Pneumonia is a disease that mostly affects the lung tissue and bronchioles. It mostly manifests with symptoms like, persistent cough and shortness of breath among others. Pneumonia is in most cases difficult to diagnose because many people often think is a simple illness like cough or flu. Many therefore, in most cases do not seek medical attention till the disease has progressed. At this stage, in many cases complete recovery is very rare.
However, it has been established that Pneumonia can be treated by use of antibiotics and steroid therapy. It is also important to note that many patients who have recovered as a result of steroid treatment have relapsed after discontinuing treatment. It is therefore important for diagnosis to be made in the early stages of the disease. This can only be achieved with constant medical examination.
Research has established that there are four major stages of Pneumonia and these include the following:
The very first of the stages of Pneumonia is the accumulation of bacteria in the body. The amount of bacteria in the body will increase as the infection grows. This is known as the congestion stage because there is vascular congestion caused by proteinaceous fluid and a lot of bacteria in the air sacs.
The second of the stages of Pneumonia is the red hepatization stage which occurs as a result of the accumulated bacteria in the first stage. At this stage, the spaces or alveoli in the lungs start to get blocked by blood. In other words, they start to get inflamed as they fill up with blood and other fluid. Eventually, the inflammation will start to show on the surface of the lungs. This stage is called hepatization because at this stage, the lungs begin to look like the liver. They acquire a sickening solidification look.
The third of the stages of Pneumonia is also referred to as the gray hepatization stage where the red blood cells begin to split. At this stage, the fluid or blood in the lungs is broken down by enzymes. At this stage, pus may also begin to develop.
Eventually, after the above stages of Pneumonia coughing will start. This is the fourth stage of the stages of Pneumonia and it is also referred to as the resolution stage. The coughing is the body’s mechanism of trying to clear fluid from the lungs. This is because the fluid makes it difficult to breathe. Coughing is therefore a reflex action to clear the fluid and make breathing much easier.
It is important to note that the difficulty in breathing is caused by the fluid in the lungs because, when fluid fills up the lungs, there is little space left for oxygen. This, then, leads to difficulty in the transportation of oxygenated blood to all the major parts of the body. The fluid therefore fills up all the space that would have occupied by oxygen thus making it almost impossible to breathe properly.
From the above, it is noted that there are four recognized stages of Pneumonia these are the congestion stage, the red hepatization stage, the grey hepatization stage and the resolution stage.