Pneumonia In Seniors: Things to Know
Pneumonia is a serious infection of the lungs that kills over 50,000 people in the United States yearly. The majority of the population affected by pneumonia are older adults over 65 years of age. This disease attacks the air sacs in the lungs, and causes them to inflate and fill with fluid.
The air sacs have the responsibility of moving oxygen from the lungs to the blood. The symptoms of pneumonia will vary with each older adult, and they can include fatigue, pain in the ribs or chest, a lower than normal body temperature, fever and chills, a cough that produces phlegm, disorientation and confusion, and shortness of breath. Home Care Garland has some advices for you;
Common in Older Adults
Pneumonia is more common in older adults for various reasons. One being that changes take place in the lungs as part of the aging process. Older adults do not always clear secretions from their lungs as they once did. To add to that, the immune system of older adults has weakened. This makes it more difficult for the body to fight off infections.
Seniors also have many health conditions that could put them at risk of having pneumonia more so than a younger person. Once a doctor has either done a blood test or X-Ray to determine if the senior has pneumonia, the treatment may include fluids, oxygen, medication, relief of pain, and the medical support that the older adult needs.
Ways to Prevent
There are ways that the older adult can prevent or reduce the risk of getting pneumonia. The first thing that older adults should do is to get vaccinated. The pneumonia vaccine has been upgraded to a shot that lasts for three years. All elderly adults over the age of 65 should get the flu and pneumococcal vaccine. Another prevention is to stop smoking. This does damage to the body in many ways, and the lungs are damaged significantly by this habit. Because the defense mechanism of the lungs have become compromised from smoking, the older adult is at a greater risk of getting pneumonia.
Making Immune System Better
Seniors should make a change to a healthy lifestyle. A healthy diet and exercise regimen can boost the immune system while also reducing the risk of having pneumonia. The symptoms of pneumonia in older adults can often be less and more mild than in a younger person. The older adult may not have the teeth chattering chills, high fever, or the phlegm ridden cough. What they will have is confusion, delirium, and a body temperature that is lower than normal.
Many of the other signs can often times be confused with a cold or the flu. It is important to take your senior loved one to the doctor as soon as a sign of something out of the ordinary is noticed. Many times an older adult is hospitalized because what they thought they were treating as a cold turned out to be pneumonia. After several days it had reached the final of four stages which is the critical stage that allowed both lungs to become infected.