An emphasis on preventative measures is required to reduce the risk of pneumonia in the elderly and, consequently, the related morbidity and death.
Age-related comorbidities and health issues are common. One such ailment that can affect an aged person’s quality of life and cause problems including a weakened immune system and weakness is pneumonia. According to data, there are 25–44 incidences of community-acquired pneumonia per 1000 senior people per year. In Asia, the death rate associated with this illness is 7.3%. More than ever, there is a need to increase public knowledge about how to prevent this ailment in the elderly, its symptoms, and the precautions that should be taken given their advanced age.
Observable Symptoms And Signs
In addition to their advanced age and weakened immune systems, older persons are more susceptible to the effects of air pollution. According to estimates, smoking and air pollution cause nearly 1.6 million pneumonia deaths in persons over 50. Cough, dyspnea, and fever are a few warning indicators to look out for. Since many of their current symptoms are similar to those of other disorders, their advanced age makes diagnosis more challenging. In this age bracket, the illness may manifest itself in several ways. For instance, older people with pneumonia may.
- temperature that is below average
- Dizziness or delirium
- a tendency to leak urine
- Having no appetite
- The elderly are also more vulnerable to pneumonia because of their fragility.
- prone to falling.
Pneumonia Types That Older People Are Most Likely To Contract
According to the pathogens that caused it and the location where it was contracted, there are three forms of pneumonia in old people.
- One can catch community-acquired pneumonia outside of a medical facility.
- They get healthcare-associated pneumonia when they’re in the hospital.
- When people breathe in food, saliva, or vomit into their lungs, aspiration pneumonia happens. Elderly persons who have swallowing issues are more vulnerable.
Taking Care Of This Ailment At Home
Pneumonia can occasionally be treated at home. Today, there are healthcare agencies that assist in managing this disease at home for the elderly through trained carers. Antibiotics are recommended when bacteria are to blame. Supportive therapy, such as oral hydration and other supportive care, is offered to patients who have viral pneumonia.
But, prevention is the best strategy
Additionally, attention must be given to preventative measures that might reduce the risk of pneumonia in the elderly and, therefore, the associated morbidity and death. Here are some things to keep in mind.
An crucial initial step in avoiding this syndrome is the pneumococcal immunisation. For those over 65, there are two types of pneumococcal immunisations available. If you have a pre-existing medical condition, it is crucial that you seek the advice of a physician. It is essential to get the influenza vaccination as well since pneumonia might become a consequence of the former.
Frequent Hand Washing
Since many bacterial and viral illnesses, including pneumonia, may be avoided with proper hand cleanliness.
Smoking damages the lungs and makes it more difficult to prevent or treat respiratory infections like pneumonia for smokers over the age of 65. This increases the necessity of breaking the habit.
For greater general health and well-being, the elderly need a balanced diet, consistent exercise, and adequate sleep. These behaviours will strengthen your immune system, enabling you to fight off potential infections or keep you healthy enough to prevent consequences.
The last word
The elderly are a vulnerable group, and effective preventative measures may make a big difference in the struggle against a disease like pneumonia. There are home healthcare professionals that can help folks who require assistance. The fundamentals are prompt diagnosis, a healthy lifestyle, and enough support.
(This article is authored by Dr Vishal Sehgal, President, Portea Medical)