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Pneumonia

Related Terms

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Background

  • Pneumonia is an infection of one or both lungs that is usually caused by bacteria, viruses, or fungi. Pneumonia can also be caused by the inhalation of food, liquid, gases, or dust. Approximately 50% of pneumonia cases are believed to be caused by viruses and tend to result in less severe illness than bacteria-caused pneumonia. Most pneumonia in the very young is caused by viral infection, including respiratory syncytial virus (RSV). The symptoms of viral pneumonia are similar to influenza symptoms and include fever, dry cough, headache, muscle pain, weakness, and increasing breathlessness.
  • More than a million people in the United States are hospitalized each year for pneumonia, making it the third most frequent reason for hospitalizations (after births and heart disease). Although the majority of pneumonias respond well to treatment, the infection can still be a very serious problem. Pneumonia kills between 40,000 and 70,000 individuals in the United States each year.
  • Pneumonia is spread by close person-to-person contact, usually when an infected person coughs or sneezes on another person.
  • Individuals considered at high risk for pneumonia include the elderly, infants, and those with underlying health problems, such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), diabetes mellitus, congestive heart failure (CHF), and sickle cell anemia. Other conditions that may increase an individual's chance of developing pneumonia include impairment of the immune system, such as found in acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS), or those undergoing cancer therapy or organ transplantation.
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Types and Causes of Pneumonia

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Signs and Symptoms

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Complications

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Diagnosis

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Treatment

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Integrative Therapies

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Prevention

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Author Information

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References

Natural Standard developed the above evidence-based information based on a thorough systematic review of the available scientific articles. For comprehensive information about alternative and complementary therapies on the professional level, go to www.naturalstandard.com. Selected references are listed below.

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The information in this monograph is intended for informational purposes only, and is meant to help users better understand health concerns. Information is based on review of scientific research data, historical practice patterns, and clinical experience. This information should not be interpreted as specific medical advice. Users should consult with a qualified healthcare provider for specific questions regarding therapies, diagnosis and/or health conditions, prior to making therapeutic decisions.