's resistance (including HIV / AIDS ).

  • Smoking(lungernes reduces the ability to remove slime and mikroorgansimer).

  • Chronic bronchitis and chronic obstructive lungelidelse (These diseases also reduces lungernes ability to remove slime and microorganisms).

You can share pneumonia in many ways. The following describes the following types of pneumonia:classicpneumonia,hospitalserhvervedepneumonia and theatypicalpneumonia. This division is designed to give an impression of the major ways the disease may appear, and what it caused. But the same micro-organism can lead to very different disease, depending on who become infected.

Classical pneumonia
The classic pneumonia is the most frequent form of pneumonia and is due in most cases the bacteriumStreptococcus pneumoniae(pneumokokker). This type of pneumonia may also be due to bacteriaHaemophilus influenzaeorLegionella pneumophila. Other micro-organisms can also lead to classical pneumonia.

The disease typically affects the elderly and most frequently in winter. It has particularly increased risk of this type of pneumonia if it has been stripped of the spleen (eg. After a road accident or a blood disease). The spleen helps to remove certain types of bacteria from the blood, for example. pneumokokker andHaemophilus.

Pneumonia acquired in hospital
This form of pneumonia represents a pneumonia that has arisen in connection with the removal to hospital. Most embedded have one or more of the above risk factors. Hospitalserhvervet pneumonia seen particularly frequently among people in the respirator. The most microbes are Staphylococcus aureus andPseudomonas, But the disease can result from a wide range of other micro-organisms inc. pneumokokker.

In rare cases, fungi asCryptococcus,Aspergillus,HistoplasmaandBlastomykosegive rise to pneumonia. This is seen primarily in patients with severe immunodeficiency, and almost never outside the hospital.

Atypisk pneumonia
This form of pneumonia known as atypical pneumonia due to the different or less serious symptoms. Some people call these types of pneumonia too cold pneumonia. This type of infection often seen in younger people and is often caused by bacteriaMycoplasma pneumoniaeorChlamydia pneumoniae( Chlamydia pneumonia - described in a separate article and should not be confused with kønssygdommen Chlamydia , Which is due to a different type of chlamydia-bacteria).

Another frequent cause of pneumonia with an atypical process viruses, typically Influenza virus ,adeno-virusor more often in childrenRespiratory syncytial virus(the latter is a frequent cause of cold ). Viral lungebetændelser is often mild, and most just let shortness of breath and flu-like symptoms. The viral lungebetændelser can be dangerous if they affect people with severe immune systems.

Symptoms of the pneumonia

The symptoms of pneumonia is dependent on the one hand, the micro-organism which cause inflammation, and partly of health:

Classical pneumonia

  • Pludseligt indsættende high fever (39-40 degrees).

  • Chills.

  • Education sygdomsfølelse.

  • Cough. First of dry cough, but cough with pus or blodtilblandet opspyt.

  • Pain by deep breathing.

  • Shortness of breath (dyspnea) and breathing is often quick and superficial.

By infection with Legionella seen most often a particularly violent conduct, which in addition to the above symptoms are often seen muscle pain, nausea, diarrhoea, headache and bevidsthedssløring. Here are rarely bloody opspyt.

Pneumonia acquired in hospital
Here is often a more motley symptombillede, because these people are often weakened in advance and also often take drugs to mask the symptoms. Therefore, fever and cough missing.

Atypisk pneumonia

  • Gradually indsættende fever (which rarely are as high as in the classic pneumonia).

  • Education sygdomsfølelse (sometimes this symptom missing).

  • Headache.

  • Persistent dry cough.

  • Possibly. flu-like symptoms (depending on the disease-causing mikroorgansime).

If the atypical pneumonia caused by viruses, it is often gone ahead of an upper respiratory tract infection.

Precautions and diagnosis

Get symptoms of pneumonia, one should consult a doctor as the disease is potentially dangerous and require treatment. Most often the symptoms will only result from a common cold or influenza.

If you are aged, physically impaired or had removed the spleen, it is recommended that vaccinating pneumokokker. However, there are many different types of pneumokokker, so even if you have been vaccinated, you can still risk being infected with pneumococcal-pneumonia. It is also important to tell the doctor about any. Prior travelling abroad, since bacteria from some countries may be resistant (resistant) to the general treatment.

The diagnosis made on symptombilledet, and at a X-ray of the lungs, which can be liquefied areas. In severe cases or in cases where the treatment does not work, examined opspyttet to identify exactly which micro-organism which has caused the disease. Possibly. made in this connection, a bronchoscopy .

Treatment of pneumonia

The classic pneumonia can in most cases are treated with penicillin, and in most cases a week's treatment would be sufficient.

The hospitalserhvervede pneumonia often require emergency treatment, since those who receive this type of pneumonia, are often heavily weakened in advance.

The atypical pneumonier caused by Mycoplasma or Chlamydia Treated with antibiotics, typically a so-calledmacrolide. The virusbetingede lungebetændelser is often mild and requires no treatment.

Select and complications

In the vast majority of pneumonia is not a serious illness, and may go by itself in a couple of weeks, or disappear in the context of the relatively short-term treatment.

Related articles:

Acute Bronchitis
Allergic alveolitis
ARDS (Adult Respiratory Distress Syndrome)
Bronkiektasi (Bronkieudvidelse)
Chronic Bronchitis
COPD (Chronic Obstruktiv Lungesygdom, Rygerlunger)
Empyem in lungehulen (Lungehulebetændelse)
Interstitielle lung diseases
Lung absces
Lung cancer
Lungs and respiratory passages
Pneumoconioses, Asbestosis
Pneumonia (Pneumonia)
Pneumothorax (Lungecollapse, Ruptured lung)
Sarcoidosis (Morbus Boeck)
Water in the lungs (Pulmonary oedema)



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