Chronic pneumonia: symptoms and treatment

Chronic pneumonia is an inflammation of the lungs, as a result of the progression of which soft tissues of the organ are affected. It is just such a name, because the process is repeated constantly and is characterized by periods of exacerbations and deviations of symptoms.

This disease occurs due to untimely or incorrect treatment of pneumonia, which is why such an ailment as chronic pneumonia is most often observed in adults, due to improper therapy in childhood. But recently, there have been fewer cases of chronic incidence of the disease in children, similarly to cases of death from such a pathological condition.

The main causes that can lead to the progression of this illness are considered to be the abuse of nicotine, the trauma of the chest and the severe course of infectious or viral diseases, of which the disease is a complication. When patients are exacerbated, symptoms such as severe coughing, often with sputum, in which there may be pus, general weakness and fever, are often excruciated. But the combination of all signs and the course of the disease for each person will be held individually. There is a wide classification of chronic pneumonia, but one of the most common is the interstitial appearance of the disease.


As mentioned above, chronic pneumonia is the outcome of improper treatment of the acute or prolonged form of the disease, which is further promoted by abnormal therapies, early discharge and some attendant factors:

  • An unhealthy lifestyle in which a person is dependent on nicotine and alcohol
  • The age of the patient. Not completely cured disease takes on a chronic form in the elderly organism, which appears due to reduced immunity;
  • lack of vitamins and nutrients in the body.

In addition, for the occurrence of chronic pneumonia in children and adults, fertile soil is:

  1. Tuberculosis
  2. previous ARVI, influenza, chronic bronchitis
  3. untimely extraction of foreign bodies from the bronchi
  4. improper care of the child
  5. chronic diseases of the respiratory system
  6. long-term effects of low temperatures on the body
  7. consumption of alcoholic beverages in large quantities (in adults and adolescents)
  8. Complications after surgery and, as a consequence, prolonged stay in a lying position
  9. Nicotine abuse is the leading cause of interstitial pneumonia
  10. parasites or worms in the body can lead to the onset of chronic eosinophilic pneumonia
  11. nervous system disorders;
  12. the penetration of various bacteria or viruses into the body
  13. age group of patients. In older people, chronic pneumonia may become stagnant.


Classification of chronic pneumonia, depending on the causes or pathogens:

  • aspiration — develops due to ingress of foreign matter from the mouth, nose or stomach into the respiratory tract
  • Interstitial — occurs due to various causes, including viral infections and tobacco smoking. This type of illness is characterized by a severe and prolonged course;
  • bacterial — lung damage by various bacteria
  • Viral — the main viruses-pathogens are influenza, herpes. This kind of chronic pneumonia in children can occur because of the transmitted measles or chickenpox
  • abscessed — a complicated form of the disease, characterized by the formation of purulent cavities
  • Eosinophilic — characterized by a high number of eosinophils in the blood or in sputum-secreted sputum
  • fungal — based on the name, occurs due to infection of the body with fungal infections
  • hemorrhagic — there are impurities of blood and mucus in the sputum when coughing
  • Staphylococcal;
  • Pneumococcal
  • Chlamydia — can occur not only in adults, but also in infants who have not reached the age of one year, or be congenital
  • Streptococcal
  • Atypical — it combines several factors of origin, for example, a chronic infection, a bacterium and a virus. Mycoplasma pneumonia also belongs to this type.

Localization and spread of chronic pneumonia in the lungs:

  1. shared — infectious inflammation captures one or more parts of the organ and spreads to the pleura;
  2. Segmental — only a certain unit of the functional lobe of the lung becomes inflamed. This kind is most often observed in children
  3. Focal — inflammation is placed on small structural units of the lung
  4. Interstitial — affects the walls of the alveoli and connective tissue.

Depending on the severity of the course, chronic pneumonia in children and adults can be:

  • acute — contributes to the formation of complications
  • protracted — periods of exacerbation are quite long and are more than four weeks
  • stagnant — the cause of progress is stagnation in a small circle of circulation. There is such a breakdown due to irregularities in the functioning of the bronchi and the lungs.

In addition to the above division of the disease, there is a classification of chronic pneumonia in the place where the inflammation occurred:

  1. home or community-acquired infection occurred outside the clinical setting. In turn, it is divided into a typical one — the patient does not have immunity disorders, atypical — in which a person’s immunity is impaired due to the effect of AIDS or other immunodeficiency disorders. And also on aspiration — getting into the respiratory tract of foreign bodies, food particles or vomiting
  2. nosocomial — inflammation occurred a few days after a person entered the hospital (as a consequence of surgical operations or internal organ transplantation, or with artificial ventilation of the lungs).

In addition, there are several forms in which the disease can occur — initial, moderate and severe, but these degrees are determined by the doctor for each patient individually, based on the severity of the symptoms and the general condition of the patient.


Depending on the type of disease, there will be signs of its manifestation. Thus, aspiration pneumonia is accompanied by the following symptoms:

  • a violation of breathing — it becomes more frequent and deep
  • fast fatigue
  • A strong dry cough, which causes severe pain in the chest,
  • fever;
  • changing the heartbeat
  • Sputum production for cough

Shared pneumonia occurs unexpectedly and with a sharp manifestation of the following symptoms:

  1. severe chills;
  2. increase in body temperature;
  3. severe perspiration
  4. shortness of breath;
  5. feeling of pain while breathing
  6. cough with phlegm

For mycoplasmal (which very often occurs in children), pneumonia is characterized by:

  • dryness in the nose
  • cough, usually dry, preceded by a tickling in the throat;
  • headaches;
  • diarrhea;
  • malaise.

Symptoms of the segmental type of ailment can be:

  1. a sudden increase in temperature;
  2. heart palpitations
  3. sensation of body aches
  4. headaches;
  5. increased sweating
  6. a sharp decline in strength;
  7. muscle weakness;
  8. Seizures may occur in children

Interstitial pneumonia is accompanied by:

  • fever;
  • the acquisition of a bluish tint in the skin
  • a strong increase in body temperature;
  • cough with sputum discharge
  • decreased appetite
  • headaches;
  • irregularities in the heartbeat.

Bacterial pneumonia has such symptoms as:

  1. A strong cough with sputum separation, often with impurities of a purulent liquid and fetid odor
  2. Severe weakness and malaise
  3. shortness of breath;
  4. total refusal to eat food
  5. headaches;
  6. increase in body temperature to forty degrees;
  7. irregular heartbeat.

Symptoms of focal pneumonia are:

  • a slight increase in body temperature;
  • fever lasting up to five days;
  • frequent palpitations
  • with a harsh and breathy breath.

Viral pneumonia is characterized by:

  1. vomiting;
  2. cough is short, but frequent, with phlegm
  3. high temperature;
  4. conjunctivitis;
  5. pharyngitis
  6. shortness of breath;
  7. wheezing when breathing in.

With abscessed pneumonia, a person will have:

  • Anorexia
  • retardation;
  • confusion
  • change in skin color to pale gray
  • cough with sputum, which is characterized by impurities of blood and an unpleasant odor

Chronic eosinophilic pneumonia combines symptoms:

  1. A small dry cough
  2. a slight increase in temperature;
  3. chest pain
  4. the appearance of a rash on the skin
  5. itching and burning of the affected skin;
  6. increased sweating
  7. weight loss.

Characteristic signs of hemorrhagic pneumonia are:

  • bleeding from the nose
  • coughing with blood;
  • lowering blood pressure;
  • intoxication of the body
  • high body temperature.

Practically in all cases of manifestation of one of the types of such a chronic disease, because of the sharp appearance of symptoms, the patient’s condition deteriorates sharply, and in some cases can lead to death. Especially often this sad ending is affected by children, due to incorrect, incomplete or untimely treatment.


If properly and timely treatment of chronic pneumonia is performed, it is possible to achieve a fairly long period of withdrawal of symptoms and signs, which in this course is equivalent to recovery. However, the following consequences can often occur:

  1. the formation of an abscess of the lung;
  2. withering away
  3. violations in the passage of air through the bronchi
  4. respiratory or heart failure;
  5. getting viruses, toxins, bacteria into the blood, which often leads to death
  6. disruption of the heart, inflammation of some of its parts
  7. inflammation of the brain tissue
  8. Oncological neoplasms.

In some cases, in particular with interstitial chronic pneumonia, the effects of the disease, ie, incorrect therapy or its complete absence upon exacerbation, lead to the death of the patient. This is especially common with children.


Since there are many types of chronic pneumonia, the diagnostic methods are aimed at elucidating the factors that have become the causative agents of this disease. For this, the patient will need to:

  • undergo an examination with a doctor, in which the expert will examine the skin, listen to the lungs,
  • provide complete information about previous illnesses, make possible suggestions about what triggered the disease, tell about all the symptoms that accompany the disease. Such information will help to understand the doctor with what type of chronic pneumonia he is dealing with;
  • donate blood for biochemical analysis that will confirm or disprove the presence of bacteria, viruses, fungi and other microorganisms that are related to inflammation
  • provide a sputum sample for laboratory testing

In addition, the patient will need to undergo a hardware examination, which includes:

  1. Radiography of the lungs and bronchi
  2. examination of these organs with the help of a bronchoscope, which directly gives a picture of the state of the respiratory tract
  3. CT of the lungs
  4. A biopsy of the lung, in which a small part of the organ is taken to confirm or deny the presence of cancerous tumors, as well as other effects on the lungs. Very often a biopsy is performed with interstitial pneumonia.


Treatment of chronic pneumonia should be carried out comprehensively, constantly, and also combine with other methods of therapy of secondary ailments. Often, during a period of exacerbation, the patient must be observed with his doctor who, if necessary, can make a decision about hospitalization.

During the exacerbation of the disease, the patient must adhere to strict rules:

  • respect peace and bed rest;
  • food in such a period should be enriched with vitamins, proteins and nutrients
  • take medicines aimed at expanding the bronchi, for better air permeability;
  • apply inhalation, but only with the permission of the doctor
  • attend the chest massage and physiotherapy procedures prescribed by the physician, for example, electrophoresis or oxygen therapy
  • take antimicrobial medicines in cases when a microorganism has become the causative agent of the disease;
  • use antibiotics and expectorants
  • perform exercises of physiotherapy exercises and breathing exercises.

It is best if the above processes will take place in a sanatorium-resort environment. In some cases, surgery may be necessary — for oncology or complications, or for the artificial ventilation of the lungs. Thanks to such methods of therapy it will be possible to achieve a fairly long retreat of the disease.


In chronic pneumonia, prophylaxis is the maintenance of strong immunity, so that it is not affected by any of the factors and does not start the disease. In children, prevention is carried out in order to avoid the occurrence of this ailment at an older age.

The rules of prevention include:

  1. Strengthening immunity by physical activity and hardening
  2. a healthy lifestyle without addictions;
  3. Seek timely help for the first symptoms of any type of chronic pneumonia
  4. minimize or completely limit respiratory tract irritation;
  5. undergo preventive courses of examination and treatment in clinical settings

  6. Be constantly supervised by qualified personnel