Bronchopneumonia: Symptoms, Causes, Treatment, and Prevention

Bronchopneumonia is a disease that is still a type of pneumonia, which is a condition that causes pneumonia. Symptoms include coughing, difficulty breathing, and fever. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Centers for Disease Control and Prevention based in the United States, pneumonia causes around 51,811 deaths each year in the US. Check out the complete information below.

What is bronchopneumonia?

Bronchopneumonia is a form of pneumonia that causes inflammation in both the alveoli (small air sacs) in the lungs and the bronchi (lung airways). People with this disease may experience difficulty breathing because the respiratory tract narrows. And because of inflammation, the lungs may not get enough air.

Symptoms of bronchopneumonia range from mild to severe. This condition is a type of pneumonia that is more common in children and the main cause of death due to infection under the age of 5 years. Symptoms, causes, complications, diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of bronchopneumonia are usually the same as pneumonia.

Signs and Symptoms of Bronchopneumonia

Symptoms of this disease vary in each person, depending on the severity of the condition. Symptoms are more likely to be severe in people who have a weaker immune system, such as young children, the elderly, people who have certain medical conditions, or are taking certain medications.

Symptoms of bronchopneumonia in general include:

  • Fever
  • Hard to breathe
  • Chest pain that may worsen with coughing or deep breathing
  • Cough with phlegm
  • Sweating
  • Shivering
  • Headache
  • Dizzy
  • Muscle ache
  • Fatigue
  • Loss of appetite
  • Confusion or disorientation, especially of the elderly
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Bleeding cough

Causes of bronchopneumonia

The most common causes of bronchopneumonia are bacterial infections of the lungs, such as Streptococcus pneumoniae and Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib). Viral and fungal infections in the lungs can also cause pneumonia.

Harmful germs can enter the bronchi and alveoli and can even multiply. The immune system that produces white blood cells can attack these germs, which cause inflammation. Symptoms often arise from this disease.

Risk Factors for Bronchopneumonia

Here are a number of factors that can increase the risk of bronchopneumonia:

  • Infants under 2 years old
  • People over 65 years old
  • Smoking or drinking excessive alcohol
  • Recent respiratory infections, such as colds and flu
  • Long-term lung diseases, such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), cystic fibrosis, bronchiectasis, and asthma
  • Conditions that weaken the immune system, such as HIV or certain autoimmune disorders
  • Other health conditions, such as diabetes, heart failure, liver disease
  • Take medications to suppress the immune system, such as chemotherapy, organ transplants, or long-term use of steroids
  • Recent surgery or trauma

Also Read: Pneumonia: Causes, Symptoms, Diagnosis and Treatment

Diagnosis of bronchopneumonia

In order to diagnose bronchopneumonia, initially the doctor will perform a physical examination and find out the patient’s medical history. Respiratory problems, such as wheezing, are a typical indication of this disease. But this disease can cause symptoms similar to a cold or flu, which sometimes makes diagnosis difficult.

If the doctor suspects bronchopneumonia in the patient, the doctor can do one or several of the following tests:

  • Chest radiograph or CT scan. This imaging test allows the doctor to see the inside of the lungs and check for signs of infection.
  • Blood test. This test can help detect signs of infection, such as an abnormal white blood cell count.
  • Bronchoscopy. Test by inserting a device called a bronchoscope through the throat and into the lungs. This procedure allows the doctor to see the inside of the lungs.
  • Sputum culture. This is a laboratory test that can detect infection from phlegm from a spark of a coughing patient.
  • Pulse oximetry. This is a test used to calculate the amount of oxygen flowing through the bloodstream.
  • Blood gas analysis. Bag for determining oxygen levels in the patient’s blood.

Complications of bronchopneumonia

Complications of bronchopneumonia can occur depending on what is causing the infection. General complications include:

  • Bloodstream infection or sepsis
  • Fluid buildup around the lungs (pleural effusion)
  • Lung abscess
  • Respiratory failure
  • Kidney failure
  • Heart conditions such as heart failure, heart attacks, and irregular heart rhythms

Treatment of bronchopneumonia

Treatment for bronchopneumonia includes home care and medical treatment based on a doctor’s prescription, including the following:

1. Home Care

Bronchopneumonia is a disease that usually does not require medical treatment unless the condition is severe. This disease will usually improve by itself within two weeks. The bacterial or fungal cause of bronchopneumonia may require treatment.

2. Medical Care

If bacteria is the cause of pneumonia, your doctor will prescribe antibiotics. Most people start feeling better within three to five days after using antibiotics.

It is important for patients to complete all antibiotic use to prevent re-infection and ensure that it heals completely.

In cases of viral infections such as influenza, your doctor may be able to prescribe antivirals to help reduce the duration of disease conditions and the severity of bronchopneumonia symptoms.

3. Hospital treatment

Patients with bronchopneumonia may need to be hospitalized if the infection is severe and the patient meets one of the following criteria:

  • Above 65 years old
  • Chest pain
  • Having difficulty breathing
  • Breathe fast
  • Have low blood pressure
  • Showing signs of confusion
  • Needs respiratory support
  • Have chronic lung disease

Hospitalization may include antibiotics and intravenous (IV) fluids. If blood oxygen levels are low, patients may receive oxygen therapy.

Prevention of bronchopneumonia

Getting a vaccine can prevent some form of bronchopneumonia. The American Lung Association (ALA) recommends that children under 5 years old and people over 65 years should see a doctor to get vaccinated against pneumococcal pneumonia, which is caused by bacteria.

ALA also suggests the following steps:

  • Get vaccinated against other diseases that can cause pneumonia, such as flu, chicken pox, measles, Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib), or pertussis.
  • Consult a doctor about how to prevent pneumonia and other infections when the patient has cancer or HIV
  • Wash your hands regularly to avoid germs
  • Don’t smoke because tobacco products damage the capacity of the lungs to fight infection
  • Understanding and recognizing the symptoms of pneumonia

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