Pneumonia (pneumonia) is an acute or chronic inflammation of the alveoli (alveolar pneumonia) and/ or lung tissue (interstitial pneumonia). This leads to swelling and increased blood flow to the affected area of the lung. Typically, the disease is accompanied by fluid accumulation in the lung tissue.
Depending on the extent, alveolar pneumonia is again divided into lobar or focal pneumonia. In lobar pneumonia, a whole lobe of the lung or a whole segment of the lung is usually affected. Focal pneumonia is so called because one or more foci of inflammation have arisen within one lobe of the lung. However, pneumonia can also start from the bronchi and attack the surrounding tissue (broncho-pneumonia).
About 400,000 people are diagnosed with pneumonia in Germany every year. In times of strong flu waves, i.e. especially in winter, the number is still significantly higher. The risk group includes, in particular, infants and young children, as well as elderly patients over 60 years of age and people with severe chronic diseases. Due to their not yet fully mature or weakened immune system, they are particularly susceptible to the development of pneumonia.
The triggers of pneumonia are usually bacteria, less often viruses or fungi. The disease can develop very differently depending on the general state of health of the patient and on the type of pathogen. Approximately every 7th pneumonia is so severe that it requires hospitalization. Pneumonia is the most common infection leading to death in Western Europe. It is ranked 5th in the nationwide cause of death statistics, about 3 to 5% of patients die from it annually. Especially dangerous are the diseases that are acquired in the hospital, the so-called nosocomial pneumonias. They are usually difficult to treat, because their pathogens prove to be resistant (resistant) to many antibiotics.
With pneumonia (pneumonia), the alveoli of the lungs (alveoli) and surrounding tissues are inflamed. The infection is often manifested by a sudden high fever, a strong feeling of illness, coughing and shortness of breath.
Since pneumonia is usually caused by bacteria, it can usually be treated well with antibiotics. In addition, vaccines are available that can protect against infection by certain pathogens.
Those who are otherwise healthy have usually survived pneumonia after a few weeks. However, you should not underestimate them: it can take one, sometimes even several months, until you are really resilient again.
Pneumonia can sometimes lead to life–threatening complications – especially in people who are already weakened by another disease. Pneumonia can also be dangerous for babies and the elderly.
What causes a person to get pneumonia?
How do you know if you pneumonia?
How serious is a pneumonia?
Is pneumonia can be cured?