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Aspiration Pneumonia - Part 1

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Unlike viral and/or bacterial pneumonia, aspiration pneumonia is a lung infection that starts with the inhalation/aspiration of oropharyngeal, gastric contents or foreign particles into the lower airway passages. The taking-in of the foreign particles may occur via the mouth, when partially digested contents of the stomach, tiny food particles from the mouth, mouth secretions dribble into the lower air ducts.

Once they reach the lungs, an infection slowly develops at the place where the foreign particles have lodged themselves.

Aspiration pneumonia is also known as anaerobic pneumonia or necrotizing pneumonia or chemical pneumonia. As per an article entitled Aspiration Pneumotitis and Aspiration Pneumonia by Paul E. Marik M.B, B.Ch in a publication by Stanford University Libraries (Source: N Engl J Med, Vol. 344, No. 9 • March 1, 2001. URL: http://scalpel.stanford.edu/articles/aspiration--NEJM.pdf), “Indeed, Haemophilus influenzae, Staphylococcus aureus and Streptococcus pneumoniae colonize the nasopharynx or oropharynx before they are aspirated and cause community- acquired pneumonia. The term “aspiration pneumonia,” however, refers specifically to the development of a radiographically evident infiltrate in patients who are at increased risk for oropharyngeal aspiration.”

Other pathogens are also equally culpable in causing aspiration pneumonia. They are Strptococcus milleri, oral anaerobes, non-oral anaerobes like fusobacterium, peptostreptococcus, enterobaccteria like E Coli and pseudomonas aeruginosa etc.

Symptoms of Aspiration Pneumonia are fairly similar to those of Pneumotitis or Acquired-Pneumonia such as those of high fever, tachycardia (a state of rapid heart rate), altered mental state, tachypnea (a state of rapid shallow breathing), railing, hypoxemia (condition of reduced oxygen level in the blood that results in bluish discoloration of the skin), pleural friction rub and in severe cases septic shock and hipoxia (pathological condition where the body tissues are deprived of adequate oxygen) etc.

It is critical that you contact the doctor on emergency if you note any of the above-mentioned symptoms or those of cough with foul-smelling sputum or phlegm containing pus or blood spots, chest pain, fatigue, difficulties in swallowing, excessive sweating, wheezing etc.

The Causes for Aspiration Pneumonia may be physical, chemical or even
Physical causes such as a trauma involving the head/cranium of a person, intracranial lesion (or tumours/lesions inside the head), cerebrovascular accident/stroke (CVA or a sudden loss of consciousness resulting when the rupture of a blood vessel leads to lack of oxygen in the brain), reduced or altered gag reflex in such people who are not alert, dental problems, swallowing disorders are among the most common causes of aspiration pneumonia.

Chemical causes include alcohol abuse, drug overdose, usage of anaesthesia, certain medications such as sedatives etc

Some other causes could be old age, abnormalities of epiglottis such as structural constriction, erring immune mechanism etc.

Mamta Singh is a published author (Migraines for the Informed Woman – Tips from a Sufferer. Publisher: Rupa & Co.), seasoned business, creative and academic writer. She is a certified fitness instructor, personal trainer & sports nutritionist through IFA, Florida USA. She is the lead writer and holds Expert Author status in many well-received health, fitness and nutrition sites. Mamta runs her own popular blogs on migraines in women and holistic health. Mamta holds a double Master's Degree in Commerce and Business, and is presently training as a Holistic Healing Therapist from the U.K. She is a registered practitioner with the UN recognised Art of Living Foundation.
Link: http://www.migrainingjenny.wordpress.com and http://www.footstrike.wordpress.com

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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.

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