What Other Problems Can Pneumonia Cause
Sometimes pneumonia can cause serious complications such as:
- Bacteremia, which happens when the bacteria move into the bloodstream. It is serious and can lead to .
- Lung abscesses, which are collections of pus in cavities of the lungs
- Pleural disorders, which are conditions that affect the pleura. The pleura is the tissue that covers the outside of the lungs and lines the inside of your chest cavity.
- Respiratory failure
Who Is Most At Risk For Getting Pneumonia
People who have an increased risk of pneumonia include:
- People over the age of 65 and infants under age 2. The weakening immune system of older people makes them less able to fight off illnesses. Similarly, the immune system of infants is still developing and not at full-strength, making them more susceptible to infection.
- People with a health-caused weakened immune system. Examples include:
- People who are receiving chemotherapy
- Transplanted organ recipients
- People who have HIV/AIDS
- People with autoimmune disease and who are taking medications that suppress the immune system.
How Long Does It Take To Recover From Pneumonia
“Pneumonia is a serious illness that can take quite a toll on a person’s lungs and body. It can take anywhere from a week to several months to fully recover from it,” says Dr. Rayman Lee, pulmonologist at Houston Methodist.
The length of time it takes for you to recover from pneumonia is influenced by:
- Your age
- The severity of your illness
- Whether you have other health conditions
- The type of pneumonia
If you’re generally healthy and have only a mild case of pneumonia, your symptoms should begin to improve one to two days after starting treatment.
“Most people with mild pneumonia are able to return to their everyday activities in a week, although fatigue and cough can linger for an entire month,” says Dr. Lee.
Recovery timelines become more murky for people who have severe pneumonia.
“For more serious cases that require hospitalization, we’re not only focused on clearing the infection, we’re also focused on preventing or treating complications that can develop including difficulty breathing, fluid buildup in the lungs, sepsis, acute respiratory distress syndrome and lung abscesses,” warns Dr. Lee.
Pneumonia and its complications can wreak havoc on a person’s lungs and body. And, it can take anywhere from one to six months for a person to recover and regain strength after being hospitalized for pneumonia.
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Complications Of Pneumonia Caused By Covid
Because pneumonia causes the alveoli in the lungs to fill with pus and fluid, breathing can be painful and difficult.
Pneumonia can cause serious health complications, including:
Because COVID-19 attacks the lungs, it would make sense that having COVID-19 would cause lung complications. As of yet, not enough data are available to support this conclusion.
However, as noted above, research does show that COVID-19 can cause severe illness, including pneumonia that can be fatal. A 2020 study by the CDC found that among a group of people with COVID-19, about 70% had complications from pneumonia. Also, people with COVID-19 were twice as likely to get pneumonia compared to people with the flu.
Regarding long-lasting complications from COVID-19, it is still too soon to say for sure whether “long-haulers” are more likely to have underlying chronic medical conditions.
What Causes Pneumonia In Elderly Adults
Pneumonia is caused by bacteria, viruses, fungi, and other organisms. In the U.S., pneumonia in the elderly is usually caused by bacteria or a virus.
Pneumococcal pneumonia is the most common type of bacterial pneumonia, affecting more than 900,000 Americans each year, according to the ALA. This type of pneumonia is caused by a germ called Streptococcus pneumoniae. It can occur on its own or after someone has a cold or the flu.
These groups are at increased risk for bacterial pneumonia:
- Adults 65 and older
- People with a weakened immune system
- Patients recovering from surgery
- People with other respiratory conditions or viral infections
Viruses can also cause pneumonia. The influenza virus is the most common cause of viral pneumonia in adults. Pneumonia caused by the influenza virus can be severe and even deadly, especially in people with other health conditions such as heart or lung disease.
Coronavirus disease 2019 can also cause a severe type of double pneumonia that may lead to long-lasting lung damage. It may take several months to recover. Pneumonia associated with COVID-19 can sometimes be fatal, especially in high-risk populations like elderly adults.
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Is Vaping Bad For Your Lungs
Vaping is certainly not without detriment to ones lungs. As the use of e-cigarettes continues, experts will have better insights into the effects of vaping on ones lungs. As of now, it has been linked to several lung diseases. These include popcorn lung, lipoid pneumonia, and pneumothorax.
Popcorn lung is bronchiolitis obliterans . This is a rare condition wherein the lungs small airways are damaged. This was first discovered when factory workers became sick due to diacetyl which is a food additive that is used for coming up with butter flavor for microwave popcorn. Diacetyl is also added to a flavored e-liquid for enhancing the taste. The inhalation of diacetyl may result in inflammation. This may also lead to permanent scarring within the tiniest branches of airways, popularly known as popcorn lung which makes breathing difficult. There is no lasting cure for this condition, but some treatments can help manage the symptoms.
Lipoid pneumonia can be another result of vaping. This develops when fatty acids get into the lungs. This is brought about by ingesting the oily substances that are found in e-liquid. This starts an inflammatory impact within the lungs. No treatment is intended for lipoid pneumonia besides supportive care for the lungs to heal on their own.
Its crucial to take note that vaping may be a good alternative to smoking only when used appropriately and only for that purpose
Southern Cross Medical Library
The purpose of the Southern Cross Medical Library is to provide information of a general nature to help you better understand certain medical conditions. Always seek specific medical advice for treatment appropriate to you. This information is not intended to relate specifically to insurance or healthcare services provided by Southern Cross. For more articles go to the Medical Library index page.
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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.
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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What Does Covid Do To Lungs
COVID-19 can cause lung complications such as pneumonia and, in the most severe cases, acute respiratory distress syndrome, or ARDS. , another possible complication of COVID-19, can also cause lasting harm to the lungs and other organs.
As we have learned more about SARS-CoV-2 and resulting COVID-19, we have discovered that in severe COVID-19, a significant pro-inflammatory condition can result in several critical diseases, complications and syndromes, Galiatsatos says.
Can You Get Pneumonia Twice
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How Can I Prevent Aspiration Pneumonia Or Reduce My Risk Of Getting Aspiration Pneumonia
Things that you can do to reduce your risk of aspiration pneumonia include the following:
- Avoid drinking alcohol to excess and using recreational drugs. These can affect your ability to swallow.
- Stay upright when you are eating.
- Chew slowly and completely.
- If you have problems swallowing , talk to your healthcare provider. They might need to change or adjust your diet or medication. They can also order tests or refer you to a speech professional or swallowing specialist.
- Dont smoke or use nicotine products.
- Take good care of your teeth.
When Should I See My Healthcare Provider About Aspiration Pneumonia
If you have worrisome symptoms like chest pain, fever and difficulty breathing, call your provider or seek emergency medical help. Pneumonia can get worse more quickly than you realize.
If you often feel like you are choking, or have difficulty swallowing, see your provider. You may need to see a specialist who can help you find out why you are choking or having problems swallowing. You may need to change what and how you eat and drink.
A note from Cleveland Clinic
Pneumonia is an infection in your lungs. One of the ways you can get this infection is by inhaling saliva, food, stomach contents or even foreign objects into your lungs, which is called aspiration pneumonia. This type is more common among certain people, including people with nerve disorders or swallowing issues. Aspiration pneumonia is generally treated with antibiotics. Treatment is successful for most people. Make sure you contact your healthcare provider if you have chest pain, fever and difficulty breathing. As with most conditions, the best outcomes happen when aspiration pneumonia is found early.
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How Serious Is Pneumonia In Older Adults
Adults 65 and older are more susceptible to pneumonia than younger people are. Seniors with pneumonia are also at increased risk for hospitalization, complications, and death.
Pneumonia in elderly adults can often be serious and progress quickly. In fact, pneumonia is the second leading cause for hospitalization of Medicare beneficiaries, and most of the people who die from pneumonia each year are elderly adults, according to the American Lung Association . The death rate among elderly adults with severe pneumonia is as high as 20%.
Researchers and doctors dont fully understand why pneumonia is more aggressive in seniors. They believe it has to do with the normal aging process, which weakens the immune system and decreases lung function. Older adults also often have other underlying health conditions that can make pneumonia more severe, including asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease , and heart disease.
What To Expect At Home
You will still have symptoms of pneumonia after you leave the hospital.
- Your cough will slowly get better over 7 to 14 days.
- Sleeping and eating may take up to a week to return to normal.
- Your energy level may take 2 weeks or more to return to normal.
You will need to take time off work. For a while, you might not be able to do other things that you are used to doing.
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What Is Covid Pneumonia
Dr. Lee: Pneumonia occurs when a bacterial or viral infection causes significant damage and inflammation in the lungs. The resulting fluid and debris build-up makes it hard for a person to breathe sometimes to such an extent that oxygen therapy or ventilator support is required. Regardless of the bacteria or virus causing it, pneumonia can become very serious, even life-threatening.
In the case of COVID pneumonia, the damage to the lungs is caused by the coronavirus that causes COVID-19.
When COVID pneumonia develops, it causes additional symptoms, such as:
- Shortness of breath
- Increased heart rate
- Low blood pressure
What’s more is that COVID pneumonia often occurs in both lungs, rather than just one lung or the other. Additionally, the widespread inflammation that occurs in some people with COVID-19 can lead to acute respiratory distress syndrome a severe type of lung failure.
Like other respiratory infections that cause pneumonia, COVID-19 can cause short-term lung damage. In more severe cases, the damage can last a long time. In fact, early data is showing that up to a third of COVID pneumonia patients have evidence of scarring on X-rays or lung testing a year after the infection.
Who Are At Risk Of Developing Covid
Some people are at a higher risk for developing COVID-19 pneumonia. It totally depends on the individual’s health conditions. Some of the other risk factors include:
Older adults or adults who are 65 years up are at an increased risk for serious illness due to COVID-19.
#Underlying Health Complications
An individual who is suffering from other health complications such as – asthma, diabetes, liver diseases, obesity, and kidney illnesses is at higher risk of catching COVID-19 pneumonia.
#Weak Immunity System
Another most important risk factor is a weakened immune system. Being immunocompromised can raise the risk of serious COVID-19 pneumonia disease.
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How Is Pneumonia Diagnosed
Sometimes pneumonia can be difficult to diagnose because the symptoms are so variable, and are often very similar to those seen in a cold or influenza. To diagnose pneumonia, and to try to identify the germ that is causing the illness, your doctor will ask questions about your medical history, do a physical exam, and run some tests.
Your doctor will ask you questions about your signs and symptoms, and how and when they began. To help figure out if your infection is caused by bacteria, viruses or fungi, you may be asked some questions about possible exposures, such as:
- Any recent travel
- Exposure to other sick people at home, work or school
- Whether you have recently had another illness
Your doctor will listen to your lungs with a stethoscope. If you have pneumonia, your lungs may make crackling, bubbling, and rumbling sounds when you inhale.
If your doctor suspects you may have pneumonia, they will probably recommend some tests to confirm the diagnosis and learn more about your infection. These may include:
- Blood tests to confirm the infection and to try to identify the germ that is causing your illness.
- Chest X-ray to look for the location and extent of inflammation in your lungs.
- Pulse oximetry to measure the oxygen level in your blood. Pneumonia can prevent your lungs from moving enough oxygen into your bloodstream.
- Sputum test on a sample of mucus taken after a deep cough, to look for the source of the infection.
Preventing Pneumonia In Older Adults
You can help your aging loved one prevent pneumonia by encouraging them to follow these steps:
- Get the pneumococcal vaccineTalk to the doctor about what type of pneumococcal vaccine is right for your aging parent.
- Get the flu shot each yearPneumonia can be a secondary infection after an initial bout of influenza. People who get the flu shot have a lower risk of developing pneumonia as a complication of the flu.
- Wash handsthoroughly and oftenEspecially before and after preparing food, before eating, and after using the bathroom.
- Practice good health habitsStay physically active, and eat a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins.
- Manage chronic conditionsConditions can include asthma, COPD, diabetes, and more.
- Dont smoke
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What Are The Signs And Symptoms Of Bacterial Versus Viral Pneumonia In Adults
Symptoms of pneumonia can range from mild sometimes called walking pneumonia to severe. How serious your case of pneumonia depends on the particular germ causing pneumonia, your overall health, and your age.
Bacterial pneumonia: Symptoms of bacterial pneumonia can develop gradually or suddenly. Symptoms include:
- High fever
Additional symptoms appearing about a day later include:
- Higher fever
- Shortness of breath
Debunked: 5 Myths About Pneumonia
Director of Vaccine Delivery at The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
Today the global health community recognizes the third annual World Pneumonia Day with the release of two new studies on pneumonia and events in more than 15 countries calling attention to the disease, which remains the world’s leading killer of young children. Yet despite renewed global attention and its dramatic toll, pneumonia remains one of the world’s least-understood conditions.
As we recommit ourselves to defeating this deadly disease on Nov. 12, let’s tackle a few of the leading myths head-on:
Pneumonia is really just a bad cold. In fact, it’s much worse. Pneumonia is an infection of your lungs that can require antibiotics or treatment in a hospital. A “common cold” usually lasts a few days or perhaps a week or two, and causes a runny nose, sore throat, sneezing and coughing. Pneumonia, on the other hand, kills more than 50,000 Americans and more than 1 million children worldwide each year.
The confusion exists because, at its start, pneumonia symptoms can be similar to those of a cold, including cough, fever and shortness of breath. Unfortunately, that’s where the similarities end. Left untreated, most colds will run their course as the body’s immune system naturally restores health. In contrast, ignoring early signs of bacterial pneumonia can be a death sentence.
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