Pneumonia is a bacterial or viral infection of the lungs. It affects the tiny air sacs of the lungs, called alveoli, and it causes them to become filled with fluid or sometimes pus.
Since it is the alveoli that make it possible for oxygen and carbon dioxide to move between your lungs and bloodstream, pneumonia can make it difficult for you to breathe. Other common symptoms of this lung inflammation include cough, chest pain, fatigue, fever, sweating, chills, nausea, vomiting and confusion.
Just about anyone can end up with pneumonia, although some people are at higher risk of it. Below you will find some of the things that can increase your likelihood of having pneumonia.
Smoking causes tons of poisonous substances to enter your body via your lungs, and that’s why it is the lungs that are primarily damaged by cigarette smoking, although many other vital organs can be affected, too.
It’s exactly for such reason why someone who is smoking is at higher risk of suffering from pneumonia than anyone else on the planet.
And here’s another really scary thing about cigarette smoking and pneumonia: doctors say that nearly 10 percent of all people who were hospitalized for pneumonia developed lung cancer in the next 12 months. They add that the incidence of lung cancer was higher in those who had upper lobe pneumonia — pneumonia is something that can affect one of various lobes of the lungs, and it may also affect only one or both of the lungs.
Excessive Alcohol Intake
In moderation, alcohol can actually help you attain optimum health. In excessive amounts, however, it’s a different story entirely. There are so many medical problems that you may end up with if you drink lots and lots of alcohol, and pneumonia is just one of them.
The reason why too much alcohol can increase your risk of having pneumonia is this: it considerably reduces white blood cells in your body, making your immune system weak.
With your immune system in a bad shape, your body is practically defenseless against bacteria and viruses that can cause your alveoli to become infected and inflamed — pneumonia-causing microbes have easy access to those tiny air sacs of yours by means of the lungs.
Impaired Immune System
But it’s not just excessive intake of alcohol that can weaken your immune system and put you at higher risk of ending up with pneumonia, but so many other things, too.
For instance, having poor eating habits can leave your immune system in shambles as your body is not provided with nutrients that it needs to stay active. Failure to get your regular dose of exercise can also cause your immune system to become considerably weak. Chronic stress is a known immunity wrecker, too. If you like to party all night long, your immune system is also in peril as lack of sleep can weaken it.
Many different medical conditions can also cause your immune system to become compromised. It’s important for the root cause to be diagnosed and treated by a doctor to get your immunity back on track.
Having the Cold or Flu
According to doctors, you may be at risk of developing pneumonia if you have the common cold or the flu. That’s because the very same viruses that can cause those are also the ones behind pneumonia.
However, just because you have the cold or flu doesn’t necessarily mean that you will surely wind up with pneumonia. The truth is it rarely happens, but it doesn’t mean that it won’t happen. Reports say that pneumonia due to a viral infection of the upper respiratory tract is more common in kids, the elderly and pregnant women.
Even though rare, you should be on your guard always because it is said that pneumonia that started out as the cold or flu can be the deadliest of its kind.