What is pneumonia and how do you get it?

Pneumonia is an acute inflammatory process of the pulmonary parenchyma of infectious origin and when it affects the population not admitted to a hospital it is called Community Acquired Pneumonia. It is not a single process but a group of infections caused by different microorganisms and affecting different groups of people.

The microorganisms are transmitted by different routes:

  • Microaspiration of oropharyngeal secretions.
  • Inhalation of contaminated aerosols, via the bloodstream or by contiguity.

In any case it coincides with a decrease of our defenses or with a massive influx of germs that exceed our capacity of neutralization.

Which people are most at risk?

Although there is no pre-established pattern that is exclusive to condition the risk, the studies carried out advocate:

  • Older than 65
  • Immunosuppressed
  • COPD
  • Diabetes
  • Renal Insufficiency
  • Hepatopathies
  • Ethylism
  • Institutionalized persons
  • Tumors
  • Use of inhalers
  • Smoking

Although these would not be all the causes if they are at least the most probable ones, it is important to remember that there is no unequivocal rule to establish the risk categories.

In which cases could it be fatal?

Although we have already established guidelines for the possible incidence of pneumonia in different population groups, a series of risk factors have been identified that increase the chances of death or complicate the course of the disease.

We must keep in mind that these factors are not sufficiently sensitive or specific to predict outcomes. However, multivariate models known as prognostic indices or scales are used to facilitate decision making, such as the FINE SCALE or the CURB SCALE, but always bearing in mind that neither allows absolute categorization of risk groups. Clinical judgment should always prevail over them.