Aspiration pneumonia is a type of pneumonia caused by food, liquid, or other substances that are accidentally infiltrated from the mouth or stomach into the lungs. It can be triggered by bacteria residing in the mouth or nasal passage, or non-infection toxins that damage the lung tissue.
Symptoms of Aspiration Pneumonia
The symptoms of aspiration pneumonia are quite similar to any other type of pneumonia. This can make it tricky to differentiate between the two. Some of the most common symptoms of this condition include chest pain, shortness of breath, wheezing, fever, coughing, fatigue, difficulty swallowing, severe sweating, bad breath, or a blue-ish skin color which is the result of low levels of oxygen in the blood. Aspiration pneumonia that is caused by toxic substances can lead to symptoms such as a swollen throat or tongue, hoarseness of the voice, oral or nasal burns, a rapid heartbeat, or an altered mental state.
How Aspiration Pneumonia Develops
Aspiration pneumonia develops as a result of the physiological mechanisms of the body failing to prevent food and other substances from entering the windpipe and the lungs. It can be a common complication of somebody with dysphagia, which can lead to aspiration of food and liquids when eating. Products can be used to make it easier to swallow liquids, such as Simply Thick which you can add to drinks, soups and more.
There are several risk factors and conditions that can make it more likely somebody will develop aspiration pneumonia. As mentioned earlier, dysphagia is one of the more common conditions that can lead to this being developed. This condition is characterized by having trouble swallowing and is often a symptom of a more serious condition such as stroke, neurological conditions or some cancers. Achalasia, which is a motility disorder of the esophagus, can also heighten the risk of aspiration pneumonia. There are several strategies that can be used to reduce the risk of choking and aspirating food including sticking to softer diets like a pureed diet or a mechanical soft diet.
How is Aspiration Pneumonia Treated?
There are a few common treatments that can be used to treat this condition. In most cases, aspiration pneumonia is treated with antibiotics, which are prescribed to treat the infection. This is usually the case with both neurologic and chemical causes of aspiration pneumonia. If you or somebody you care for is suffering from aspiration pneumonia, then any antibiotics should be taken exactly as prescribed without missing any doses, even if the symptoms are no longer present. Typically, a prescribed course of antibiotics should be for around one to two weeks.
Aspiration pneumonia is a condition that is caused by inhaling food particles, liquids or other substances into the airways and lungs. It is often common in people struggling with dysphagia, a condition that makes it difficult to swallow food and liquid. Along with this, there are several other risk factors that may cause the natural defenses of the body against aspiration to weaken, increasing the risk.