Pathophysiology of Pneumonia – Respiratory System Example

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"Pathophysiology of Pneumonia" is an impressive example of a paper on the respiratory system. Pneumonia is the inflammation of the lungs that occurs due to the infection of the lungs. The infection may be bacterial, fungal or viral. It affects the lungs by bringing about the influx of blood into the lungs to fight the invading agents. Pneumonia can affect just one lobe of either the left or right lung or a whole lung and even both. Pneumonia has a far much reaching effect in women who are pregnant and those people suffering from heart failure.

In pregnant women, pneumonia can lead to low birth weight and preterm births. This is caused by the decreased oxygenated blood supply to the fetus. The depriving of the fetus oxygen leads to a number of malformation and impaired development at the time of infection. The mother and people suffering from heart failure have a higher risk of developing respiratory distress eventually. Pneumonia has over three million people suffering from it. It is the eighth leading cause of all deaths in the United States today. Before the advent of antibiotics, pneumonia was the third leading killer disease in the year 1930 (Kieninger and Lipsett).                                                                                                         Symptoms of pneumonia Infectious pneumonia elicits a number of symptoms that include a productive cough and insomnia together with shortness of breath shaking chills, stabbing chest pain that is exacerbated by an increased rate of respiration and deep breathing.

The old people experience confusion and prominent fever. While under-five children experience difficult or fast breathing accompanied by severe cough. Lastly, the patients may also experience the rapid breath, muscle aches, nausea and dry cough.                                                                                 Pathophysiology of pneumonia The body has a number of mechanisms put in place to deter the microorganism from gaining lung access.

For one, the respiratory system has a number of cilia and flagella and mucous that is responsible for tracking the microorganism and eliminating them from the body. On the other hand, the skin protects the lung from being invaded through contaminated blood. In case these defence mechanisms are bypassed, and the causative agent gains access to the alveoli, the human body has a number of mechanisms in place to prevent further progress of the infection (Jamshed et al. , 67).

First, the alveoli macrophages are released into the system to fight the bacteria. After that, the complement components of the nervous system are activated to fight the microorganisms too. The alveolar macrophages are activated by the neutral lipids, phospholipids, surfactant, IgA, IgE, IgG and factor B which is part of the complement components (Schulze and Rahilly, 30). The activated macrophages, work as the initial defence mechanism of the bod before the antigen-specific antibodies are produced in case it is an initial infection.

Macrophages are slower in the elimination process. More so the macrophages produce chemotactic substances that help to bring in polymorph neutrophils to initiate the inflammatory response. In case the whole mechanism fails, then he microorganism will get into the general circulation and elicit the systemic infection signs that include myalgia, fever and malaise among others. In its whole process of invading and infecting the lungs, pneumonia affects a number of systems in the body. To begin with is the effects on the respiratory system. Pneumonia destroys the respiratory system more so the lungs since it invades its cells.

The bacteria and virus trapped in the alveoli as they grow and disintegrate produce toxins that lyse the adjacent cells and the alveoli hence compromising the gaseous exchange. It is even worsened by the inflammatory response that pulls serum and component of the immune system. The cardiovascular system is affected in case the infection is not contained in its early stages. It impairs the normal gaseous exchange hence depriving the heart oxygen needed to keep it working normally.   Thus, apart from the heart being deprived of oxygen, the normal working condition of the cardiovascular system is also impaired hence making the condition worse.

This has much more implication on the brain which is vulnerable to minimal oxygen deficiency.   Once the brain is deprived of the oxygen, the whole nervous system is affected too. The endocrine system plays a role too in the process of mitigating the effects and possibility of the disease set in (Wootton, Aston, and Gordon, 42). Most notably is the production of histamine which is used to ensure that there is increased blood supply to various part of the body.

For instance, in the case of pneumonia, there is increased histamine which enables the serum and other products of the immune system to move into the Lund to fight the invading agents by dilating the local blood vessels.                                                                                                           Management Typical treatment of pneumonia includes completion of the prescribed dose according to the medical advice. Each type of infection has a different mode of treatment. For bacterial infection, use of antibiotics is recommended for the management. For instance, management in the United Kingdom is by use of amoxicillin as the first-line treatment while clarithromycin or doxycycline are used as the alternative.

In the United States, the use of macrolides has replaced the use of amoxicillin as the first-line treatment of community-acquired pneumonia. The management of the hospital-acquired infection requires the use of third and fourth generation of aminoglycosides, vancomycin, carbapenems, and cephalosporins and fluoroquinolone antibiotics (Kieninger and Lipsett 440). The duration of treatment ranges from seven to ten years of antibiotic administration. To manage viral pneumonia antivirals are used to manage these patients for 48 hours.

Lastly, aspiration pneumonia is managed by use of antibiotics. However, the choice of antibiotics to be used will depend on the causative agents that have gained access to the lungs. Follow up of the patients is necessary for the management of these patients. A chest ray is necessary to ensure that there is optimal healing of the patient.                                                                                             Prevention of pneumonia The centre for disease control and prevention, recommends that there should a yearly vaccinations for every person who is 6 years or older. According to Ruuskanen, Lahti, Jennings, & Murdoch, (p. 1264) There could be a reduction of over 400000 deaths of adults and over 600000 deaths of children.

Pneumococcal vaccine is available for the infants. Cessation of smoking and reduced indoor air pollution also will reduce the infection rate. People suffering from asthma, diabetes and other severe chronic health problems are at risk of developing pneumonia. Thus, they need to be taken care of with a lot of care and be always vigilant of the disease at the same time keeping a conducive environment for the patients to avoid inhaling of air that can be containing the causative agents                                                                                                                                       Conclusion Pneumonia is the inflammation of the lungs with over fifty types of pneumonia based on the causative agents and the effect they have on the human body.

They can be managed by using a number of medications that the causative agents are sensitive to. There should be a follow up of the patient to ensure that they recover fully from the condition. Many patients have succumbed to the disease due to the fact that there have been poor followed up after medication to ensure that the disease is completely cleared.

At the same time the recommendation by the centre for disease and prevention option control to immunize people over the age of 6 every year, has not been put into practice. Thus putting into practice the recommendation will definitely lead to a decline in the number of deaths from the disease.


Jamshed, Namirah et al. “Pneumonia in the Long-Term Resident.” Clinics in Geriatric Medicine 2011: 117–133. Web.

Kieninger, Alicia N, and Pamela A Lipsett. “Hospital-Acquired Pneumonia: Pathophysiology, Diagnosis, and Treatment.” The Surgical clinics of North America 89 (2009): 439–461, ix. Web.

Ruuskanen, Olli et al. “Viral Pneumonia.” The Lancet 377 (2011): 1264–1275. Web.

Schulze, Heidi M, and Louisa J Rahilly. “Aspiration Pneumonia in Dogs: Pathophysiology, Prevention, and Diagnosis.” Compendium (Yardley, PA) 34 (2012): E5. Web.

Wootton, Daniel G., Stephen J. Aston, and Stephen B. Gordon. “The Pathophysiology of Pneumococcal Pneumonia.” European Respiratory Monograph 63 (2014): 42–63. Web.

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