Pneumonia is an infection in your lungs caused by bacteria, viruses, or fungi leading your lungs to swell. Pneumonia can occur in one or both lungs and is an acute respiratory issue. There are several types of pneumonia; however, there is bacterial pneumonia.

Lungs are filled with air when you breathe; however, if you have pneumonia, your lungs will be filled with pus and fluid, obstructing the oxygen level and making breathing painful.

The signs and symptoms of pneumonia can vary from mild to severe depending on the cause, overall health, and age.  It is often difficult to conclude that it is pneumonia, as the symptoms can be mild, like a cold, cough, or the common flu. However, they may last longer. The common symptoms of pneumonia are highlighted below:

  • Pain in the chest while breathing
  • Coughing too frequently
  • Cough, producing phlegm
  • Fatigue and fever
  • Nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea
  • Shortness of breath

What are the causes of pneumonia?

The significant causes of pneumonia are highlighted below:

Bacterial Pneumonia

This is caused byStreptococcus bacteria and happens when the body is immune compromised by factors such as prior illness, poor nutrition, old age, or impaired, thereby leading the bacteria to move into our lungs. People who smoke cigarettes, have respiratory disorders, and consume alcohol are at an increased risk of bacterial pneumonia.

Viral Pneumonia

The influenza flu causes this type of pneumonia. It contributes to one-third of pneumonia cases, and viral pneumonia also increases the chances of bacterial pneumonia.

This type is caused by various viruses, including the flu (influenza), which is responsible for one-third of all pneumonia cases. You may be more likely to get bacterial pneumonia if you have viral pneumonia.

Mycoplasma Pneumonia

It is a common and mild pneumonia caused by the bacteria Mycoplasma pneumonia affecting people of all age groups.

Aspiration Pneumonia

This happens when solid food, liquids, and vomit go down in your windpipe and then you’re your lungs. In cases when these things can’t be coughed out, there is a higher chance of getting a lung infection.


When your immune system is attacked by various bacteria and viruses, leading to infection and swelling in the tiny sacs of the lungs, you can develop Pneumonia. Common diseases through which these bacteria and viruses affect your lungs, as mentioned below: 

  • Common Cold
  • COVID-19
  • Influenza Virus
  • HPIV
  • Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV)

What are the complications of pneumonia?

Pneumonia, if diagnosed early, is easily treatable, and most people respond to the treatment exceptionally well. However, pneumonia can get complicated and may become life-threatening, and for older people or with weak immune systems, complications may vary and are inclusive of:  

  • Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome – This is classified as a severe form of pneumonia, which can lead to respiratory failure
  • Lung Abscesses- This is a type of puss that can be formed inside the lungs leading to immediate surgery to remove the puss
  • Respiratory Failure- It can lead to a ventilator or a lung breathing machine to breathe  
  • Sepsis- This is when the infection gets into the blood, leading to organ failure

When to visit the doctor?

If you have chest pain, too much cough, a change in color of cough, or any other symptom, it may indicate that you have pneumonia, and it is essential to visit your healthcare professional, who can be a General Physician or a pulmonologist.  To diagnose pneumonia, your healthcare provider will ask you to conduct a physical exam to understand the cause and to look at how deep the infection is. You may have to undergo one or more tests, including a CT Scan, Blood test, Sputum test, Pleural fluid culture, Arterial blood gas test, and Bronchoscopy.

Disclaimer: This blog has been written after performing in-depth secondary research related to the topic from various articles, blogs, and journals with expertise in writing for healthcare. The content presented on this page should not be considered a substitute for medical expertise. If you have doubts about your lungs or pneumonia or have any pneumonia-related symptoms, we advise you not to self-medicate and to book an appointment with the doctor.


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