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Maria: Bronchitis and Pneumonia

Introduction

Pneumonia and bronchitis are some of the common communicable diseases in the world today. They may have a devastating effect on the patient if they are not addressed early enough. According to Wright (2002), it is important to know some of the symptoms of these two diseases in order to be in a position to take the necessary measures early enough. Pneumonia and bronchitis have a cure. However, when neglected for a long time, the patient may be exposed to infections that may deteriorate the condition further. In this paper, the researcher will compare and contrast the causes, symptoms, and management of these two diseases.

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Pathophysiology

The pathophysiology of pneumonia and that of bronchitis have several factors in common. In both cases, there is an increased production of mucus. A patient will also experience inflammation in the respiratory tract. According to Fein (2006), such inflammation may be painful, especially when they are in the nasal cavity. Despite these similarities, there are some fundamental differences that are worth noting. In bronchitis, there is always a short-term irritation in the respiratory tract. Fein (2006) says that before the development of the inflammation, irritation comes first. This irritation is not common for a patient suffering from pneumonia. For a patient suffering from pneumonia, the mucus produced may have traces of blood at the earliest stage of development. The amount of blood may increase with the severity of the condition. On the other hand, a bronchitis patient may not experience blood in the mucus until the advanced stages. Pneumonia patients have a problem with efficient intake of oxygen and the elimination of carbon dioxide. As a result, there will be an accumulation of carbon dioxide while the amount of oxygen will be lower. As the body tries to fight this imbalance, the patient will be forced to breathe faster than normal. This is not witnessed among the patient suffering from bronchitis.

Clinical manifestations

Early detection of a disease facilitates speedy medication to relieve the patient of pain and discomfort. To do this, it is necessary to understand the clinical manifestation of these two diseases. In both cases, the patient will experience fever, especially at the early stages of the disease. The patient will also have shortness of breath as the body struggles to increase oxygen supply to meet the demand. Cough is also a common clinical manifestation in both cases. Sometimes there may be chest pain or discomfort when one is breathing. When the condition worsens, then a patient may find it difficult to sleep. At night, the mucus production can worsen to the extent of blocking the nasal cavity. In such cases, the patient may be forced to breathe using the mouth other than the nose. Despite the above symptoms which are common among pneumonia and bronchitis patients, it is important to identify clinical manifestations that are unique to each case. One may be able to differentiate between these two diseases by observing any of the following manifestations. In bronchitis, the patient will complain about fatigue. This is not the case when one is suffering from pneumonia. Wheezing is also very common among bronchitis patients as they struggle to clear the respiratory tract of infections and foreign bodies. Pneumonia patients may not exhibit these symptoms.

Symptoms such as vomiting nausea and diarrhea are common among pneumonia patients. However, one suffering from bronchitis may not develop these clinical manifestations. According to Wardlaw (2006), cold and flu are other common manifestations that are experienced among pneumonia patients. For older patients, one way of differentiating between bronchitis and pneumonia is through the determination of body temperatures. Those suffering from pneumonia will have a lower body temperature, while those suffering from bronchitis will have a higher than normal body temperature. In some instances, elderly pneumonia patients may have changes in their mental consciousness, especially when the disease is at its advanced stage. They become more forgetful than they always are when they are normal. This mental change is not common among elderly patients suffering from bronchitis. Newborns suffering from pneumonia may appear weak, restless, and may vomit sometimes.

Nursing/medical management

The aim of a medical expert when investigating a disease is to come up with an appropriate medication that will address the problem effectively. From the above discussion, it is easy to determine when one is suffering from bronchitis or pneumonia. In this section, it will be necessary to look at the appropriate medical or nursing management procedures. This means that taking antibiotics is the first stage of treating these diseases. Administering amoxicillin, penicillin, or erythromycin may help in fighting the bacteria. According to Wardlaw (2006), before administering any medication, the nurse should determine if the patient is allergic to such medications or not. In both cases, a doctor will be able to determine if the patient is responding positively by determining the count of the white blood cells. For the nurse offering care to the patient, it may be necessary to look at the changes in the clinical manifestations regularly. If the patient does not register any change, then it may be necessary to look for alternative medication or inform a doctor to further assess the condition of the patient.

There are a few factors that will need to be taken into consideration when treating these two diseases. According to Haas and Haas (2012), it is recommended that a patient suspected to be suffering from bronchitis be subjected to an X-ray before the commencement of the medication. The X-ray will not only help in confirming if the patient is suffering from bronchitis, but it will also help the expert to know the stage of the disease. Different states of bronchitis may require different forms of medication. At their earliest stage, antibiotics can be used effectively to eliminate the bacteria. However, at its acute stage, further medication will be necessary. On the other hand, the use of X-rays is rarely common for pneumonia patients. Sometimes bronchitis may be caused by some viral species. In such cases, the antibiotics used in treating pneumonia may not work.

Prognosis

When given appropriate medication, the patient suffering from either bronchitis or pneumonia will improve. It may take about four or five days for a pneumonia patient to start seeing serious changes in their health conditions. On the other hand, it takes two to three weeks for the symptoms of bronchitis to clear up. The secondary infections associated with acute bronchitis may take a month or so to heal. In both cases, it is clear that some of the associated symptoms may take a longer to disappear even after the condition is eliminated.

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References

Fein, A. (2006). Diagnosis and management of pneumonia and other respiratory infections. Caddo: Professional Communications.

Haas, F., & Haas, S. S. (2012).Chronicc bronchitis and emphysema handbook: François Haas, Sheila Sperber Haas; with illustrations by Kenneth Axen. New York: John Wiley.

Wardlaw, T. M. (2006). Pneumonia: The forgotten killer of children. New York: UNICEF.

Wright, J. (2002). Asthma & bronchitis. Oxford: Herbal Health.

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