Although adults aged 65 and older are especially vulnerable to pneumonia, it affects people of all ages. As a specialist in pulmonary diseases, Walter J. Willoughby, Jr., MD, can quickly diagnose pneumonia and develop a customized treatment plan to heal your infection. Then you can count on his ongoing support as you continue to recover and regain optimal health. If you develop a mucus-producing cough or other symptoms, schedule an appointment online or call the office in Las Vegas.
Pneumonia is an infection that causes inflammation in the air sacs in one or both lungs. Air sacs normally transfer oxygen from the lungs into the body, while taking in carbon dioxide so it can be exhaled. When you have pneumonia, the air sacs become filled with fluid or pus, which blocks air flow and makes it hard to breathe.
There are more than 30 different causes of pneumonia, but they all belong in one of three groups:
Bacterial pneumonia is the most common type of pneumonia, and it’s most often caused by a bacterium called Streptococcus pneumoniae. In many cases, the bacterial infection takes hold because your body is weak due to illness, impaired immunity, poor nutrition, or older age.
A viral infection is responsible for about one-third of all pneumonia cases. The viruses responsible for flu are the most common causes of viral pneumonia, but numerous other viruses can lead to the problem.
Fungal pneumonia is more likely to affect patients with chronic health problems or weakened immune systems.
The symptoms caused by pneumonia range from mild to life-threatening, depending on your age, overall health, and the type of infection. When you have pneumonia, you’ll experience:
If you’re 65 or older, pneumonia may also cause other symptoms such as confusion and a drop in your body temperature.
It’s important to get early treatment from Dr. Willoughby because pneumonia can cause serious complications, especially if you’re 65 or older, have a respiratory disease like COPD, or you have a weakened immune system.
You may be able to prevent pneumonia by getting a vaccination that protects you from the Streptococcus pneumoniae bacterium. Dr. Willoughby will talk with you about whether you’re in a high-risk group that should get the vaccination.
Dr. Willoughby may prescribe antibiotics, antiviral drugs, or antifungal medications, depending on the underlying cause of your pneumonia. Many patients also need medications that target specific symptoms, such as cough medicine and fever reducers.
In most cases, pneumonia can be treated at home. However, if your symptoms are severe or you develop complications, you may need to be hospitalized.
If you develop a mucus-producing cough, call Walter J. Willoughby, Jr., MD, or book an appointment online.