What Are Common Causes of Pneumonia with Chest Pain?

An infection may lead to pneumonia with chest pain.
Antibiotics are needed to treat patients with the flu who develop pneumonia or another respiratory infection.
COPD, which can lead to pneumonia complications, is linked to cigarette smoking.
Article Details
  • Written By: Patti Kate
  • Edited By: W. Everett
  • Last Modified Date: 31 August 2014
  • Copyright Protected:
    2003-2014
    Conjecture Corporation
  • Print this Article

There are several factors that may lead to pneumonia with chest pain, among the most major of which is an infection. Viral and bacterial infections affecting the upper respiratory system may cause pneumonia, and if it's severe, the pain can be serious. Pneumonia may also be caused by medical conditions such as cystic fibrosis. Chronic bronchitis can cause chest pain, and if left untreated, it may lead to pneumonia. Lung cancer is another disease that commonly causes both.

Patients suffering from cystic fibrosis (CF) may be at higher risk for developing recurrent pneumonia and chest pain. CF is a disease that affects the lining of the lungs, which produce excessive mucus. Sufferers typically cough a great deal, and the build up of mucus in the airways and lungs may lead to pneumonia. Patients with cystic fibrosis typically undergo routine therapy to help control flare ups.

People suffering from viral illnesses, like influenza or acute bronchitis, may also get pneumonia with chest pain. If both lungs become inflamed, the condition is referred to as double pneumonia. In severe cases, one or both lungs may collapse, putting the patient's life at risk. Chest pain is a major symptom of pneumonia, but it may not always be present.

Ad

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) may cause complications of pneumonia. Chest pain may be another symptom, as are extreme shortness of breath and decreased function of the lungs. COPD is often linked to cigarette smoking.

Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (AIDS) often leads to pneumonia with chest pain. Patients suffering from symptoms of AIDS generally have compromised or suppressed immunity, which causes bacterial and viral infections to become more virulent. Patients who test positive for human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) may contract pneumonia even without developing full blown AIDS.

Anthrax, which is caused by a bacteria known as Bacillus anthracis, kills a high percentage of people who contract this infectious disease. It is typically caused by handling secretions of infected animals or meat products that have been tainted. People who inhale the bacteria often develop chest pain, pneumonia, and high fever.

Avian flu, commonly known as bird flu, is an influenza-type virus spread by wild birds. Humans who come in contact with the disease typically develop pneumonia. Some individuals may also experience chest pain and fever. This disease in not prevalent in the United States, affecting humans primarily in east Asian countries.

Ad

More from Wisegeek

You might also Like

Discuss this Article

manykitties2
Post 11

Whenever you have a cold that causes you chest pain I really think you should see a doctor as soon as possible.

I always get a cold every winter and I was used to it just running its course without too many problems. Unknown to me I actually had pneumonia this past year instead of just a really bad cold.

I thought it was strange that my chest was hurting so much and that my coughing seemed worse than usual. At most I thought I had a particularly nasty case of influenza. After visiting the doctor I learned that I had pneumonia. Apparently chest pain and severe congestion are two signs that your lungs are really suffering.

lonelygod
Post 10

When I was younger I made the mistake of ignoring a case of bronchitis because I was annoyed with doctors. Having suffered from asthma for several years I was used to bronchitis and didn't see the point of visiting the doctor when my normal medicine would fix the problem soon enough.

Unfortunately my bronchitis turned into pneumonia and the chest pain was tremendous. To this day I can remember the feeling of having a weight pressing down on my lungs and being so congested I could barely breath. Nowadays if I get so much as a wheeze I am off to the doctor to make sure my lungs are doing OK.

Esther11
Post 9

@Jane Air - My daughter, who was about eight at the time, got viral pneumonia. She got really sick, with chest pain, weakness and a terrible cough. The doctor said she had viral pneumonia and that she would just have to wait until she got over it.

Well, she coughed so much that she broke one of her ribs, just like your mother. I felt so sorry for her - she felt terrible and on top of that, her rib hurt whenever she coughed.

Such is life!

honeybees
Post 8

When I had pneumonia I just thought it was a bad cold and would eventually get better. The symptoms got worse instead of better, and when my chest pain was almost debilitating and I could hear a gurgling sound when I breathed, I figured it was time to get it checked out.

I am glad that I didn't wait any longer than I did to get checked out. It took two rounds of some powerful antibiotics to knock it out, and I am just lucky I did not have to be hospitalized.

He told me to take it easy for several days and that was not hard to do because I just had no strength or energy to do anything.

Experiencing the chest pain can be very scary because you really don't know what is going on until you have the doctor check it out. Pneumonia can be very serious, and the sooner you get started on treatment the faster you will recover.

myharley
Post 7

My husband has suffered from pneumonia twice during the winter. The first time he was diagnosed with it, his chest pain was much worse than the second time.

He was told that once you have experienced pneumonia, you are much more likely to get it again - as opposed to someone who has never had it.

I think one reason his chest did not hurt so much the second time was because he went to the doctor sooner and started treatment before his symptoms were bad. He recognized the signs and didn't put it off, but started on antibiotics right away.

OeKc05
Post 6

I got viral pneumonia a few years ago, and I believe that chest pain was the worst pain I’ve ever experienced. I could not control the constant coughing, and it was so strong that it physically hurt my lungs.

My doctor told me not to take a cough suppressant, because I needed to get rid of the mucus. He gave me an expectorant, which caused further chest pain by increasing my cough. I know that it shortened my recovery time by intensifying the removal of mucus, but it hurt so much that I felt like I was damaging my lungs.

seag47
Post 5

My niece was born with cystic fibrosis, and she frequently gets pneumonia because of it. She has so much trouble breathing, even when she’s well. It’s heartbreaking to watch her struggle for air.

During her bouts with pneumonia, her lungs take on fluid. This makes it hard for them to do their job of oxygenating the blood and removing carbon dioxide. This leads to extreme shortness of breath for her because of her challenging condition.

She usually winds up in the hospital when she gets pneumonia. She has to be placed on a ventilator and monitored to make sure that she doesn’t stop breathing.

StarJo
Post 4

The week before my eighth grade dance, I developed the flu. I was so bummed, because I actually had a date, and I had to miss it! I wanted so much to recover in time, but my flu turned into pneumonia, and I had to miss two weeks of school.

My doctor said that there is no cure for the virus that causes the flu and pneumonia. So, the only thing that I could do was take care of my cough. He prescribed a strong cough medicine and told me to drink lots of water to help loosen the mucus. He also told me to elevate my head with more pillows and use cough drops to soothe the irritation.

For awhile there, I felt so bad that I thought I might not make it to ninth grade! The cough was extreme, and the fever kept me out of my head.

lighth0se33
Post 3

Because he was stubborn and didn’t want to go to the doctor, my dad developed pneumonia from a case of untreated acute bronchitis. He believed that his body had the strength to fight the illness and recover on its own. He was wrong.

His coughing sounded so bad. After two weeks of bronchitis, it only got worse, and I remember being afraid that he might die.

Finally, he became so weak that he agreed to let my mom take him to the hospital late one night when the coughing was at its worst. He had to be hospitalized for five days to receive penicillin through an IV.

indemnifyme
Post 2

@JaneAir - That's funny that your mom was a lot tougher about the broken rib than your dad. Personally, I'm not surprised. I think most women are way tougher than men give us credit for being!

I personally think it's a little scary so many of these illness have the same symptoms. Imagine if you thought you just had bronchitis but you ended up having lung cancer?

JaneAir
Post 1

My mom has bronchitis and pneumonia when I was about 4. Actually, my sister and I had it too. We were all really sick! My dad had to take a few days off work to take care of us.

Anyways, my mom experienced chest pain for a different reason: she broke her rib from coughing so hard! As most people know, there's not that much that can be done for a broken rib. The doctor did recommend cough suppressants though, to keep her from injuring her rib further.

I barely remember this, but the story comes up every few years. My mom is pretty tough and got through it without complaining too much-but my dad broke his rib a few years later and was a huge baby about it!

Post your comments

Post Anonymously

Login

username
password
forgot password?

Register

username
password
confirm
email