Pneumonia is an illness that affects one or both lungs and that used to be one of the main causes of death 2 centuries ago. It is caused by microorganisms that attack the tissue from the lungs, causing it to inflammate and leading to a severe condition if the infection is not treated in time.
Pneumonia can be caused by bacteria, a virus or fungi and leads to an infection in either one or both of the lungs. In the United States, Approximately three million people will develop pneumonia each year, with about a half million having to be admitted to a hospital for treatment. Five percent of those who contract pneumonia die from it, making the illness the sixth principal cause of death in the United States. In this article, we look at how nutrition, protein and a well-balanced diet can help in preventing pneumonia infections.
Viral pneumonia is very common form of pneumonia affecting children, teenagers and the elderly. It can sometimes be mistaken for either the flu or a cold. Viral pneumonia presents the following symptoms: inflammation of the throat, productive or non-productive cough, a swelling in the lymph nodes, chest discomfort during breathing, mild to severe headache and a generalized feeling of fatigue. The cough may or may not produce varying amounts of mucus. You may also experience a mild fever and chills.
Some pneumonia is diagnosed only after an examination by a doctor reveals crackling sounds or coarse breathing in the chest. There may also be breathlessness, wheezing or the breathing sounds may be diminished in certain parts of the chest. A chest x-ray is the definitive way to diagnose the pneumonia, however sputum samples, blood tests and bronchoscopies can typically be ordered as well. The sputum samples can determine what the exact cause of the pneumonia is and determine the course of medical treatment. The blood work can help to determine how serious the infection is and may also provide a clue as to whether it is caused by a virus, bacteria or fungi.
Nursing Diagnosis for Pneumonia
- Impaired Gas Exchange related to impaired oxygen delivery.
- Risk for Infection related to inadequate primary defenses.
- Ineffective airway clearance related to the formation of edema.
- Activity Intolerance related to insufficiency of oxygen for everyday activities.