Learn About the Different Types of Pneumonia and How They Are Classified

Learn About the Different Types of Pneumonia and How They Are Classified
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Pneumonia, in its most basic definition, is an inflammation of the lungs. It is also known by the names Pneumonitis and Bronchopneumonia. Just as there are multiple causes of pneumonia, there are also multiple types of pneumonia. There are even more types of and names for pneumonia than listed in this article. The most widely-used classifications or types of pneumonia are based upon the cause of the illness.

Bacterial Pneumonia

A few of the bacteria types that can cause pneumonia are streptococcus pneumoniae, Group B streptococcus aureus, Staphlylococcus aureus, Group A streptococcus, Chlamydophilia pneumoniae, Legionella pneumophila, and mycoplasma pneumonia.

Some of the symptoms of this type of pneumonia include cough that produces phlegm, fatigue, and pain in the chest.

Viral Pneumonia

Multiple viruses cause this type of pneumonia. A few of them include influenza, parainfluenza, respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), and adenovirus. Children who acquire viral pneumonia may become more susceptible to getting bacterial pneumonia. (Stanford)

This type of pneumonia differs from bacterial in that it typically develops over time, the cough may worsen rather than improve over time, and there may be wheezing present.

Microplasma Pneumonia

Microplasmas are microscopic organisms that share characteristics of both bacteria and viruses. They symptoms of this type of pneumonia differ from those of bacterial and viral pneumonia.

In this type of pneumonia, typically a fever develops first. Worsening cough and developing over time are both also usually present.

Other Types of Pneumonia

It is important to note that sometimes another method of classifying types of pneumonia is used. The U.S. Department of Health & Human Services uses this method for classification. In this method, types are differentiated by how or where the patient contracted pneumonia. Such types include:

  • Hospital-Acquired (Nosocomial) Pneumonia
  • Health Care-Associated Pneumonia
  • Community-Acquired Pneumonia
  • Aspiration Pneumonia
  • Atypical Pneumonia

Additionally, other names are given to describe a type of pneumonia. These names are more commonly known, though their meaning may not be.

Double pneumonia is pneumonia that affects both lobes of the lungs.

Walking pneumonia is a milder form of pneumonia that does not cause the patient to be bedridden, but still allows them to function, with perhaps limited capacity, in their every day life.

If a diagnosis of any type of pneumonia is received, it is important to consult the diagnosing physician for all relevant information pertaining to cause, risks, treatment and prognosis.


Pneumonia – Types of Pneumonia. U.S. Department of Health & Human Services – National Institutes of Health. National Heart Lung and Blood Institute – Diseases and Conditions Index. https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/dci/Diseases/pnu/pnu_types.html

Infectious Disease – Pneumonia. MayoClinic.Com. https://www.mayoclinic.com/health/pneumonia/DS00135/DSECTION=symptoms

Pneumonia. Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital at Stanford – Health Library. https://www.lpch.org/DiseaseHealthInfo/HealthLibrary/respire/pneumnia.html

Image Credit

XR chest – pneumonia with abscesses and caverns – d0.jpg. Anonymized dicon image – by Christaras A. Creative Commons Attribution 2.5 license – GNU Free Documentation License.Wikimedia Commons.https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:XR_chest_-_pneumonia_with_abscess_and_caverns_-_d0.jpg