Pneumonia involves inflammation of the lungs that can be caused by viruses, bacteria or fungi. The symptoms of a chronic case of pneumonia can range from mild to severe, especially among the elderly and those who have pre-existing conditions such as diabetes and heart disease.
Millions of individuals all over the world develop pneumonia and almost half of these cases require treatment at the hospital. Even though most of these individuals were able to recover, pneumonia is the cause of death for a small percentage of those who acquired the disease. The symptoms of chronic pneumonia develop once the infective organism enters the lungs and settles in the air sacs and passageways where they quickly multiply and cause inflammation of the neighboring structures.
Flu and cold symptoms
Those who are suffering from pneumonia especially in cases where the cause is the virus, initially have flu or cold-like symptoms such as sore throat, runny nose, headache as well as sneezing and sinus pain. Remember that this is due to the fact that the germs initially trigger the inflammation of the upper respiratory tract or the sinuses, nose and throat. This inflammation changes the normal protective mechanism and immune reaction, thus resulting to lung infection.
The flu and cold-like symptom can be followed by high-grade fever which is a vital part of the body’s defense against infection. Take note that fever is a usual symptom of pneumonia and triggered by the response of various chemicals that fight off infection that were released by the immune cells.
Always bear in mind that coughing is a normal reflex against any irritating substance present in the airways to keep them clear. This is one of the usual symptoms of pneumonia and the most obvious one.
The cough due to pneumonia can last longer than 8 weeks and initially dry and then becomes productive in which the individual will cough up the sputum that is green or yellow in color due to the infection. In severe cases, the individual might even cough up blood.
Shortness of breath
Shortness of breath in chronic pneumonic occurs since the air sacs are filled with fluid and infectious material, thus making it hard to breathe. Dyspnea or shortness of breath often causes discomfort, weakness, lack of energy and can also disrupt with sleep.
Take note that chest pain or pleurisy is an indication of chronic pneumonia especially if the infection involves a region of the lung that is positioned close to the chest walls. The pain is usually piercing and fluctuating during coughing and deep breathing.
As long as pneumonia is detected early and promptly treated, it reduces the risk for the condition to progress to a chronic stage. Once an individual is suspected with pneumonia, it is vital to seek immediate medical care.