What Causes Pneumonia?

To successfully treat and prevent recurrence of pneumonia we need to understand and — if possible — remove the underlying causes and risk factors.  We need to ask: "What else is going on inside the body that might allow pneumonia to develop?"

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Accurate diagnosis of the factors behind pneumonia consists of three steps:

Step 1: List the Possible Causative Factors

Identify all disease conditions, lifestyle choices and environmental risk factors that can lead to pneumonia.  Here are seven possibilities:
  • Weakened Immune System
  • Chronic Bronchitis
  • Congestive Heart Failure
  • Diabetes II
  • Vitamin A Need
  • Alcohol Consequences
  • Cigarette Smoke Damage

Step 2: Build a Symptom Checklist

Identify all possible symptoms and risk factors of each possible cause, and check the ones that apply:
bitter taste in mouth
much secondhand smoke exposure
having had a small bowel resection
recent onset nausea
congestive heart failure
scrotal edema
reduced sense of taste
African ethnicity
omnivorous diet
chronic nausea
adult acne
very great unexplained weight gain
... and more than 60 others

Step 3: Rule Out or Confirm each Possible Cause

A differential diagnosis of your symptoms and risk factors finds the likely cause of pneumonia:
Cause Probability Status
Cigarette Smoke Damage 98% Confirm
Alcohol Consequences 27% Unlikely
Weakened Immune System 16% Unlikely
Vitamin A Need 3% Ruled out
Congestive Heart Failure 2% Ruled out
Chronic Bronchitis 0% Ruled out
Diabetes II 0% Ruled out
* This is a simple example to illustrate the process

Arriving at a Correct Diagnosis

The Analyst™ is our online diagnosis tool that learns all about you through a straightforward process of multi-level questioning, providing diagnosis at the end.

In the Respiratory Symptoms section of the questionnaire, The Analyst™ will ask the following question about pneumonia:
Have you had Pneumonia?
Possible responses:
→ Never had it / don't know
→ Probably/minor episode(s) now resolved
→ Major episode(s) now resolved
→ Current minor problem
→ Current major problem
Based on your response to this question, which may indicate either history of pneumonia or pneumonia, The Analyst™ will consider possibilities such as:
Vitamin A Requirement

Vitamin A deficiency reduces the ability of the cells lining the lungs to remove disease-causing microorganisms, increasing risk of pneumonia.

Alcohol-related Problems

Alcoholism is a risk factor for the development of pneumonia.

Cigarette Smoke Damage

Smoking is a risk factor for the development of pneumonia.

Congestive Heart Failure

Heart failure is a risk factor for the development of pneumonia.

COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease)

Lung diseases – such as chronic bronchitis and emphysema – are risk factors for the development of pneumonia.

Weakened Immune System

People whose immune systems are suppressed, such as those with AIDS or those undergoing chemotherapy, are more susceptible to pneumonia.

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