Pneumonia in seniors

Things You Should Know About Pneumonia In Seniors

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Pneumonia is an infection of the lungs and it can be a serious threat to seniors. Seniors are at a bigger risk of complications and death from pneumonia and other respiratory conditions. As per the reports of the CDC, about 250,000 people are hospitalized with pneumonia every year. Read ahead to understand the facts about this respiratory infection and ways to prevent pneumonia in seniors. If you doubt that your senior loved one is suffering from pneumonia, make sure to see the doctor right away.

 

What Is Pneumonia? 

Pneumonia is a respiratory infection and can result in inflammation in the alveoli present inside our lungs. Alveoli are air sacs and they can be filled with pus or fluid when you are suffering from pneumonia. This can result in breathing issues together with symptoms like fever. The infection can affect one or both of the lungs and when it affects both the lungs, it is called double pneumonia. The severity of the condition can differ with age, cause of the infection, and also the present health condition of the individual.

 

Symptoms Of Pneumonia                                                

There can be many signs and symptoms of pneumonia and some of the most common ones can be fever, shortness of breath, chills, cough with phlegm, pain in the chest while coughing or breathing, fatigue, etc. As per the caregivers in skilled nursing and other nursing homes, the symptoms of pneumonia in seniors can be different. Seniors with pneumonia can suffer from low-grade fever, and they can be less alert. Elderly adults with pneumonia can show symptoms of confusion and may experience changes in their levels of mental awareness.

 

Seriousness Of Pneumonia In Elder Adults 

Adults over the age of 65 years are susceptible to pneumonia when compared to younger people. In addition, seniors who are suffering from pneumonia are at an increased risk of hospitalization, health complications, and death. In seniors, the disease can progress quickly and can become serious. As per the American Lung Association, most of the people who die from pneumonia are elderly adults. The rate of death among seniors suffering from severe pneumonia symptoms is as high as 20%.

 

The reason for pneumonia being more aggressive in elder adults is not yet known to healthcare professionals. Many of them believe that it is due to the normal aging process that weakens the immune system and decreases the functioning of the liver. In addition, seniors can have other underlying health issues that can increase the severity of pneumonia. These conditions include heart issues, asthma, etc.

 

Cause Of Pneumonia In Seniors 

Pneumonia can be caused by viruses, bacteria, fungi, and other organisms. The common form of bacterial pneumonia in seniors is Pneumococcal pneumonia, which affects more than 900,000 US citizens per year. Streptococcus pneumonia is the organism causing this type of pneumonia. 

 

The below-shared groups are at an elevated danger of bacterial pneumonia. 

  • Elderly adults above the age of 65.
  • People who have a feeble immune system.
  • Patients who are recovering from surgery.
  • People who are suffering from viral infections and other respiratory conditions.

 

Viral infections can also result in pneumonia and the influenza virus commonly cause viral pneumonia in seniors. Viral pneumonia can be deadly and this is especially true in people suffering from other health issues such as lung diseases and heart problems.

 

The COVID 19 infection can also result in a type of double pneumonia, which can result in lasting damage to the lungs. It can take many months for seniors to recover from the infection. Besides, pneumonia from COVID 19 infection can be fatal for high-risk groups like seniors.

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