Covid: ‘Three times’ more deaths than flu and pneumonia
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Pneumonia is an infection where the tiny air sacs in your lungs (alveoli) become inflamed. This can lead to symptoms such as cough and shortness of breath. Pneumonia can be serious for some groups, one of which is older adults.
In a study published in BMC, gastrointestinal complications and possible early symptoms was further analysed.
The study noted: “Development of gastrointestinal (GI) complications is adversely associated with prognosis in the critically ill.
“However, little is known about their impact on the outcome of non-critically ill patients.
In this study, we aimed to investigate the incidence of GI complications and their influence on prognosis of hospitalised pneumonia patients.”
The study looked at adult patients with a diagnosis of pneumonia from 2012 to 2014.
Medical records were reviewed to obtain patients’ demographics, physical signs, comorbidities, laboratory results, and clinical events.
The study found GI complications in the patients which included bowel distension, diarrhoea, GI bleeding and ileus.
The study concluded that GI complications are not commonly observed in a non-critical care setting; however, they still have a negative impact on prognosis of pneumonia patients, including higher mortality and prolonged length of hospital stay.
Typical symptoms of pneumonia in older individuals can differ from those in other age groups.
According to the NHS, it is of vital importance to be aware of the symptoms in order to treat the condition before severe illness.
As symptoms in older adults are often more subtle and can differ from normal pneumonia symptoms, the illness can be harder to recognise in this population.
Other symptoms of pneumonia include:
- Chest pain when you breathe or cough
- Confusion or changes in mental awareness
- Cough, which may produce phlegm
- Fever, sweating and shaking chills
- Lower than normal body temperature (in adults older than age 65 and people with weak immune systems)
- Shortness of breath.
Pneumonia can be difficult to diagnose because it shares many symptoms with other conditions, such as asthma.
Complications from pneumonia include respiratory failure, sepsis and lung abscess.
“If you have a long-term lung condition, or care for someone who does, it’s a good idea to have a flu jab every year. Flu can be very serious, and cause complications such as pneumonia,” advises the British Lung Foundation.
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