Inflammation of the lungs is one of the most common respiratory ailments. The incidence of them in Russia reaches 15%. It has an infectious nature, most often the causative agents are staphylococcus aureus, mycoplasma and hemophilus influenzae. Atypical pneumonia is a predominantly community-acquired disease caused by uncharacteristic pathogens. This term entered medicine in the 30s of the last century. The clinical course of the disease differs from the usual one – secondary symptoms come to the fore, so the diagnosis of the disease can be difficult.

Reasons for development

The main pathogens of the inflammatory process in the lungs in an atypical form are the following pathogenic microorganisms:

  • Chlamydia pneumonia. The most common patient groups are young children and the elderly.
  • Legionella. It is considered one of the most severe types of ailment. The most common patient groups are middle-aged and elderly adults who work or are often in an air-conditioned room. The disease can cause respiratory distress and death of the patient.
  • Mycoplasma pneumonia. This ailment often affects young children, and is easier than other types of the disease.
  • Coronaviruses. They affect the epithelial cells of the alveoli and cause the development of a severe acute respiratory syndrome, which is often fatal.
  • Coxiella. They cause coxiellosis, which is classified as a subspecies of atypical pneumonia. Transmitted to humans from livestock or insects.

Young children and the elderly are most susceptible to the disease. Lowered immunity is a factor in its development. The body’s resistance to pathogens decreases with frequent infectious respiratory ailments or chronic inflammation in the organs adjacent to the lungs.

Hypothermia, smoking or systematic consumption of alcoholic beverages provoke the development of the disease. Hormonal imbalance in diabetes mellitus and thyroid dysfunction also acts as an indirect factor in the development of the disease.

The main signs

The symptoms of SARS are different from those usually associated with pneumonia. Signs of intoxication come to the fore. The clinical picture of the disease:

  • headache;
  • soreness, muscle aches;
  • unproductive cough;
  • profuse sweating;
  • weakness, malaise;
  • perspiration, sore throat;
  • dyspnea.

The legionella type of the disease is characterized by the appearance of severe diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, and confusion. The cough with this type of ailment is intense, dry, later turning into wet with the discharge of mucous or purulent secretions. Often, the atypical form of the disease is not accompanied by an increase in body temperature, but the disease caused by Legionella sometimes causes severe fever (up to 40 ° C).

Chlamydia pneumonia may not manifest itself in any way for a long period of time. With the onset of the inflammatory process, a runny nose and sore throat appear, with the further development of the disease, the temperature rises, shortness of breath occurs and lymph nodes increase. The ailment caused by mycoplasma is accompanied by a prolonged paroxysmal cough.

Diagnostic procedures

Diagnosis of the disease begins with the collection of anamnesis. The doctor is interested in information about recent contacts with sick people and past illnesses. To identify the pathogen-causative agent, sputum culture is carried out on the microflora with the determination of sensitivity to antibiotics. Deviations in clinical and biochemical blood tests (increased erythrocyte sedimentation rate, mild leukocytosis with a shift in the formula, lymphocytosis) indicate the presence of an inflammatory process.

X-ray is a necessary point in the diagnosis of the disease. The ailment is indicated by the darkening of the areas of the pulmonary field, the strengthening of the vascular pattern, the expansion of the root of the lung. A computed tomogram is an improved X-ray diagnostic method that allows you to get more detailed information about the state of the respiratory system. It is prescribed in cases where the results of radiography are ambiguous and require clarification.

Magnetic resonance imaging is a modern and accurate way to diagnose the disease. This method helps to identify inflammatory changes in organ structures, focal formations. Bronchoscopy allows you to examine the lungs from the inside and, if necessary, take tissue for examination. The procedure is performed using a flexible tube equipped with an illuminator and an optical system.

Therapy methods

The main principle of therapy for the disease is the fight against the pathogen. Taking into account the etiology of the disease, antibacterial or antiviral drugs are used for this. Antibiotics are selected taking into account the result of a sputum test to identify a pathogen with a determination of sensitivity to medications. Medicines of tetracycline, penicillin, fluoroquinolone or macrolide groups are used (Azithromycin, Tetracycline, Doxycycline, Levofloxacin, Erythromycin). The latter can be used for pregnant women and children.

If the disease is caused by viruses, drugs with antiviral activity are used – Ribavirin, Relenza, Tamiflu. The medication, dosage and duration of treatment are selected by the doctor, taking into account the characteristics of the disease and the patient’s condition. The duration of therapy varies from 1 to 2 weeks.

For symptomatic treatment of the disease, use:

  • antipyretic drugs;
  • means with expectorant and mucolytic actions (to improve mucus discharge);
  • bronchodilators to relieve bronchospasm;
  • anti-inflammatory medicines (steroid and non-steroidal drugs);
  • physiotherapy (inhalation, magnetic and laser therapy, electrophoresis, massage);
  • immunomodulators.

Depending on the severity of the disease, its treatment can be carried out both in a hospital and at home. The patient is shown bed rest. The room must be regularly ventilated, the air must be humidified. At home, folk remedies can be used to treat the disease, but this does not cancel the intake of medications prescribed by the doctor. Products that increase immunity help to cope with the disease – honey, raspberries, rose hips, garlic, onions. The drinking regimen provides for drinking 2 liters of water per day.

Preventive measures

In order not to get infected during periods of difficult epidemiological conditions, it is necessary to limit contacts, wear a gauze bandage, and, if possible, avoid crowded places. Upon arrival home, you need to rinse the nasal cavity and wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water. If one of the family members is contagious, prevention consists in isolating the patient and using personal accessories (dishes, linen, towels), which must be disinfected by boiling or using chlorine-containing products.

Compliance with the following recommendations contributes to the strengthening of immunity: proper nutrition with a high content of fruits and vegetables, vitamin prophylaxis, regular moderate physical activity, walks in the fresh air. Clothing should be selected according to the weather in order to prevent hypothermia of the body.

Possible complications

Against the background of the disease, complications such as the appearance of purulent-necrotic cavities in the lungs can develop. They tend to break through, while the replacement of normal lung tissue with fibrous tissue occurs with the formation of scars, which negatively affects the functioning of the organ. If the inflammatory process has affected the pleura (serous membrane), pleurisy develops, including purulent.

Lung gangrene

A complication of the disease can be gangrene of the lung, when, under the influence of a pathological process, the tissue of the organ dies. A dangerous condition that leads to death in 40% of cases is acute respiratory failure. With this ailment, the airways lose their ability to maintain gas exchange.

If the diagnosis and treatment of the disease is not carried out in time, the inflammatory process from the lungs can spread further and cause dangerous consequences. Extrapulmonary complications of the disease: damage to the heart muscle, central nervous system (inflammation of the spinal cord and brain, its membranes), anemia, psychosis.

Atypical pneumonia is an ailment, the clinical picture of which is atypical. The disease is more difficult to diagnose. It can cause life-threatening and health-threatening consequences, so it must be identified and treated in a timely manner. Therapy of the disease is carried out using antibacterial and antiviral agents, taking into account the type of pathogen of the disease.

event_note November 11, 2021

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