Aspiration Pneumonia Causes

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Causes of Aspiration Pneumonia

Foods and liquids enter your mouth and travel down the esophagus into the stomach. Air enters your mouth or nose and goes down your airway (trachea) into your lungs. Lungs are only meant to be exposed to air. But foods, liquids, or vomited stomach contents may accidentally get into the airway and travel down to the lungs. This is called aspiration.

Food Inhaled  into Lung
Food has entered alveoli of lung (air sacs), are causing build up of green mucus, and decrease the flow of oxygen-blue arrows.
© 2009 Nucleus Medical Media, Inc.

Generally, most people can cough to prevent foreign substances from being inhaled into the lungs. However, some people may not be able to protect their lungs with a good cough. This may happen when they are unconscious or if they have trouble swallowing foods or liquids. Once the foreign substances get into the lungs, they may cause an infection known as aspiration pneumonia. This is a potentially serious condition that requires care from your doctor.

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