Nearly 50000 People In The United States Die From Pneumonia Each Year Seniors And Children Are Particularly Vulnerable To Death From Pneumonia
Nearly 50,000 people in the United States die from pneumonia each year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. For most patients, pneumonia can be treated with oral antibiotics, rest and fluids. More serious cases may require a hospital stay to deliver antibiotics intravenously and to allow health care providers to monitor breathing.
What Should I Expect In The Last Few Days
As the end of life approaches, you might experience a number of physical and emotional changes. These are different for everyone. You might notice changes over weeks, days or even hours. Some of the changes might be the same as signs of a flare-up, so discuss them with your doctor or nurse.
Signs to look out for include:
Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome
As COVID-19 pneumonia progresses, more of the air sacs become filled with fluid leaking from the tiny blood vessels in the lungs. Eventually, shortness of breath sets in, and can lead to acute respiratory distress syndrome , a form of lung failure. Patients with ARDS are often unable to breath on their own and may require ventilator support to help circulate oxygen in the body.
Whether it occurs at home or at the hospital, ARDS can be fatal. People who survive ARDS and recover from COVID-19 may have lasting pulmonary scarring.
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What Are The Symptoms Of Pneumonia
If you have pneumonia, youll have symptoms that are similar to having flu or a chest infection. Symptoms may develop gradually over a few days but can progress much faster.
The main symptom is coughing. You may feel generally unwell, weak and tired, and youll probably have at least one of these symptoms too:
- coughing up mucus that may become yellow or green
- a high temperature you might also sweat and shiver
- difficulty breathing or getting out of breath quicker than normal
- chest pain or discomfort
Even if you have pneumonia, you may not have all these symptoms.
Why Does It Happen
Pneumonia symptoms may be milder or subtler in many at-risk populations. This is because many at-risk groups have a weakened immune system or a chronic or acute condition.
Because of this, these people may not receive the care that they need until the infection has become severe. Its very important to be aware of the development of any symptoms and to seek prompt medical attention.
Additionally, pneumonia can worsen preexisting chronic conditions, particularly those of the heart and lungs. This can lead to a rapid decline in condition.
Most people do eventually recover from pneumonia. However, the 30-day mortality rate is 5 to 10 percent of hospitalized patients. It can be up to 30 percent in those admitted to intensive care.
The cause of your pneumonia can often determine the severity of the infection.
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Controlling Symptoms At The End Of Life
Pain is a common symptom in any advanced physical disease and can be part of the normal dying process. It can usually be well controlled using the right medications. These medications may include opioids . You might be worried about having opioids if you or a loved one has a respiratory condition, but they are safe for people with lung disease to use.
Youll be given drugs in a way that causes the least amount of discomfort, pain, or stress. Your doctor may suggest trying a low dose of liquid morphine that is short-acting. This is to see initially how much you need help with your symptoms. If it helps, your doctor might suggest you have a longer acting morphine pill or morphine-like patch.
Breathlessnessmight be improved by using inhalers, tablets and occasionally nebulisers. It can be helpful to use a hand-held fan when you feel breathless. The feeling of air on your face can make it feel easier to breathe. But if your breathlessness is more severe and blood oxygen is low, long-term oxygen might improve your breathing and quality of life.
Long-term home oxygen is needed when your lungs can no longer maintain enough oxygen in your blood. This oxygen is normally delivered from a machine that concentrates the oxygen from the air called an oxygen concentrator. You need to use this machine for at least 15 hours a day. The amount of oxygen needed is carefully assessed and monitored and may need to be increased over time. Read more about oxygen therapy.
Who Is Most At Risk
Like with many other conditions, a persons ability to fight off pneumonia is greater the healthier they are to begin with. Pneumonia is more likely to be serious or even deadly in infants, adults over 65, and people with underlying health issues or weakened immune systems, like someone with cancer or HIV, Dr. Bhowmick saysalthough it’s possible a severe case of pneumonia could turn deadly in someone at any age.
With treatmentwhich varies depending on the type of pneumonia a person hasmost people improve within one to three weeks. Thats more likely if youre younger than 65, generally healthy, and your pneumonia is caught early enough that it hasnt spread, according to the ALA.
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Primary Care Providers Near You
Norton Community Medical Associates primary care providers in Louisville, Southern Indiana and surrounding areas offer care at over 30 convenient locations. Our offices are staffed by teams of experienced physicians, nurse practitioners, physician assistants and other medical care providers.
How Does Someone Die From Pneumonia
Pneumonia has to be quite severe for it to kill someone, Dr. Bhowmick stresses. The lungs, of course, are responsible for supplying oxygen all over the body. Pneumonia, it follows, threatens your oxygen tank. If its so severe that its essentially cutting off oxygen supply, then the rest of your vital organs arent getting enough oxygen, she explains.
At the same time, a persons body is also launching an inflammatory response in an attempt to fight off the infection, Dr. Bhowmick says. But that can result in changes in blood pressure that might in turn decrease blood supply to those organs, too. Thats a dangerous combination, she explains, because not only is blood supply reduced, but that blood has less oxygen in it. That leads to abnormalities of heart function, kidney functionthe organs stop working, Dr. Bhowmick says, and that leads to death.
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What Are The Complications That Occur
Even with treatment, some people with Pneumonia, who have other health ailments, suffer complications. Here are some of them:
What Can I Do To Feel Better If I Have Pneumonia
- Finish all medications and therapies prescribed by your doctor. Do not stop taking antibiotics when you start feeling better. Continue taking them until no pills remain. If you dont take all your antibiotics, your pneumonia may come back.
- If over-the-counter medicines to reduce fever have been recommended , take as directed on the label. Never give aspirin to children.
- Drink plenty of fluids to help loosen phlegm.
- Quit smoking if you smoke. Dont be around others who smoke or vape. Surround yourself with as much clean, chemical-free air as possible.
- Use a humidifier, take a steamy shower or bath to make it easier for you to breathe.
- Get lots of rest. Dont rush your recovery. It can take weeks to get your full strength back.
If at any time you start to feel worse, call your doctor right away.
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Pneumonia Death Rates All Ages
In the map we see the death rate from pneumonia expressed as the number of deaths due to pneumonia per year per 100,000 individuals.
We can see that the death rate from pneumonia is highest in Sub-Saharan Africa and Southeast-Asia. The difference between richer and poorer countries is large: European populations suffer a rate of around 10 deaths per 100,000 while poorer countries see rate of more than 100 deaths per 100,000 is
In Southeast-Asia, the population of the Philippines suffer from particularly high pneumonia mortality rates pneumonia is the second leading cause of death in both under-5-year-old and older than 70-year-old populations in this country.
These rates have been age-standardized, which tells us the death rate for each country and each point in time as if the age structure of a population. This therefore allows us to make across comparisons across countries and through time that are not affected by differences in the age-structure between countries and changes of the age-structure over time.
Can You Catch Pneumonia More Than Once
Yes. Pneumonia is caused by many different microbes, and so getting it once does not protect you from getting it again. If you get pneumonia more than once you may need to have more investigations to understand why this has happened. It could be due to a problem in your chest or your immune system, and you may be referred to a specialist.
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Bacteremia And Septic Shock
If bacteria caused your pneumonia, they could get into your blood, especially if you didn’t see a doctor for treatment. It’s a problem called bacteremia.
Bacteremia can lead to a serious situation known as . It’s a reaction to the infection in your blood, and it can cause your blood pressure to drop to a dangerous level.
When your blood pressure is too low, your heart may not be able to pump enough blood to your organs, and they can stop working. Get medical help right away if you notice symptoms like:
Your doctor can test your mucus or the pus in your lungs to look for infection. They may also take an X-ray or a CT scan of your lungs.
Your doctor will likely treat your lung abscesses with antibiotics. They may do a procedure that uses a needle to remove the pus.
Predicting Mortality In Pneumonia Patients
In a retrospective analysis in the August 2012 issue of Chest, Dr. Metersky and colleagues reviewed 21,223 Medicare patients with CAP who were admitted to the hospital. They investigated whether or not patient characteristics can help distinguish those who are at risk for mortality before they were discharged compared with after they were discharged. This knowledge may help physicians and hospitals select high-risk patients for specific interventions, says Dr. Metersky. It may also facilitate the development of methodologies that help determine if a hospitals post-discharge mortality rates are related to identifiable risk factors or to problems with post-discharge quality of care.
According to findings, 12.1% of the study group died within 30 days of admission. Of these deaths, 52.4% occurred during the hospital stay and 47.6% occurred after discharge. The number of deaths after discharge in our study was alarming, says Dr. Metersky. Additionally, seven factors were significantly associated with death prior to discharge . Of these seven factors, the three that conferred the highest risk were mechanical ventilation, the presence of bacteremia, and having a BUN level higher than 11 mmol/L.
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Things You Should Know About Pneumonia
- By Stephanie Watson, Executive Editor, Harvard Women’s Health Watch
Pneumonia is an infection that causes the air sacs in the lungs to fill up with fluid or pus, which makes it harder to breathe. The most common symptoms are cough that may be dry or produce phlegm, fever, chills and fatigue. Other symptoms may include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and pain in the chest. and shortness of breath. Signs that indicate a more severe infection are shortness of breath, confusion, decreased urination and lightheadedness. In the U.S., pneumonia accounts for 1.3 visits to the Emergency Department, and 50,000 deaths annually.
With the COVID-19 pandemic continuing to affect people around the world, pneumonia has become an even larger health concern. Some people infected with the COVID-19 have no symptoms, while others may experience fever, body ache, dry cough, fatigue, chills, headache, sore throat, loss of appetite, and loss of smell.
The more severe symptoms of COV-19, such as high fever, severe cough, and shortness of breath, usually mean significant lung involvement. The lungs can be damaged by overwhelming COVID-19 viral infection, severe inflammation, and/or a secondary bacterial pneumonia. COVID-19 can lead to long lasting lung damage.
Here are other important facts you should know about pneumonia:,
How Is Pneumonia Treated
When you get a pneumonia diagnosis, your doctor will work with you to develop a treatment plan. Treatment for pneumonia depends on the type of pneumonia you have, how sick you are feeling, your age, and whether you have other health conditions. The goals of treatment are to cure the infection and prevent complications. It is important to follow your treatment plan carefully until you are fully recovered.
Take any medications as prescribed by your doctor. If your pneumonia is caused by bacteria, you will be given an antibiotic. It is important to take all the antibiotic until it is gone, even though you will probably start to feel better in a couple of days. If you stop, you risk having the infection come back, and you increase the chances that the germs will be resistant to treatment in the future.
Typical antibiotics do not work against viruses. If you have viral pneumonia, your doctor may prescribe an antiviral medication to treat it. Sometimes, though, symptom management and rest are all that is needed.
Most people can manage their symptoms such as fever and cough at home by following these steps:
If your pneumonia is so severe that you are treated in the hospital, you may be given intravenous fluids and antibiotics, as well as oxygen therapy, and possibly other breathing treatments.
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What Are The Complications Of Pneumonia
Anyone can experience complications from pneumonia. However, people in high-risk groups are more likely to develop complications, including:
- Breathing difficulties: Pneumonia can make breathing difficult. Pneumonia plus an existing lung disorder can make breathing even more difficult. Breathing difficulties may require a hospital stay to receive oxygen therapy or breathing and healing assistance with the use of a breathing machine .
- Fluid buildup in the lungs : Pneumonia can cause a buildup in the fluid between the membranes that line the lungs and the inside of the chest cavity. It is a serious condition that makes breathing difficult. Pleural effusion can be treated by draining excess fluid with a catheter, chest tube or by surgery.
- Bacteria in the bloodstream : The bacteria that cause pneumonia can leave your lungs and enter your bloodstream, spreading the infection to other organs. This condition is treated with antibiotics.
- Lung abscess. A lung abscess is a pus-filled cavity in the lung that is caused by a bacterial infection. It can be treated by draining the pus with a long needle or removing it by surgery.
Most Read In Health News
When you have pneumonia, the alveoli – tiny air sacs where oxygen and carbon dioxide are exchanged – fill with fluid.
It affects around eight in 1,000 adults a year, and it’s more common in autumn and winter.
While it can severely affect people of any age, it’s more likely and can be more serious among the young or elderly.
While pneumonia symptoms are similar to other illnesses, such as a chest infection – they can develop in as fast as 24 hours.
The infection’s development can also depend on the age of the sufferer.
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Atypical or walking pneumonia is prevalent among school-age children. They may not feel ill enough to demand a day off school, but they could be tired, suffering from headaches, a minor fever or a dry cough.
Mycoplasma pneumoniae is responsible for up to 20 per cent of adult pneumonia cases.
While it is rare, if you are struggling to shake your Omicron infection and feeling it’s getting worse, pay attention to if you have some of the listed symptoms below.
If you do, don’t worry but call for help and an expert can assess you quickly.
People who develop pneumonia often make a full recovery without any extra complications.
Common symptoms include a dry or phlegm-y cough – and breathing may be rapid and shallow, you may feel breathless all the time, and experience chest pain.
Fever, sweating and shivering, loss of appetite and a rapid heartbeat are all also symptoms.
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