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You are here : 3-RX.com > Medical Encyclopedia > Diseases and Conditions > Pneumonia
      Category : Health Centers > Respiratory System (Lungs and Breathing)


Overview, Causes, & Risk Factors | Symptoms & Signs | Diagnosis & Tests | Prevention & Expectations | Treatment & Monitoring

Pneumonia is an infection of the lungs that can be caused by many different microorganisms. These include viruses, bacteria, parasites, and fungi.

What is going on in the body?

Pneumonia occurs when an infectious organism causes inflammation in the lungs. The air sacs fill with liquid and mucus. This means they can't deliver oxygen as well to the blood vessels.

What are the causes and risks of the infection?

Pneumonia is a fairly common infection that affects people of all ages. Some of its more common causes are as follows:

  • bacteria, such as Streptococcus pneumoniae, Staphylococcus aureus, and Haemophilus influenzae
  • fungi, such as the organism that causes aspergillosis
  • organisms similar to bacteria, such as the ones that cause tuberculosis and chlamydia
  • parasites, such as Pneumocystis carinii, which is often seen in people with AIDS
  • viruses, such as the ones that cause colds, flu, and RSV infection
  • The following factors can increase a person's risk of developing severe pneumonia:

  • alcohol abuse
  • chronic disease, such as diabetes or heart disease
  • chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, such as emphysema
  • old age
  • pregnancy
  • recent surgery
  • smoking
  • a weakened immune system


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    Pneumonia: Symptoms & Signs

    Author: Danielle Zerr, MD
    Reviewer: Kathleen A. MacNaughton, RN, BSN
    Date Reviewed: 10/21/02

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