Basically, pneumonia is an infection that affects a person's one or both the lungs. The cause behind it can be a bacteria, virus and even fungi. This infection can even be life threatening for some people. And, it not just affects the lungs but there can be other hidden risk factors too. The treatment varies for pneumonia varies from person to person depending on the stage and associated complications with it. Moreover, this infection can cause inflammation in the air sacs in your lungs, which are known as alveoli. In this health condition, the alveoli may get filled with pus that makes it difficult for you to breathe. Onlymyhealth editorial team spoke to Dr. Priyanka Agarwal, Consultant, Department of Respiratory Medicine, Max Hospital, Patparganj, about the stages and complications of pneumonia.
Stages of pneumonia
The germs that cause pneumonia can be contagious. Even the lung inflammation in pneumonia has many stages. It goes from getting affected, to worse to the road of recovery. As per Dr. Priyanka Agarwal, pneumonia has roughly four stages:
The first ever stage is where there is congestion in the lungs. The air spaces are filled with liquid material and bacteria or virus, whatever the organism is which is causing the pneumonia.
2. Red Hepatization
Then, the second stage is called the red hepatisation, in which lungs start looking like the liver. And, the air spaces get filled with various blood cells, white blood cells and red blood cells start intervening, like our immunity becomes more prominent. Then, the immune cells start coming into the airspaces and start eating up the organism, whether it is a bacteria or a virus.
3. Grey Hepatization
Then, the stage is where the lungs start turning grey, and it is called grey Hepatization. In this there is more intervention of cells. More of healing process starts at this stage. And bacteria are much less and lungs become slightly solid.
And then finally the stage of recovery or resolution. There may be even complete recovery or the lungs come back to almost normal. In fact, there may be some fibrosis like some scarring left behind.
What are the complications related to pneumonia?
Pneumonia can have lots of complications. Complications of pneumonia may be life-threatening too. Some very common risk factors attached to pneumonia are:
1. Falling oxygen levels
2. (ARDS) Acute respiratory distress syndrome in which all of a sudden the person goes into respitory distress and his oxygen levels fall very rapidly and he can land up on a ventilator
3. There may be formation of fluid around the lungs due to infection which is called pleural effusion
4. Formation of pus around the lungs
5. Spread of infections outside the lungs into the blood
7. Pus in other parts of the body
8. In extreme situations, it may also affect the brain
So, pneumonia is not just limited to lungs but can affect a person's whole body. The infection can get out from the lungs and travel in the other organs of the body through blood easily, including brain, kidney and liver. These were the major stages and complications of pneumonia. Therefore, you can take care of each and every factor.
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