Pneumonia is an inflammation of the lung caused by infection with bacteria, viruses, and other organisms. Pneumonia is usually triggered when a patient’s defense system is weakened, most often by a simple viral upper respiratory tract infection or a case of influenza. Such infections or other triggers do not cause pneumonia directly but they alter the mucous blanket, thus encouraging bacterial growth. Other factors can also make specific people susceptible to bacterial growth and pneumonia.
PNEUMONIA – CAUSE
- Bacteria are the most common causes of pneumonia, but these infections can also be caused by other microbial organisms. It is often impossible to identify the specific culprit.
- The most common cause of pneumonia is the gram-positive bacterium Streptococcus pneumoniae (also called S. pneumoniae or pneumococcal pneumonia ). The most common gram-negative species causing pneumonia is Haemophilus influenzae (generally occurring in patients with chronic lung disease, older patients, and alcoholics).
- Atypical pneumonias are generally caused by tiny nonbacterial organisms called Mycoplasma or Chlamydia pneumoniae and produce mild symptoms with a dry cough.
- Viruses that can cause or lead to pneumonia include influenza, respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), herpes simplex virus, varicella-zoster (the cause of chickenpox), and adenovirus.
PNEUMONIA – Symptoms
- The symptoms of bacterial pneumonia develop abruptly and may include chest pain, fever, shaking, chills, shortness of breath, and rapid breathing and heart beat.
- Symptoms of pneumonia indicating a medical emergency include high fever, a rapid heart rate, low blood pressure, bluish-skin, and mental confusion.
- Coughing up sputum containing pus or blood is an indication of serious infection.
- Severe abdominal pain may accompany pneumonia occurring in the lower lobes of the lung.
- In advanced cases, the patient’s skin may become bluish (cyanotic), breathing may become labored and heavy, and the patient may become confused.
- It is important to note that older people may have fewer or different symptoms than younger people have. An elderly person who experiences even a minor cough and weakness for more than a day should seek medical help. Some may exhibit confusion, lethargy, and general deterioration.
Symptoms of Pneumonia Causes by Anaerobic Bacteria
- People with pneumonia caused by anaerobic bacteria such as Bacteroides, which can produce abscesses, often have prolonged fever and productive cough, frequently showing blood in the sputum, which indicates necrosis (tissue death) in the lung. About a third of these patients experience weight loss.
Symptoms of Atypical Pneumonia
- Atypical nonbacterial pneumonia is most commonly caused by Mycoplasma and usually appears in children and young adults.
- Symptoms progress gradually, often beginning with general flu-like symptoms, such as fatigue, fever, weakness, headache, nasal discharge, sore throat, ear ache, and stomach and intestinal distress.
- Vague pain under and around the breast bone may occur, but the severe chest pain associated with typical bacterial pneumonia is uncommon.
Diagnosis of Pneumonia
- Clinical features
- Chest X-ray
- Smear and culture of sputum
Conventional Treatment of Pneumonia
- Antipyretic for fever and painkiller for discomfort, such as aspirin, ibuprofen.
Complications of Pneumonia
Complications with pneumonia include
- Pleural effusion– Accumulation of fluid in the space between the lung and its covering membrane.
- Empyma – Accumulation of fluid in the space between the lung and its covering membrane.
- Lung abcess – Accumulation of pus in the lung.
- Secondary infection – Infection of other system of body due to low immunity.
- Bacteria in the bloodstream (bacteremia) or throughout the body (septicemia).
Homeopathy Treatment & Homeopathic Remedies for PNEUMONIA
Homeopathy is one of the most popular holistic systems of medicine. The selection of remedy is based upon the theory of individualization and symptoms similarity by using holistic approach. This is the only way through which a state of complete health can be regained by removing all the sign and symptoms from which the patient is suffering. The aim of homeopathy is not only to treat pneumonia but to address its underlying cause and individual susceptibility. As far as therapeutic medication is concerned, several remedies are available to treat pneumonia that can be selected on the basis of cause, sensations and modalities of the complaints. For individualized remedy selection and treatment, the patient should consult a qualified homeopathic doctor in person. There are following remedies which are helpful in the treatment of pneumonia:
- Ferrum phosphoricum
- Veratrum viride
- Kali muriaticum
- Antimonium tartaricum
- Hepar sulph
- Carbo animalis
- Blatta orientalis
- It is the remedy of remedies in the first stage of pneumonia,because it corresponds more closely to the symptoms usually found in that stage.
- It should not, however, be used in this or any disease in the first or any stage unless the symptoms call for it.
- The symptoms are these: High fever preceded by a distinct chill; the pulse is full, hard and tense. A history of exposure may also be taken into consideration; dry, cold winds.
- The skin is hot and dry, without moisture upon it.
- There is a hard, dry, teasing and painful cough; there may be some expectoration present, if so it is watery, serous and frothy, may be blood tinged, but not thick. Thick expectoration indicates that exudation is commencing, and then Aconite is no longer the remedy.
- With these symptoms there is great restlessness, tossing about, anxiety and perhaps fear of death.
- A great indication for Aconite in pulmonary congestions is suddenness of onset.
- This, like Aconite, is a remedy for the first stage before exudation takes place, and, like Aconite, if there be any expectoration it is thin, watery and blood streaked.
- It is a useful remedy for violent congestions of the lungs, whether appearing at the onset of the diseases or during its course, which would show that the inflammatory action was extending; it thus corresponds to what are termed secondary pneumonias, especially in the aged and debilitated.
- There is high fever, oppressed and hurried breathing, and bloody expectoration.
- Very little thirst; there are extensive rales, and perhaps less of that extreme restlessness and anxiety that characterizes Aconite.
- This remedy is one both for the first and second stage of pneumonia, especially when cough is marked.
- It has high fever and restlessness like aconite.
- There is lot of cough and great difficulty in breathing, as if the chest would not expand.
- The sputum is blood streaked.
- In violent congestions about the chest preceding pneumonia Veratrum viride may be the remedy.
- It is useful in the beginning of the disease, and especially where there is great dyspnoea, chest oppression and stomach symptoms of nausea and vomiting.
- There is high fever, pulse is full, hard and rapid, and the tongue has a red streak down the center; is a characteristic keynote of the drug.
- The air cells at the bottom of the lobes are filling up with frothy mucus.
- The pulse will indicate, it being full and hard. Hard, quick and small indicates Aconite.
- Remedy for pneumonia; it furnishes a better pathological picture of the disease than any other, and it comes in after Aconite, Ferrum phosphoricum and Veratrum viride.
- The fever continues, but the skin is not as hot and the patient not as restless as in Aconite.
- The cough of Bryonia is looser and more moist than that of Aconite, and there are usually sharp stitching pleuritic pains,the cough of Bryonia is also hard and dry at times and the sputum is scanty and rust colored, so typical of pneumonia.
- There may be circumscribed redness of the cheeks, slight delirium and apathy; the tongue will most likely be dry, the patient will want to keep perfectly quiet.
- It is a right-sided remedy and attacks the parenchyma of the lung, and is perhaps more strongly indicated in the croup form of pneumonia.
- The patient dreads to cough and holds his breath to prevent it on account of the pain it causes; it seems as though the chest walls would fly to pieces.
- The pains in the chest, besides being worse by motion and breathing, are relieved by lying on the right or painful side.
- Coughs which hurt distant parts of the body call for Bryonia.
- When bronchial symptoms are present it is the remedy.
- There is cough with pain under sternum, as if something were torn loose.
- There is pressure across the upper part of the chest and constriction of the larynx.
- There are mucous rales, labored breathing, sputa yellowish mucus, with blood streaks therein, or rustcolored, as under Bryonia.
- When typhoid symptoms occur in the course of pneumonia then Phosphorus will come in beautifully.
- There is also a sensation as if the chest were full of blood, which causes an oppression of breathing, a symptom met with commonly enough in pneumonia.
- Hughes maintains that Phosphorus should be given in preference to almost any medicine in acute chest affections in young children.
- Lilienthal says Phosphorus is our great tonic to the heart and lungs.
- When Sanguinaria is indicated in pneumonia there will be fever, burning and fullness in the upper chest, a dry cough.
- sharp, sticking pains more on the right side, dyspnoea, and the expectoration is rust-colored.
- It has circumscribed redness and burning heat of the cheeks, especially in the afternoon.
- The hands and feet are either very hot or very cold, the heart is weak and irregular, there is great engorgement of the lungs and the congestion is very intense, here resembling Veratrum viride.
- Sanguinaria has imperfect resolution and purulent expectoration, as in Sulphur but it is more offensive,even becoming so to the patient himself.
- Antimonium tartaricum there is great oppression of breathing, worse towards morning, compelling the patient to sit up to breath.
- There are also sharp, stitching pains and high fever, as under Bryonia.
- There is one peculiar symptom, the patient feels sure that the next cough will raise the mucus, but it does not.
- When there is deficient reaction, as in the aged or in very young children, this remedy is particularly indicated.
- Is, perhaps, more similar to Bryonia than any drug in the symptom of sharp, stitching pains in the chest.
- These are worse by motion, but, unlike Bryonia they come whether the patient moves or not, and are more in the lower part of the right lung.
- In pneumonia with intense dyspnoea and a great deal of mucus on the chest.
- Patient wake up with difficulty, wheezing and whistling breathing, Kali carbonicum is the remedy.
- Kali bichromicum may be indicated by its well-known tough, stringy expectoration.
- Is a remedy to be used in any stage of pneumonia.
- It will prevent, if given in the beginning, if the symptoms indicate it. It will prevent hepatization and cause imperfect and slow resolution to react. When the case has a typhoid tendency and the lung and the lung tends to break down, where there are rales,
- Muco-purulent expectoration slow speech, dry tongue, sulphur is the remedy.
- Weakness and faintness are characteristic symptoms.
- Dyspnoea occurring at night between 12 and 2 causing the patient to sit up in bed is a valuable symptom.
- There is tightness across the chest, aching over lungs, general weakness.