Community-acquired pneumonia (CAP) is an increasing problem among the elderly. Multiple factors related to ageing, such as comorbidities, nutritional status and swallowing dysfunction have been implicated in the increased incidence of CAP in the older population.
Causes of Pneumonia in Elderly People Pneumonia is caused by exposure to germs, most often bacteria or a virus. People of all ages come into contact with the organisms that cause pneumonia, but that contact results in pneumonia more often and in a more aggressive form in seniors.
Pneumonia can be caused by a variety of germs, including bacteria, viruses, and fungi. Bacteria are one of the most common causes of pneumonia in adults. The exact type of germs that cause pneumonia in older adults can vary.
When someone infected with one of these germs sneezes or coughs, you might breathe the germs into your lungs. If your immune system doesn’t kill the germs first, the germs might grow and cause pneumonia. CAP can result from infection with many types of germs. These include bacteria, viruses, fungi, or parasites.
Common causes — Streptococcus pneumoniae (pneumococcus) and respiratory viruses are the most frequently detected pathogens in patients with CAP [8,16].
The symptoms of pneumonia can develop suddenly over 24 to 48 hours, or they may come on more slowly over several days. Common symptoms of pneumonia include: a cough – which may be dry, or produce thick yellow, green, brown or blood-stained mucus (phlegm)
Recurrent pneumonia most commonly occurs in patients with underlying lung disease such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) or bronchiectasis, immunocompromised patients, and those with a local obstructive process such as a tumor.
The three main causes of pneumonia are bacteria, viruses, or fungi. Treatment depends on the cause. Pneumonia is a type of infection that affects your lungs. It can affect one or both lungs.
Pneumonia can be spread in a number of ways. The viruses and bacteria that are commonly found in a child’s nose or throat, can infect the lungs if they are inhaled. They may also spread via air-borne droplets from a cough or sneeze. 5
Signs and symptoms of pneumonia may include: Chest pain when you breathe or cough. Confusion or changes in mental awareness (in adults age 65 and older) Cough, which may produce phlegm.
Pneumonia is contagious just like a cold or flu when it is caused by infectious microbes. However, pneumonia is not contagious when the cause is related to a type of poisoning like inhalation of chemical fumes.
Age, smoking, environmental exposures, malnutrition, previous CAP, chronic bronchitis/chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, asthma, functional impairment, poor dental health, immunosuppressive therapy, oral steroids, and treatment with gastric acid-suppressive drugs were definitive risk factors for CAP.
The estimated worldwide incidence of community-acquired pneumonia varies between 1.5 to 14 cases per 1000 person-years, and this is affected by geography, season, and population characteristics. In the United States, the annual incidence is 24.8 cases per 10,000 adults with higher rates as age increases.
Catching pneumonia coughs and sneezes – these launch tiny droplets of fluid containing germs into the air, which someone else can breathe in. touching an object and transferring germs on to it – someone else can touch this object and then touch their own mouth or nose.
How can I prevent CAP?
Pneumonia in the elderly happens fast and the prognosis is poor, and elderly are susceptible to severe Pneumonia. The mortality rate for severe pneumonia is as high as 20% . The principal cause of the death is respiratory insufficiency .