Pneumonia is an infection of the lungs. It affects the small airways and air sacs in the lungs.
Development of Pneumonia in the Air Sacs of the Lungs
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Pneumonia is sometimes described by where and how you were infected. Types of pneumonia include:
Pneumonia may be caused by:
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Pneumonia is more common in older adults. Other factors that may increase your chance of developing pneumonia include:
Pneumonia may cause:
Your doctor will ask about your symptoms and medical history. A physical exam will be done. Your doctor may suspect pneumonia based on your symptoms, and breath and lung sounds. Tests can confirm diagnosis and determine the specific germ causing the pneumonia.
Your bodily fluids may be tested. This can be done with:
Pulse oximetry measures blood oxygen levels.
Images may be taken of your lungs. This can be done with:
Treatment of pneumonia depends on:
People with severe pneumonia may need to be hospitalized.
Your doctor may advise:
It is important to take all medications as prescribed, even when you are feeling well.
Certain vaccines may prevent pneumonia:
Other preventive measures include:
American Academy of Family Physicians
American Lung Association
The College of Family Physicians of Canada
The Lung Association
2014 Immunization schedules. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. Available at: http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/schedules/easy-to-read/index.html. Updated January 31, 2014. Accessed February 17, 2014.
Blasi F, Aliberti S, Pappalettera M, Tarsia P. 100 years of respiratory medicine: pneumonia. Respir Med. 2007;101(5):875-881.
Braunwald E, Harrison TR, Fauci AS, et al. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine. 17th ed. Columbus, OH: McGraw-Hill; 2008.
Carpenter CC, Andreoli TE, Griggs RC. Cecil Essentials of Medicine. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Science; 2003.
De Roux A, Marcos MA, Garcia E, Mensa J, Ewig S, Lode H, Torres A. Viral community-acquired pneumonia in non-immunocompromised adults. Chest. 2004;125(4):1343-1351.
Explore pneumonia. National Heart Lung Blood Institute (NHLBI) website. Available at: http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/health-topics/topics/pnu. Updated March 1, 2011. Accessed February 17, 2014.
How can pneumonia be prevented? National Heart Lung Blood Institute (NHLBI) website. Available at: http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/health-topics/topics/pnu/prevention.html. Updated March 1, 2011. Accessed February 17, 2014.
Niederman MS. Recent advances in community-acquired pneumonia inpatient and outpatient. Chest. 2007 April;4:1205-15.
Niederman MS. Review of treatment guidelines for community-acquired pneumonia. Am J Med. 2004;117:Suppl 3A:51S-57S. Review.
Pneumonia in adults. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed. Updated November 14, 2013. Accessed February 17, 2014.
10/29/2009 DynaMed Systematic Literature Surveillance http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed: Hemila H, Louhiala P. Vitamin C for preventing and treating pneumonia. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2009;(3):CD005532.
10/21/2013 DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed: Hemilä H, Louhiala P. Vitamin C for preventing and treating pneumonia. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2013 Aug 8;8.
3/10/2014 DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed: Su VY, Liu CJ, et al. Sleep apnea and risk of pneumonia: a natoinwide population-based study. CMAJ. 2014 Mar 3.
6/17/2014 DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed: Reissig A, Copetti R, et al. Lung ultrasound in the diagnosis and follow-up of community-acquired pneumonia: a prospective, multicenter diagnostic accuracy study. Chest. 2012 Oct;142(4):965-972.
Last reviewed February 2014 by David L Horn, MD, FACP
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.
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