Pneumonia is a respiratory condition caused by inflammation and infection of the lungs. The most common cause of pneumonia is bacterial infection, although it can also be caused by viral, fungal, or parasitic infections.
The pathophysiology of pneumonia involves the entry of microorganisms, such as bacteria or viruses, into the lung tissue. These microorganisms then infect the alveoli, the tiny air sacs in the lungs where gas exchange occurs. The immune system responds to the infection, causing inflammation and an influx of immune cells to the infected area.
As a result of the inflammation, the air sacs may fill with fluid, pus, and cellular debris, which interferes with the exchange of oxygen and carbon dioxide. This can lead to difficulty breathing, chest pain, coughing, and other symptoms associated with pneumonia.
If left untreated, pneumonia can lead to complications such as sepsis, respiratory failure, and even death. Treatment typically involves antibiotics for bacterial infections, antivirals for viral infections, and supportive care to manage symptoms and maintain adequate oxygenation.