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Symptoms and Complications of Pneumococcal Disease
Pneumococcal disease can include many different types of infections. Symptoms depend on the part of the body that is infected. Most pneumococcal infections are mild. However, some can be deadly or result in long-term problems.
Symptoms of pneumococcal pneumonia, a lung infection, include:
- Fever and chills
- Rapid breathing or difficulty breathing
- Chest pain
Older adults with pneumococcal pneumonia may experience confusion or low alertness, rather than the more common symptoms listed above.
Complications of pneumococcal pneumonia include:
- Infection of the space between membranes that surround the lungs and chest cavity (empyema)
- Inflammation of the sac surrounding the heart (pericarditis)
- Blockage of the airway that allows air into the lungs (endobronchial obstruction), with collapse within the lungs (atelectasis) and collection of pus (abscess) in the lungs
Pneumococcal pneumonia kills about 1 in 20 who get it.
Symptoms of pneumococcal meningitis, an infection of the lining of the brain and spinal cord, include:
- Stiff neck
- Photophobia (eyes being more sensitive to light)
In babies, meningitis may cause poor eating and drinking, low alertness, and vomiting.
About 1 in 12 children and 1 in 7 older adults who get pneumococcal meningitis dies of the infection. Those who survive may have long-term problems, such as hearing loss or developmental delay.
Symptoms of pneumococcal bacteremia, a blood infection, include:
- Low alertness
About 1 out of 30 children with pneumococcal bacteremia die of it. Pneumococcal bacteremia kills about 1 out of 7 adults who get it. For those who survive, pneumococcal bacteremia can lead to loss of limb(s).
Symptoms of sepsis, the body’s extreme response to an infection, include:
- Confusion or disorientation
- Shortness of breath
- High heart rate
- Fever, shivering, or feeling very cold
- Extreme pain or discomfort
- Clammy or sweaty skin
Complications of sepsis include kidney failure and damage to the brain, lungs, or heart.
Call your clinician right away if you think you or your child might have a serious pneumococcal infection
Middle Ear Infection
Symptoms of middle ear infections (otitis media), which pneumococcal bacteria commonly cause, include:
- Ear pain
- A red, swollen ear drum
Ear infections are usually mild and are more common than the more severe forms of pneumococcal disease. However, some children develop repeated ear infections and may need ear tubes.
Symptoms of sinus infections include:
- Stuffy or runny nose
- Loss of the sense of smell
- Facial pain or pressure
- Postnasal drip (mucus building up in the back of the throat or nose)
Complications are rare, but include infection of the tissue surrounding the eyes, bone infection, and a painful collection of pus (abscess).
Chest infections – Symptoms, Diagnosis & Treatment from Healthily
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Chest infections are very common, especially during autumn and winter, or after a cold or flu.
Although most are mild and get better on their own, some cases can be very serious, even life-threatening.
The main symptoms of a chest infection are:
- a chesty cough
- breathing difficulties
- chest pain
It’s also common to get headaches and have a high temperature.
Find out more in symptoms of chest infection.
Types of chest infection
There are two main types of chest infection
- acute bronchitis
‘Acute’ means that the infection is a short-lived, one-off illness.
The symptoms of acute bronchitis and pneumonia are similar, but pneumonia symptoms can often be more severe and need medical attention.
When to see a doctor
Bronchitis usually gets better by itself, so there is no need to see a doctor. You should see a doctor if you suspect you have pneumonia.
It can be difficult to know if you have bronchitis or pneumonia as the symptoms are so similar. But it is more likely that you have pneumonia if your symptoms are severe.
There are a number of symptoms that mean you should see a doctor. They include:
- a high temperature (this is usually a sign of a more serious type of infection)
- confusion or disorientation
- a sharp pain in your chest
- coughing up blood-stained phlegm (thick mucus)
- your symptoms last longer than three weeks
Learn more in symptoms of chest infection.
Treating chest infections
A bout of bronchitis usually gets better on its own within seven to 10 days without any medicines.
If you suspect that you have pneuomnia, you should see a doctor.
If you have a chest infection, you should:
- get plenty of rest
- drink lots of fluid to prevent dehydration and to thin the mucus in your lungs, making it easier to cough up
- treat headaches, fever and aches and pains with paracetamolor ibuprofen
- stop smoking straight away
Don’t waste your money on cough medicines. There’s little evidence they work, and in any case, coughing helps you clear the infection more quickly by getting rid of the phlegm from your lungs.
If your throat is sore from coughing, you can relieve the discomfort with a warm drink of honey and lemon.
As bronchitis is usually caused by a virus, your recovery will rarely be helped by taking antibiotics. Taking antibiotics unnecessarily for bronchitis can do more harm than good by causing antibiotic resistance.
Pneumonia, unlike bronchitis, is often caused by a bacteria and may need treatment with antibiotics. If you have mild pneumonia, you can take antibiotics as tablets at home. If the pneumonia is more serious, antibiotics are given in hospital intravenously, that is through a drip into a vein.
Learn more in treatment of chest infection.
Preventing chest infections
There are measures you can take to help prevent chest infection, and to stop the spread of it to others.
Although chest infections aren’t as contagious as other common infections such as flu, you can pass them on to others through coughing and sneezing. So if you have a chest infection, it’s important to cover your mouth when you cough or sneeze, and to wash your hands regularly. Throw away used tissues immediately.
If you smoke, the best thing you can do to prevent a chest infection is to stop. Smoking damages your lungs and weakens your defences against infection.
If you are in a high risk group for chest infection, for example you are over 65, your doctor may recommend certain vaccinations. Learn more in prevention of chest infection.
Chest infections symptoms
Therre are two main types of chest infection in adults. Acute bronchitis, and, less common, pneumonia.
Acute bronchitis is usually a mild illness that resolves itself without the need for medical treatment.
Symptoms of acute bronchitis include:
- a persistent chesty cough
- coughing up yellow or green phlegm (thick mucus)
- breathlessness on exertion (above the usual level)
- dry mouth
- high temperature (fever) of 38C (100.4F) or above (although in some people, such as the elderly, the temperature may fall)
- loss of appetite
The cough usually lasts seven to ten days, although it can persist for up to three weeks.
Acute bronchitis often causes headaches and a sense of feeling generally unwell. As well as being caused by the infection, these symptoms can also sometimes be caused by dehydration. It is therefore important to drink plenty of fluid.
Learn more in bronchitis.
Common symptoms of pneumonia include:
- difficulty breathing (breaths are rapid and shallow)
- a cough that brings up phlegm (thick mucus)
- rapid heartbeat (tachycardia)
- high temperature (fever) of 38C (100.4F) or above
- chest pain
Less common symptoms of pneumonia include:
- coughing up blood
- loss of appetite
- joint and muscle pain
- a blue tinge to the skin (cyanosis)
Sometimes, elderly people with pneumonia may become confused and disorientated.
Learn more in pneumonia.
When to seek medical advice
If you suspect that you have pneumonia, you should see a doctor.
The symptoms of acute bronchitis and pneumonia can be similar, but pneumonia symptoms are usually more severe.
See your doctor if:
- you have a high temperature (this is usually a sign of a more serious type of infection)
- you feel so unwell that you are unable to manage and cope with your normal daily activities
- you feel confused and disorientated
- you experience symptoms of breathlessness when you are at rest, or you become more breathless than you would expect during physical activity
- you have a sharp pain in your chest
- you cough up blood-stained phlegm (thick mucus)
- your symptoms last longer than three weeks
- you have a weakened immune system due to another condition, such as HIV, or as the result of treatment, such as chemotherapy
Also contact your doctor if you have a chronic (long-term) health condition that could make you more vulnerable to the effects of a chest infection such as:
- heart disease, where the blood supply to the heart is reduced
- diabetes, where the body does not produce enough insulin or cannot make use of insulin in the right way
- kidney disease, where the kidneys lose some of their ability to filter toxins out of the blood
- asthma, where a number of substances, such as dust mites or pollen, can cause the lungs to become inflamed, leading to breathing difficulties
- chronic obstructive pulmonary disease COPD), a general term for a group of lung conditions that cause serious breathing problems
Chest infections causes
A chest infection is an infection of the lungs or airways.
Most cases of acute bronchitis are caused by viruses. Most cases of pneumonia are caused by bacteria.
To understand chest infection, it can help to understand more about how the lungs work.
Your lungs are like two large sponges that are filled with tubes. As you breathe in, you take in oxygen through your nose and mouth. It then goes through a tube in your neck, called the windpipe or trachea.
The trachea splits into two tubes, one for each lung. These are called the primary bronchi. The bronchi divide into smaller and smaller bronchi which have tiny air sacs (alveoli) at the end. The oxygen is passed into your blood from the alveoli, before being pumped around your body by your heart.
As well as oxygen, bacteria and viruses in the air can also be passed down into your lungs. This usually does not cause problems because your immune system (the body’s natural defence against infection) is able to kill the bacteria or viruses.
However, infection can occasionally take hold, particularly if your immune system has been weakened by other conditions, or your lungs have been irritated by cigarette smoke.
Acute bronchitis is a temporary inflammation of the trachea and the major bronchi, caused by infection.
The inflammation, which can sometimes last for up to three weeks, causes swelling of the airways and a build-up of phlegm (thick mucus) that is cleared from the airways by coughing.
Most cases of acute bronchitis are caused by viruses, although sometimes they are caused by bacteria.
Pneumonia is an infection of the tissues of the lung. Germs that cause infections, such as pneumonia, are often passed around in the community. In some people, the germs cause pneumonia to develop.
In adults, the most common cause of pneumonia is a type of bacterium called Streptococcus pneumoniae. This form of pneumonia is sometimes called pneumococcal pneumonia.
Less commonly, other types of bacteria can cause pneumonia, including:
- Haemophilus influenzae
- Staphylococcus aureus
Viruses can also cause pneumonia, most commonly the respiratory syncytial virus (RSV). Other viral causes include:
- varicella-zoster (the virus that causes chickenpox)
- the flu (influenza) type A or B virus
Risk factors for pneumonia
Viral pneumonia tends to be more common in young children than in adults.
Some groups of people have a higher risk of developing pneumonia, such as:
- babies and very young children
- elderly people
- people who smoke
- people with other health conditions
- people with a weakened immune system (the body’s natural defence against infection)
Other health conditions that increase the risk of pneumonia developing can include:
- another lung condition, such as asthma or cystic fibrosis
- a heart condition
- a kidney or liver condition
- a lowered immune system
Your immune system can be lowered as a result of:
- a recent illness, such as flu
- treatment for cancer, such as chemotherapy
- taking medicines that suppress the immune system after an organ transplant
- a health condition, such as HIV or AIDS
Diagnosing chest infections
Your doctor can usually diagnose acute bronchitis and pneumonia.
A medical diagnosis of acute bronchitis is not usually needed, unless your symptoms are particularly severe or last longer than three weeks.
Acute bronchitis is usually a mild illness that goes away on its own, so there is usually no need to see a doctor.
If you do see your doctor, they will usually be able to make a diagnosis by asking about your symptoms and listening to your chest using a stethoscope (a piece of medical equipment that is used to listen to the heart and lungs).
Ruling out other conditions
In confirming a diagnosis of acute bronchitis, your doctor may need to rule out other lung infections, such as pneumonia, which has similar symptoms to bronchitis.
If your doctor thinks that you may have pneumonia, you will probably need to have a chest X-ray. They may also take a sample of mucus for testing.
If an undiagnosed underlying condition is suspected, such as asthma or emphysema (damage to the small airways in your lungs), your doctor may suggest that you have a pulmonary function test.
If you have a pulmonary function test, your doctor will ask you to take a deep breath before blowing into a device called a spirometer, which measures the volume of air in your lungs. A decreased lung capacity may indicate that you have an underlying health problem.
If you suspect that you have pneumonia, you should see a doctor.
To help make a diagnosis, your doctor will ask you about your symptoms. For example, they may ask you:
- whether you are breathing faster than usual (respiratory rate)
- whether you feel breathless
- how long you have had your cough
- whether you are coughing up phlegm (thick mucus) and what colour it is
- whether the pain in your chest is worse when you breathe in or out
Your doctor will probably use a stethoscope to listen to the back and front of your chest to check for any crackling or rattling sounds. They may also tap your chest and listen to the sound that is produced. If your lungs are filled with fluid, they will produce a different sound compared with normal, healthy lungs.
Your blood pressure will also be checked because an unusually low blood pressure (hypotension) may be a sign that you have a more serious type of pneumonia.
Your doctor may also carry out a test called a pulse oximetry test. This test is used to measure how much oxygen your lungs are able to breathe in. A sensor is put on your fingertip, ear or toe. The sensor sends out light waves and a computer that is connected to the sensor measures how the light waves are being absorbed.
Oxygen can affect how the light waves are being absorbed. Therefore, by analysing the results, the computer can quickly determine how much oxygen is present in your blood. Unusually low levels of oxygen may be a sign that you have a more serious type of pneumonia.
Further testing is usually only needed if your chest infection symptoms are severe. A chest X-ray can highlight the extent to which pneumonia has affected your lungs. Other tests that your doctor may suggest include:
- sputum test, where you cough up some phlegm (mucus) into a container so that it can be tested in a laboratory
- blood tests
The samples that are taken during sputum and blood tests will be analysed in a laboratory to help identify the germ that is causing your infection.
So that treatment is not delayed until the test results are back, your doctor will usually begin treatment with broad-spectrum antibiotics, which are known to be effective against a wide range of bacteria.
Once the germ that is causing your infection has been identified, your doctor may adjust your treatment accordingly.
Treating a chest infection
Most cases of acute bronchitis are mild and get better on their own, so symptoms can be managed at home. If you have pneumonia, you may be treated at home or in hospital.
In most cases of acute bronchitis, no medical treatment is needed. You can help to manage symptoms at home:
- get plenty of rest
- drink plenty of fluid to prevent dehydration and to thin the mucus in your lungs, making it easier to cough up
- treat headaches, fever and aches and pains with paracetamol or ibuprofen (ibuprofen is not recommended if you have asthma)
- stop smoking: it aggravates bronchitis and increases your risk of developing a more severe condition.
There is little evidence that cough medicines work, and coughing enables you to clear the excess phlegm (mucus) from your lungs. Therefore, suppressing your cough may make the infection last longer.
A warm drink of honey and lemon may help relieve the discomfort that is caused by coughing.
There are circumstances in which you should see a doctor, including if your symptoms are so severe they stop you getting on with daily activities, or if they last longer than three weeks. Learn more about when to see a doctor in symptoms of chest infection.
Your doctor will not routinely prescribe antibiotic treatment for acute bronchitis for a number of important reasons:
- Most cases of acute bronchitis are caused by viral infections, which means that antibiotics will have no effect.
- You are almost as likely to experience a side effect from taking antibiotics, such as vomiting and diarrhoea, as you are to receive any benefit from the treatment.
- The more antibiotics are used to treat mild conditions, the greater the likelihood that the bacteria will develop resistance to antibiotics and go on to cause more serious infections.
Many experts believe that the reason there are so many dangerous strains of antibiotic-resistant bacteria, such as MRSA and multi-drug resistance tuberculosis (MDR-TB), is because antibiotics have been overused in the past to treat mild conditions.
The use of antibiotics is usually only recommended if it is thought that you have an increased risk of developing a secondary lung infection, such as pneumonia, due to factors such as:
- being over 75 years of age and having a high temperature (fever) of 38C (100. 4F) or above
- having long-term problems with your lungs or heart, such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) or heart failure
- having a weakened immune system (immunocompromised) as a result of a condition, such as diabetes or cancer, or due to certain types of medical treatment, such as chemotherapy
If you are prescribed antibiotics for bronchitis, it is likely to be a five-day course of amoxicillin, oxytetracycline or doxycycline. Possible side effects of these medicines include:
If you have pneumonia, depending on how serious your condition is, you may be treated at home or at hospital. Your doctor will make a detailed assessment based on how ill you are and the likelihood that you will become more seriously ill.
Most doctors use a scoring system that is known as the CRB-65 score to assess the potential seriousness of pneumonia. CRB-65 stands for:
- Confusion. Signs of mental confusion may mean that you have a more serious infection.
- Respiratory rate. Your respiratory rate is how many breaths you take in a minute (more than 30 breaths a minute may be a sign that your lungs are not working properly).
- Blood pressure. Low blood pressure can be a sign of a more serious infection.
- 65 refers to whether you are 65 years of age or over. Older people are more vulnerable to the effects of pneumonia
Each one of the above criteria has a score of one, which added together make up the total CRB-65 score.
- A CRB-65 score of zero means that you have a low risk of developing complications and that you can usually be treated at home.
- A CRB-65 score of between one and two means that you have a medium risk of developing complications and that you should have a same-day assessment by an expert in treating pneumonia. Depending on the results of the assessment, you may be able to be treated at home or you may need to be admitted to hospital.
- A CRB-65 score of three or more means that you have a high risk of developing complications and you should be immediately admitted to hospital for treatment.
Treatment at home
If you are being treated at home, you will usually be prescribed a seven-day course of antibiotics, typically amoxicillin. If you are allergic to amoxicillin, alternative antibiotics, such as doxycycline, can be used.
The most common side effects of the antibiotics that are used to treat pneumonia are:
However, these side effects are usually mild.
Less commonly, doxycycline can make your skin more sensitive to the effects of sunlight. Therefore, minimise your exposure to direct sunlight and avoid using sun lamps and sunbeds if you are taking doxycycline.
If you are prescribed antibiotics, it is important to finish taking your course, even if you are feeling better. Stopping the course too soon could cause the pneumonia to return.
The steps listed below may help ease your pneumonia symptoms.
- Painkillers, such as paracetamol or ibuprofen, will help relieve pain and reduce a high temperature.
- As with acute bronchitis, cough medicines are not recommended for treating the symptoms of pneumonia. Coughing enables you to clear phlegm (thick mucus) from your lungs, so trying to stop your cough could make the infection last longer. A warm drink of honey and lemon may help relieve the discomfort that is caused by coughing.
- Drink plenty of fluids to avoid becoming dehydrated.
- Get plenty of rest to help your body recover.
- If you smoke, stop. Smoking damages your lungs, so this is a good opportunity to stop smoking altogether.
Treatment at hospital
If your symptoms are moderate, you can usually be treated with antibiotic tablets (oral antibiotics).
If your symptoms are severe, treatment usually involves giving you antibiotics directly into your vein through a drip in your arm (intravenous antibiotics). You may also be given additional fluids to stop you becoming dehydrated and oxygen to help you breathe.
Depending on how well you respond to treatment, it may be possible to switch from intravenous to oral antibiotics after a few days.
Most people who are treated in hospital required a 7-10 day course of antibiotics. How long it will take before you are well enough to return home will depend on your general state of health and whether you experienced any complications.
It is usually recommended that you attend a follow-up examination six weeks after the onset of your symptoms to check that the pneumonia has not caused any serious or permanent damage to your lungs.
The follow-up examination usually involves taking a chest X-ray so the state of your lungs can be assessed.
Chest infection complications
Both acute bronchitis and pneumonia can cause a variety of complications.
Acute bronchitis can cause a secondary infection in your lungs. The lungs can be weakened by the original infection and become more vulnerable to secondary infection by bacteria.
If you develop a secondary infection, it can be more serious than acute bronchitis. It can usually be treated with antibiotics. Occasionally, acute bronchitis can lead to pneumonia, particularly if you have other health conditions.
See your doctor if:
- you develop symptoms of a high temperature (fever) of 38C (100.4F) or above, or your existing high temperature suddenly worsens
- you become drowsy, confused or disorientated
- you develop chest pains
- your breathing suddenly becomes more rapid
- you become short of breath
- your cough lasts more than three weeks
- you have recurring bouts of acute bronchitis
Pleural effusion is a common complication of pneumonia that affects around 1 in 2 people who are admitted to hospital for moderate to severe pneumonia.
A pleural effusion is where an excess amount of fluid gathers inside the double-layered membrane (covering) that surrounds the lungs, known as the pleura.
The fluid can place pressure on the lungs, making breathing difficult. Pleural effusion will usually resolve itself when pneumonia is treated.
In cases of pleural effusion, it is usually recommended that a fluid sample is taken and checked to determine whether the fluid has become infected (see below). If no infection is present, a ‘watch and wait’ strategy is usually recommended because most cases of pleural effusion will be resolved once the underlying pneumonia infection has passed.
In around 10% of pneumonia cases that are treated in hospital, the fluids that make up a pleural effusion will become infected by bacteria. This is known as empyema. The bacteria can cause a build-up of pus, which can sometimes reach up to around a quarter of a pint (142.5mm)
Symptoms of empyema include:
- chest pain, which is made worse when breathing in
- dry cough
- high temperature (fever) of 38C (100.4F) or above
- excessive sweating, particularly at night
- shortness of breath
- general sense of feeling unwell
Empyema is usually treated using a combination of antibiotics and a procedure that drains the pus out of the pleura. This is usually done by making a small incision (cut) in your chest (under a local anaesthetic), and then inserting a tube into the pleura to drain away the pus and fluid.
The most serious cases of empyema may require surgery to remove the pus and repair any underlying damage to your pleura and lungs.
A lung abscess is a rare complication of pneumonia and is mostly seen in people who have a serious, pre-existing illness or those with a history of severe alcohol misuse.
A lung abscess is a pus-filled cavity that develops inside the tissue of the lungs. The symptoms of a lung abscess are the same as those of severe pneumonia. In addition, you may begin to cough up unpleasant-smelling phlegm (thick mucus) and experience swelling in your fingers and toes.
Most cases of lung abscesses can be treated using antibiotics. This usually involves an initial course of intravenous antibiotics (directly into a vein through a drip) followed by oral antibiotics (tablets) for four to six weeks.
Most people who have a lung abscess will experience an improvement in their symptoms within three to four days. It is important to finish your recommended course of antibiotics, even if you feel perfectly healthy, to prevent re-infection of your lungs.
Around 10% of people will require surgical treatment because they fail to respond to the antibiotics. Surgery usually involves draining the pus out of the abscess or removing the affected section of the lung.
Another rare and serious complication of pneumonia is metastatic infection. Metastatic infection means that the infection has spread from the lungs to another part of the body.
The first place that an infection usually spreads to is the blood, which is known as septicaemia.
Symptoms of septicaemia include:
- high temperature (fever) of 38C (100.4F) or above
- fast heartbeat (tachycardia)
- fast breathing
- low blood pressure (hypotension) which will cause you to feel dizzy when you stand up
- a change in mental behaviour, such as confusion or disorientation
- reduced urine flow
- cold, clammy skin
- pale skin
- loss of consciousness
Once your blood has become infected, it is possible for the infection to spread to other organs in your body, such as:
These types of metastatic infections are usually very serious and require aggressive treatment with high-dose intravenous antibiotics.
Preventing a chest infection
Good hygiene can help stop the spread of the viruses and bacteria that cause chest infection.
If you are at higher risk of chest infection, your doctor may recommend certain vaccinations.
To reduce the risk of spreading the viruses and bacteria that cause chest infection:
- cover your mouth and nose when you cough or sneeze
- wash your hands with soap and warm water regularly
- throw away used tissues immediately
Learn more in [how to prevent germs spreading].
If you are at higher risk of chest infection, your doctor may recommend that you have vaccinations for influenza (flu) and pneumococcal infections (a bacteria that can cause pneumonia, meningitis and infection of the blood).
The vaccination should help prevent you getting chest infections in the future. Vaccinations are usually recommended for:
- people over 65 years of age
- people with either chronic respiratory, heart, renal or liver conditions
- people with diabetes
- people with sickle-cell anaemia (an inherited blood disorder)
- people with conditions that affect the immune system, such as HIV
- children under five years of age
If you are a smoker, the best thing you can do to prevent developing a chest infection is to stop. Smoking damages your lungs and weakens their defences against infection.
Excessive and prolonged alcohol misuse is known to weaken your lung’s natural defences against infections (their immune response), making you more vulnerable to pneumonia
One study found that 45% of people who were admitted to hospital for pneumonia had an alcohol misuse problem. Alcohol misuse is defined as regularly drinking over the recommended weekly limits (21 units of alcohol for men and 14 units of alcohol for women).
Alcohol also increases your risk of pneumonia being more serious. It is estimated that people who misuse alcohol are three to seven times more likely to die from pneumonia than the general population.
If you drink alcohol, do not exceed the recommended daily limits (three to four units a day for men and two to three units a day for women).
Contact your doctor if you are finding it difficult to moderate your drinking. Counselling services and medication are available to help you reduce your alcohol intake. Learn more in alcohol misuse.
Eating a healthy diet is known to strengthen the immune system, making you less vulnerable to developing chest infections. A low-fat, high-fibre diet is recommended, including whole grains and plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables (at least five portions a day).
the risks, the outcomes and the Presidential candidate
Recent events have shone a spotlight on pneumonia, and sparked a debate as to whether those who develop this condition can be described as medically fit to hold high office.
But what are the realities and risks of pneumonia?
Pneumonia is an acute infection of the lungs. It is diagnosed by symptoms of infection (including a high, or sometimes low, temperature) accompanied by symptoms that suggest the infection heralds from the lungs (including breathlessness, a cough productive of purulent sputum and chest pain) plus indications on chest images that are compatible with infection.
Pneumonia is very common; it affects approximately 400,000 people in the UK each year: it can also be very serious and is the leading infectious cause of death in developed countries. Despite global campaigns to recognise severe infections in patients and initiate early treatment, mortality rates have stubbornly failed to improve over the last decade.
Patients with the poorest prognosis are those who go on to develop sepsis. Sepsis is defined as life threatening organ dysfunction caused by a dysregulated immune response to infection. Here, the body’s own defences harm host tissue and compromise blood flow leading to a low blood pressure, confusion and organ failure. At worst, sepsis progresses into septic shock where the blood pressure remains low and the body’s organs fail despite treatment.
Pneumonia is caused by bacteria invading the lung, but we breathe in bacteria all the time and usually this does not result in infection. Lung tissue is protected by a number of defences, however, once these defences are breached, the body relies on its most abundant immune cell, the neutrophil, to clear infection.
Neutrophils are short-lived cells that are produced in large numbers by the bone marrow, enter the blood stream and, during infection, accurately migrate from the blood into tissues where they clear bacteria by ingesting them. They contain an arsenal of weaponry, including enzymes and reactive oxygen species that are bacteriocidal, perforating the bacterial cell wall and dismantling its internal contents. Proteins released from neutrophils can be damaging to host tissue and therefore our immune system relies on our neutrophils reacting accurately and decisively during invasive infection, then shutting down and being cleared from the tissue, to avoid harm to self.
Pneumonia occurs when our host defences cannot adequately repel infection. This can occur in anyone if the bacteria that enter the lungs are virulent enough. Pneumonia is seen in healthy, young adults and in such cases, although mortality rates are low, deaths still occur.
In many cases, the patient has risk factors that have predisposed them to disease and that are associated with poorer outcomes. These include the presence of lung disease (where inflammation and structural changes to the lung support bacterial invasion), suppression of the immune system (which can occur in common conditions such as diabetes, as a result of some diseases of the bone marrow or blood and as a side effect of some medications), but the most common risk factor is age.
Older people have a greater risk of pneumonia, have a higher burden of sepsis and experience worse outcomes. This is partly because older people are more likely to have the medical conditions that predispose to pneumonia but also because our immune system becomes less effective over time.
Termed ‘immunosenescence’, by the sixth decade of life there is a progressive decline in how effectively our immune system can target infection and how quickly resultant inflammation can resolve. Our research suggests that neutrophil functions decline with age; less able to reach a source of infection and clear bacteria. This impairment deteriorates further during lung infections including pneumonia until, during sepsis, there is immunoparesis. Here, neutrophils fail to amount an effective response to infection.
However, these findings are not ubiquitous with age. Some elderly people demonstrate immune functions that are more in keeping with those of a much younger person, suggesting it is not our chronological age, but perhaps our physiological age that dictates how well our immune system works. Our research suggests frail older people experience a greater decline in immune function compared with healthy older adults, and that factors such as physical activity may positively impact on our immune system.
In young adults, most cases of pneumonia resolve without any impediment in long-term health. In older adults, recovery can be more complex with evidence of health consequences if pneumonia and sepsis are experienced in old age. Our own research suggests immune function does not fully recover in patients over 60 years of age, even at six weeks following the infective episode. In keeping with this, older pneumonia patients experience high re-infection rates, with up to 30 per cent readmitted to hospital due to lung infections and sepsis. Post-pneumonia, older patients also experience higher rates of cardiovascular disease including heart attacks and strokes, the risk of which persists for a number of years after the infective event. These poor health outcomes are believed to be a by-product of a poorly functioning immune system – part of immunosenescense.
Most bacteria that cause pneumonia can be killed by antibiotics commonly used in clinical practice, and yet people still die with this condition. In light of this, there is a pressing need to identify strategies that can improve how the immune system works in age and during infections before sepsis develops. However, to date, there are no effective treatments that improve immune cell function when severe sepsis is established.
Recent images of Hilary Clinton appear to show her requiring help to stand at a public event, and this could suggest the presence of sepsis alongside the confirmed diagnosis of pneumonia. These images have fuelled speculation as to her health in general.
Mrs Clinton’s chronological age may place her in a category that is more at risk of poor health outcomes following pneumonia compared with a younger adult, but risk is not certainty. Ageing is heterogenous, anyone can develop pneumonia, and although some experience health issues following this condition, many do not. Perhaps the silver lining of this media spotlight might be increased public awareness of pneumonia and increased interest in finding new treatments for this potentially serious condition, which would be of significant global benefit.
Dr Elizabeth Sapey
Senior Lecturer, The Institute of Inflammation and Ageing, University of Birmingham and Consultant in Respiratory Medicine, Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Birmingham
Pneumonia Can Increase Danger to the Heart
Pneumonia is a common lung infection with more than one million people admitted to the hospital for treatment each year, according to the Department of Health and Human Services. And, research published in JAMA found that the risk of cardiovascular disease increases for up to a year following a pneumonia infection.
“An acute infection like pneumonia increases the stress on the heart and can lead to a cardiac event like heart failure, heart attack or arrhythmias,” said Weston Harkness, DO, a cardiology fellow at Samaritan Cardiology – Corvallis.
For a healthy person, a case of pneumonia is very unlikely to lead to a cardiac event. The danger, according to Dr. Harkness, is for people with other cardiac risk factors such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes and tobacco use.
“The inflammatory response in the body during an infection can increase the risk of a cardiovascular event, but there is some evidence that pneumonia specifically can contribute to plaque breaking off the artery walls and causing a clot which can lead to a heart attack,” said Dr. Harkness.
Pneumonia occurs when the lungs become infected. It may follow a cold or the flu. Dr. Harkness recommends a flu vaccine to help prevent pneumonia. For some people, a pneumonia vaccine may also be appropriate.
If you’ve had lingering cold or flu symptoms for more than two weeks that don’t seem to be getting better, visit the doctor to make sure everything is okay. If you know you have cardiovascular risk factors, talk to your doctor about whether you should take aspirin following a respiratory infection to lower your risk of a clot.
Learn when getting a pneumonia vaccine makes sense and how to differentiate between pneumonia and a cold.
Find out why Good Samaritan was recognized in Oregon for its care of patients with pneumonia.
Read more about pneumonia and heart disease in our health library.
How to Tell if You Have Pneumonia – 8 Pneumonia Symptoms
When cold and flu season strikes, pneumonia isn’t far behind. The same viruses that make you sneeze and spike a fever can also infect your lungs. And doctors say if you’re fighting a cold or the flu, you’re more susceptible to acquiring a bacterial form of pneumonia too.
But don’t be lulled into thinking you’re safe from infection once winter is done. Despite a seasonal uptick, this common lung disease can occur any time of the year. Pneumonia is spread through coughs, sneezes, and touch, or by breathing germy air. You can also get it from inhaling foreign matter into the lungs.
Young children, older adults, and people with compromised immune systems are particularly vulnerable, according to the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI). But even healthy young adults can land in the hospital or die from pneumonia when it’s severe. That said, symptoms to be on the lookout for include cough, difficulty breathing, and fever, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
RELATED: 11 Signs It’s More Serious Than the Common Cold
“The pneumonias that a person can get will differ at different points in their life and with different risk factors,” explains Aaron Glatt, MD, chief of infectious diseases at South Nassau Communities Hospital in Oceanside, New York, and a spokesperson for the Infectious Diseases Society of America.
Normally, your nose and airways filter out unwanted bugs. But when these invaders pass through to one or both lungs (often after you’ve had a cold or the flu), or if your immune system is too weak to defend against an infectious assault, tiny air sacs in your lungs, called alveoli, become inflamed and fill with fluid or pus.
Different types of pneumonia strike different people. Some tend to occur when folks are in the hospital for something else. This is known as “hospital-acquired pneumonia” or “healthcare-associated pneumonia.” When food, liquid, saliva, or vomit makes its way into the lungs, it’s called “aspiration pneumonia.” The most common type is community-acquired pneumonia, also called walking pneumonia, because it’s a milder type of infection.
Pneumonia in adults is usually due to a bacterial infection. Streptococcus pneumoniae (also known as pneumococcus) is often responsible. Viruses are more typically the culprit in children. Causes of viral pneumonia include influenza (the flu virus), rhinovirus (the common cold), and RSV (respiratory syncytial virus, which is common in infants and children). Fungi and chemicals may also infect the lungs.
Vaping, which has been linked to deaths across the country, has also been associated with certain types of pneumonia, including chemical pneumonia and lipoid pneumonia. Chemical pneumonia can develop after inhaling chemicals that cause your lungs to become inflamed, and lipoid pneumonia is caused when lipids (which are, essentially, fatty acids) enter the lungs, causing them to become inflamed. Symptoms for both lipoid and chemical pneumonia are similar to those that accompany bacterial pneumonia (which include cough, shortness of breath, fever, shallow breathing, chest pain, and loss of appetite, according to the American Lung Association).
RELATED: How to Keep Your Lungs Healthy, According to Pulmonologists
Dr. Glatt says the signs and symptoms of pneumonia can vary too: “It’s a constellation of symptoms that the doctor looks at, not one particular finding.” When making a diagnosis, your doctor will consider your physical exam, diagnostic test results, and medical history.
Here are some common signs and symptoms of pneumonia. If you’ve been troubled by any of these, go get checked out!
Diabetes and Lung Conditions – Tuberculosis, Pneumonia, COPD
Eating fatty foods and living an unhealthy lifestyle, such as being a smoker, can eventually restrict the lungs’ ability to breath, and these negative effects on the lungs tend be more common people with diabetes.
The average adult breathing rate at rest is between 12 and 20 breaths per minute.
This averages about 8 million breaths per year, and each one is needed to keep us alive.
Lung infections and the immune system
Diabetes patients, especially those with type 1 diabetes , have an immune system with a lower ability to respond to and deal with infections of any type.
This means they are more prone to illnesses than the general population.
As a result, people with diabetes are more likely to catch a cold, flu, or other communicable illness and will likely take longer to recover. This can have a significant effect on the blood sugar levels and overall diabetes management
Two of the biggest lung infections are pneumonia and tuberculosis, which can both cause huge problems to your health.
Pneumonia is caused by an infection and consequential inflammation which puts pressure on the lungs and makes it hard to breath.
The most common form of pneumonia is caused by a bacterial infection, named Streptococcus pneumoniae. Despite popular belief, pneumonia is not caught because of cold weather
At most, cold weather impairs our immune systems to the point where bacteria already in our lungs can colonise and cause an infection.
Other than uncontrolled diabetes, kidney , liver or heart conditions as well as asthma or cystic fibrosis can all increase the risk of catching pneumonia due to their individual effects on the lungs and by making them more susceptible to infections.
Symptoms of pneumonia
The typical symptoms of pneumonia include:
- Breathing difficulties
- Rapid heartbeat
- Extreme temperature reactions – shivering or profuse sweating
- Loss of appetite
- Chest pain
Pneumonia is a dangerous disease that can have huge consequences.
Left untreated, it can lead to complications that largely involve fluid in the lungs or in the chest cavity, or swelling which restricts breathing, so if you think you are suffering from it you must consult your doctor.
A combination of rest and antibiotics is usually sufficient to defeat a mild case of pneumonia and leave you feeling better. If your symptoms disappear, you must continue taking your course of medication until the end, otherwise the infection could come back.
And if it does return, the bacteria infecting you could well be resistant to that particular antibiotic, so there will be one less effective treatment to help you.
More severe cases of pneumonia can require hospital treatment, and may even necessitate surgical procedures to remove fluid build up.
Tuberculosis is caused by a bacterial infection and is very contagious. However, not everyone who gets infected with the bacteria develop tuberculosis.
For those of us in the UK, tuberculosis is fairly rare, although cases have been steadily increasing in recent years having been nearly stamped out.
The infection destroys the bodily tissue it is in contact with, and this is often in the lungs (Pulmonary Tuberculosis), although it can occur elsewhere in the body (Extrapulmonary Tuberculosis). Cases of tuberculosis can be fatal.
How do you catch tuberculosis?
The bacteria that cause tuberculosis is very resilient and can survive for an exceptionally long time outside of the body. This means it can live on surfaces for a long time, such as on handles on public transport or in public restrooms.
It can also be passed through the air, and is often inhaled as miniscule droplets that someone infected with the bacteria has sneezed or breathed out.
What are the symptoms of tuberculosis?
There are several common symptoms of tuberculosis. These include:
- Weight loss
- Lack of Appetite
- Foul smelling mucus
Sometimes symptoms may not present themselves until the disease has become quite developed.
Normally sufferers of tuberculosis are referred to an entire team of specialists, similar to a diabetes health care team This is because of how serious the disease is and so people with experience in dealing with it are trusted to advise on each independent case.
Curing the disease and beating the infection usually requires a long course of several antibiotics, usually lasting about six months.
Just as with pneumonia, or any bacterial infection, it is highly important to follow out the course of the prescription medication, otherwise the bacteria could return and develop immunity to the drugs.
COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disorder)
Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disorder (COPD) is a limitation of breath, due to swelling, inflammation and subsequent scarring of the lungs. It is the most common lung disorder in the UK.
What causes COPD?
The most common cause of COPD is smoking According to the NHS, 80% of around 3 million UK sufferers of COPD are, or have bee, smokers.
By inhaling the smoke, the lungs are irritated and inflammatory chemicals are released to help combat the irritation.
Eventually, the repeated inflammation can cause scarring in the delicate walls of the lungs, and this will eventually make them lose elasticity, reducing the ability of them to breath out, and thus their ability to breath back in again, limiting the amount of oxygen transferred into the bloodstream.
There are links suggesting that the lungs of people with diabetes also lose this elasticity and can have trouble breathing. If you combine this with the effect of smoking on the lungs, then the elasticity can become severely reduced. It is this combination that makes smoking so dangerous for diabetics.
Symptoms of COPD
The main symptoms include:
- Breathlessness, particularly when exercising
- Wheezing or whistling breaths
- Phlegmy cough
- Chest infections
These symptoms are fairly common and, in cases of COPD, are often referred to as a “smokers cough”. COPD is persistent and so differs from a common, “chesty” cold.
There is no cure for COPD, and medication can only work to relieve the symptoms. There are many types available for different symptoms, and your GP will be able to talk you through them.
The best way to prevent further damage, if you are a smoker, is to quit.
Preventing lung conditions
Keeping blood glucose levels within normal ranges and avoiding hyperglycemia will help to prevent the spread of bacteria. The less glucose there is floating around your bloodstream, the less glucose the bacteria will have to feed off.
Good general hygiene and a healthy lifestyle (not smoking) will help to prevent your lungs from becoming damaged and help to stop the spread of harmful bacteria.
Infections may be a ‘trigger’ for heart attack, stroke
(Rawpixel, Envato Elements)
Diabetes, high blood pressure and elevated cholesterol are well-known risk factors for cardiovascular disease. But what about just getting sick? Could picking up some type of bug increase your chance of having a stroke or heart attack?
A new study suggests it could.
Researchers have linked infections such as pneumonia and urinary tract infections to an increased risk of having a coronary event, such as a heart attack, or stroke within the next three months.
In the study published recently in the Journal of the American Heart Association, academic researchers examined a registry of patients tracked over multiple years in four U.S. cities. They looked at 1,312 patients who had a heart attack or other type of coronary event, and 727 other patients who had an ischemic stroke, the kind caused by a blood clot.
Of the heart disease patients, about 37 percent had some type of infection within the previous three months. Among stroke patients, it was nearly 30 percent.
Infections substantially increased the odds of having a heart attack or stroke compared to a year or two earlier in the same group of patients, and those odds were highest in the first two weeks following the infection.
Infections generally trigger an inflammatory reaction in the body, said Dr. Kamakshi Lakshminarayan, a neurologist and the study’s senior author.
The body triggers its white cell production to help ward off an infection, but that process also increases the stickiness of cells called platelets, she said. This encourages the formation of clots that could block the flow of blood to the heart or brain.
“The infection appears to be the trigger for changing the finely tuned balance in the blood and making us more prone to thrombosis, or clot formation,” said Lakshminarayan, an associate professor of epidemiology at the University of Minnesota’s medical school. “It’s a trigger for the blood vessels to get blocked up and puts us at higher risk of serious events like heart attack and stroke.”
The study raises questions about whether patients hospitalized for infections should also begin receiving treatment to protect them from heart disease and stroke. Additional research may provide those answers, Lakshminarayan said.
Urinary tract infection, or UTI, was the most common type of infection reported in the study, followed by pneumonia and other respiratory infections. Skin and blood infections also were reported.
The study included patients treated for infections while hospitalized and those who received outpatient care. Both groups were more likely to have a cardiovascular event within three months of the infection, but this association appeared to be stronger among the inpatient group.
That’s because infections requiring hospitalizations are probably more severe to begin with, said Juan Badimon, a professor of medicine and director of the atherothrombosis research unit at Mount Sinai School of Medicine’s Cardiovascular Institute in New York.
“And if the infection is that severe, we can assume a stronger inflammatory response will result in a higher cardiovascular risk,” said Badimon, who was not involved in the research but co-authored an editorial that accompanied the study.
He described the study’s association between cardiovascular events and all types of infections, not just respiratory ones, a “novel discovery.” But, he said, he would like to have seen researchers dig deeper and note whether the infection source – viral or bacterial – played a role in the increased risk for heart attacks and strokes.
Badimon hopes the findings will encourage the public to make sure their vaccinations are up-to-date, especially during flu season.
“One of the biggest takeaways is that we have to prevent these infections whenever possible,” she said, “and that means flu shots and pneumonia vaccines, especially for older individuals.”
If you have questions or comments about this story, please email [email protected]
90,000 Coronavirus: what it does with the body
- James Gallagher
- Air Force Health Correspondent
Photo author, Getty Images
Coronavirus appeared only in December last year, and today WHO is officially recognizes the disease as a global pandemic.
Most cases are mild, but sometimes the disease is fatal.
So how does the virus attack the body, why do some patients die, and how is it treated?
This is the time from the moment of infection until the onset of symptoms of the disease.
The virus enters the cells of the body, creates copies of itself, which then infect new cells.
Coronavirus, officially named Sars-CoV-2, can be caught by breathing (if someone coughs nearby), or when you touch a contaminated surface and then your face.
It first affects the throat, respiratory tract and lungs, turning them into “coronavirus factories” that produce huge numbers of copies of themselves, which continue to “capture” more cells.
At this early stage, you will not get sick, and sometimes symptoms may not appear at all.
The incubation period usually lasts about five days.
8 out of 10 people have a mild Covid-19 infection. The main symptoms are fever and cough.
Weakness, headache and sore throat are possible but not required.
Fever and general malaise is your immune system’s response to infection. It fixes the enemy and signals the rest of the body that something is wrong, while producing special chemicals called cytokines.They strengthen the immune system, but they cause fever and body aches.
Covid-19 usually accompanies a dry cough, which eventually turns into a cough with phlegm, a thick mucus containing dead lung cells that have been destroyed by the virus.
These symptoms are treated with bed rest, drinking plenty of fluids and paracetamol. No special medical attention is needed here.
This stage lasts about a week – most recover because their immune system has defeated the virus.
However, sometimes Covid-19 can cause a more serious condition.
If the disease progresses, it is due to an overreaction of the immune system to the virus. This creates inflammation that can affect other organs.
“The virus causes an imbalance in the immune response, and how it does it we do not know,” explained Dr. Natalie McDermott from King’s College London.
Author of the photo, SPL
Signs to the photo,
Lungs infected with coronavirus
Inflammation of the lungs is called pneumonia.
If it were possible to get through the mouth and trachea into the lungs, we would be in small air sacs.
Here oxygen enters the blood and carbon dioxide is released from it. But with pneumonia, tiny sacs begin to fill with water, causing shortness of breath and difficulty breathing.
Then some people need a ventilator to help them breathe.
It is believed that this form of Covid-19 affects about 14% of patients.
Scientists estimate that the number of very severe cases is about 6%.
At this stage, the body can no longer fight, and there is a real risk of death.
The problem is that the immune system is getting out of control and damaging the entire body.
This can lead to septic shock when blood pressure drops to dangerously low levels and organs stop working properly or completely fail.
If the immune system fails to overcome the virus, it eventually invades every corner of the body.
Author of the photo, Getty Images
Signs to the photo,
A serious patient was connected to an artificial respiration apparatus (ECMO)
Treatment at this stage will be highly invasive, in particular, with the help of an artificial lung ventilation apparatus (ECMO).
But sometimes the lesions are too severe and the organs can no longer support the vital functions of the organism.
According to doctors, some patients died despite their best efforts.
The first two deaths in Wuhan, China, are detailed in the medical journal Lancet. The patients were generally healthy, but they smoked for a long time, and this weakened their lungs.
The first, 61-year-old man, already had severe pneumonia when he was taken to the hospital.
He had acute respiratory distress syndrome, so he was put on a ventilator. But in vain – the lungs could not stand it, and the heart stopped beating.
He died 11 days after hospitalization.
The second patient, a 69-year-old man, also had acute respiratory distress syndrome.
He was hooked up to ECMO, but that was not enough. Blood pressure dropped and he died of severe pneumonia and septic shock.
Pneumonia (pneumonia): symptoms, diagnosis and treatment
Pneumonia (pneumonia) is an acute inflammatory disease caused by the introduction of an infectious agent into the lung tissue with a predominant lesion of the alveoli (the final section of the airway in which transition of oxygen from air to blood).
Most often, pneumonia is caused by bacteria (pneumococci, Haemophilus influenzae, less often – mycoplasma, chlamydia), but the likelihood of contracting pneumonia increases during periods of outbreaks and epidemics of acute respiratory viral infections. Smoking is recognized as an important risk factor for the development of pneumonia. Non-inflammatory diseases and conditions, such as severe heart failure, prolonged bed rest due to fractures of large bones or cerebrovascular accident, can also contribute to the onset of pneumonia.A well-known risk factor is hypothermia, especially against the background of alcohol consumption.
Pneumonia is characterized by an acute onset with an increase in body temperature (fever) and a rapid deterioration of the general condition. In typical cases, there is a cough with phlegm, shortness of breath of varying severity, sometimes chest pain when breathing and coughing, severe sweating, severe general weakness, malaise, loss of appetite. The phlegm becomes yellowish-green, sometimes “rusty” in color (streaked with blood).
The severity of symptoms depends on the area of the lung injury. So, for example, with segmental pneumonia (when inflammation affects one small area of the lung), the body temperature may not rise, and the only complaints will be general weakness, cough with a small amount of sputum and, in some cases, chest pain. And vice versa, with lower lobe, especially with bilateral, pneumonia (when several segments of the lung are involved in the process, making up a whole lobe), along with high fever, chills, general weakness, there is an intense cough with rusty sputum, pronounced shortness of breath of a mixed nature (it is also difficult to inhale, and exhalation), there may be blue tips of the fingers, earlobes (acrocyanosis), decrease in blood pressure, disturb the heartbeat.
The most dangerous pneumonia is the development of infectious-toxic shock, when there is a decrease in blood pressure, confusion occurs due to intoxication of the body with microbial agents that affect the lung. Highly aggressive microorganisms sometimes lead to the breakdown of lung tissue with the formation of an abscess (a cavity in the lung filled with pus). These life-threatening complications can appear in a patient with pneumonia within a few hours, therefore it is very important to seek medical help in a timely manner in case of a sudden increase in body temperature, the appearance of a cough with phlegm.
Inflammation can spread to the pleura (the membrane that covers the outside of the lung and the inside of the chest cavity) with the development of pleurisy with pain and fluid accumulation in the pleural cavity.
It should be emphasized that with timely diagnosis and treatment, the prognosis for pneumonia in most cases is favorable. On the contrary, untimely seeking medical help, self-medication, non-compliance with the doctor’s recommendations make the development of complications very likely and can lead to death.
In order to confirm pneumonia, in addition to the characteristic clinical picture, it is necessary to perform a general blood test with an assessment of the leukocyte count, ESR, a study of the level of C-reactive protein, as well as a chest X-ray (if necessary, in two projections ). To determine the pathogen and a more accurate selection of an antibacterial drug, a general analysis of sputum and its bacteriological examination are necessary.
A biochemical blood test (albumin, creatinine, urea, liver enzymes, electrolytes), as well as a study of oxygen saturation during pulse oximetry help to assess the severity of pneumonia.
In some cases it is necessary to carry out additional research methods: computed tomography of the chest organs, bronchoscopy, examination of the pleural fluid (to exclude lung cancer, pulmonary tuberculosis).
Treatment of pneumonia
Treatment of pneumonia should be started as early as possible, in the first hours of the disease. If the course of the disease is not severe (the severity of the condition is determined by the doctor), treatment at home is possible.
The basis of treatment is active antibiotic therapy, the choice of a drug and the duration of its use is determined by the doctor.
All other treatments are supportive and relieve the symptoms of pneumonia.
- Abundant warm drink (up to 2 liters per day), in some cases, intravenous drip of solutions may be needed to eliminate intoxication.
- If the temperature rises above 38.5 ° C or if fever is poorly tolerated, antipyretics are indicated ( remember that acetylsalicylic acid (aspirin) is categorically contraindicated in children under 16 years of age !!!).
- In case of bronchial spasm (as in bronchial asthma) bronchodilator drugs are used.
Do not take all kinds of nutritional supplements that are constantly advertised in the media as a means of allegedly “boosting immunity.” In addition to being useless, in some cases, taking them for pneumonia (and other illnesses) can be harmful. In no case should you abandon the antibacterial treatment prescribed by your doctor.
Prevention of pneumonia
Inflammation of the lungs, in the first place, can be prevented by timely and correct treatment of any infectious processes of the upper respiratory tract. It is necessary to avoid hypothermia of the body. Pneumonia prevention measures also include smoking cessation and alcohol abuse.
Annual vaccination of the population against influenza and pneumococcal vaccination among risk groups helps to reduce the risk of developing pneumonia.The risk group for the development of pneumonia includes persons over 65 years of age, with severe diseases of internal organs (including chronic pathology of the bronchopulmonary system), suffering from alcoholism, who have undergone removal of the spleen.
90,000 Corona pressure: hypertension has become the most frequent companion of COVID-19 | Articles
According to scientific articles, which analyzed comorbidities in death from COVID-19, hypertension was recognized as the most common pathology. Increased blood pressure is observed in almost every second hospitalized patient. Moreover, the older the person, the higher the likelihood of this chronic ailment. In addition, fear of coronavirus can also aggravate cardiovascular diseases (including hypertension), according to Russian scientists. Izvestia talked with doctors and clinical psychologists and found out how to reduce stress levels and avoid heart attack and stroke due to fear of “Wuhan pneumonia”.
Scientists from China conducted a large-scale study of the clinical course of COVID-19 and risk factors affecting mortality among adult patients in hospitals in Wuhan.The data of 191 infected were studied, of which 137 were subsequently discharged, and 54 died. At the time of hospitalization, 91 patients were diagnosed with concomitant diseases. The most common among them was hypertension: high blood pressure was present in 38% of those infected.
Domestic cardiologists believe that such statistics are due to the widespread prevalence of hypertension among various categories of the population. Doctor of Medical Sciences, expert of the League of Nation’s Health Mehman Mammadov told Izvestia that in Russia this cardiovascular pathology is observed in about 40% of the population aged 30 to 69 years.
Photo: TASS / Elena Afonina
– Almost every second adult in our country suffers from hypertension. And with age, the risk of getting this pathology becomes higher. It is known that most deaths from coronavirus occur in people over 65. If a patient has such a chronic disease, then the virus can cause systemic inflammation and aggravate its course, the specialist explained.
In addition to hypertension, diabetes mellitus (19% of patients) and coronary heart disease (8%) have become common diseases associated with the coronavirus.There is also a direct dependence of the negative outcome of the course of the infection on the age of the patient. In a discussion of a scientific article, researchers from China said that “old age is an important independent predictor of mortality in SARS and MERS (SARS 2002 and 2013),” and “the present study confirms that higher age is associated with the likelihood of death. COVID-19 “.
The drug is at risk
An additional alarm among doctors was caused by the report that popular drugs for hypertension (ACE inhibitors) that regulate blood pressure may worsen the prognosis in coronavirus.The hypothesis is related to the fact that the pathogen “clings” to the cells through the same enzyme that increases in quantity on the cell surface during treatment with these drugs. David Naimzada, a researcher at the Laboratory for the Analysis of Population Health Indicators and Digitalization of Health Care at the Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology (the university is a participant in the 5-100 Competitiveness Enhancement Project), explained that this theory has not yet found a proven clinical confirmation.
– The European Society of Cardiology even issued a statement saying not to stop taking these drugs, the scientist said.
Photo: Izvestia / Alexander Polegenko
In addition, the massive rejection of drugs so common among patients with hypertension can cause an additional surge in acute cardiovascular diseases. According to experts, ACE inhibitors account for about 30% of drugs for high blood pressure in the Russian Federation and in some cases there is nothing to replace them.
– It is impossible to stop taking this category of drugs , – Philip Kopylov, director of the Institute of Personalized Medicine of Sechenov University, doctor of medical sciences, cardiologist, said in a conversation with Izvestia.- This can significantly worsen the prognosis in the treatment of hypertension.
Quarantine without panic
Russian doctors also warn that stress and a state of panic caused by the escalation of the situation around the coronavirus pandemic, in themselves, can aggravate existing diseases of the cardiovascular system. The possibility of developing heart attacks and strokes due to fear of a new infection should be taken seriously, says Stanislav Otstavnov, deputy head of the laboratory for analysis of population health indicators and digitalization of healthcare at MIPT.
– It is necessary to maintain common sense, – the scientist emphasized. – It must be remembered that coronavirus is most dangerous for people with a weakened state of health and with cardiovascular problems. The added stress associated with escalating the stress does not contribute to health and well-being for everyone at any age. I would like to remind you that coronary heart disease and cerebrovascular diseases (stroke and others) are key among the causes of death, and not COVID-19 itself.
Photo: Izvestia / Pavel Bednyakov
There is a danger of exacerbation of cardiovascular pathologies against a background of stress due to a pandemic, said Elena Garanina, a psychologist at the Medical Center of the Far Eastern Federal University (FEFU). Quarantine measures also play a role. As with any lifestyle change, forced isolation can negatively affect a person’s psychology.
– With severe emotional lability (instability.- “Izvestia”) prolonged stress, which includes forced isolation, can cause or intensify the severity of already existing psychogenic diseases. These primarily include cardiovascular pathologies , – said the psychologist.
However, as experts emphasize, there is currently no reliable scientific data on the direct effect of coronavirus on the growth of cardiovascular diseases. This requires more long-term studies.
Photo: Izvestia / Sergey Konkov
With regard to anxiety and stress, doctors believe that the psychological adaptation of the population can be improved through an emphasis on the temporary nature of the ongoing changes that contribute to the preservation of the health of the entire population. Consider what is happening as an opportunity for respite from the constant need to do something and as a way to spend time with family and friends.
Quarantine measures prescribed by the authorities should be observed: to provide conditions for self-isolation of older people over 65 years of age, as well as those suffering from chronic diseases, including hypertension.As the scientists emphasize, it is necessary to temporarily limit communication between grandchildren and grandparents, since children may be asymptomatic carriers of the pathogen.
Atrial fibrillation – new name for atrial fibrillation
Atrial fibrillation is a condition of the heart that results in an irregular and abnormally fast heart rate. A normal heart rate should be regular and at rest between 60 and 100 beats per minute.
You can measure your heart rate by feeling for the pulse on your neck or wrist.
With atrial fibrillation, the heart rate is irregular and can sometimes be very fast. In some cases, it can be significantly more than 100 beats per minute. This can lead to poor health, including dizziness, shortness of breath, and fatigue. You may feel as if your heart is pounding, fluttering, or beating irregularly. Sometimes, atrial fibrillation is not felt in any way by a person, and he may not be aware that his heart rhythm is disturbed.
When the heart beats normally, its muscle walls contract and relax, causing blood to circulate throughout the body. This process is repeated all the time with each heartbeat. In atrial fibrillation, the upper chambers of the heart (atria) contract randomly and sometimes so often that the heart muscle does not have time to relax between contractions. This reduces the efficiency and productivity of the heart.
The most obvious symptom of atrial fibrillation is palpitations, when the heart pounds, flutters, or beats irregularly for a few seconds to minutes or hours.
Other symptoms that can occur with atrial fibrillation include:
- fatigue, habitual physical activity is less tolerated
- shortness of breath
- feeling weak or dizzy
- chest pain
With atrial fibrillation, the heart beats irregularly, therefore, its performance decreases, which in turn can lead to a decrease in blood pressure.
The causes of atrial fibrillation are not fully understood, but more often this rhythm disturbance occurs in certain groups of people and can be triggered, for example, by situations such as excessive alcohol consumption or smoking.
In addition, atrial fibrillation is common in people who have:
- high blood pressure (arterial hypertension)
- Atherosclerosis (a condition in which arteries become clogged with fatty substances known as atherosclerotic plaques or atheromas)
- heart defects
Atrial fibrillation can also occur with increased thyroid function (hypertyrosis), pneumonia, bronchial asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, lung cancer, diabetes, pulmonary embolism, and poisoning.
Treatment includes drugs that control heart rate and lower the risk of stroke. To restore the normal sinus rhythm, cardioversion is used, which is medication (the rhythm is restored by the administration of a drug) and electrical (the rhythm is restored with the help of an electric discharge).
The most suitable treatment plan for the patient is chosen by the attending physician (cardiologist or arrhythmologist).
When prescribing treatment, the following factors are taken into account:
- your age
- general health and disease underlying the onset of arrhythmias
- type of atrial fibrillation you have
- your symptoms
- you have an acute illness that needs treatment.
Medicines called antiarrhythmic drugs control atrial fibrillation by:
- restoring normal heart rhythm and / or
- heart rate monitoring.
The choice of antiarrhythmic drug depends on the type of atrial fibrillation, comorbidities, possible side effects of the drug, and how well the arrhythmia responds to treatment.
Sometimes the treatment of atrial fibrillation requires a combination of several drugs to achieve arrhythmia control.
Treatment must take place under the supervision of your attending physician!
If you have any doubts about your feelings or symptoms, you should seek the advice of a qualified professional.
Hypertension: degrees, symptoms, treatment in Krasnoyarsk
A sedentary lifestyle, constant severe stress, bad habits can lead to the appearance of heart pathologies. Hypertension is one of the most frequent diseases of a modern person. This pathology is characterized by high blood pressure at rest and for a long time.
Why is hypertension dangerous?
The heart moves the blood through the blood vessels, providing all the cells in the body with oxygen and nutrients.When blood vessels become clogged or lose their elasticity, the heart starts to work harder and increases the pressure inside the vessels.
Against the background of the disease, with untimely treatment, such serious pathologies as acute heart failure, hypertensive crisis, stroke, myocardial infarction may occur.
The complexity of hypertension is that it often lasts for years with almost no symptoms and a person does not know about the existence of his disease.Symptoms are often observed – headache, fatigue, memory loss, dizziness, high blood pressure, which a person simply does not pay attention to. This may indicate the beginning of the development of the disease.
- ongoing migraines;
- limb numbness;
- redness of the face;
- increased sweating;
- “midges” before the eyes;
- heart palpitations.
Reasons for the development of hypertension
- Overweight. People with a tendency to obesity are several times more likely to suffer from heart disease. Also, excess weight is the cause of an increased content of calcium and sodium in the blood, disruption of the normal functioning of the kidneys and diseases of internal organs. This, in turn, is an additional factor for the development of hypertension.
- Sclerosis of the arteries. Due to the presence of atherosclerotic plaques on the walls of blood vessels, normal blood circulation stops.The heart has to work harder to increase the pressure in the vessels.
- Stressful situations. During stress, blood pressure rises due to the release of the hormone adrenaline into the blood. Acting on the heart, adrenaline makes it beat more often, throwing more blood into the vessels.
- Bad habits. Smoking, drinking alcohol, fatty and heavy foods increase the pressure in the blood vessels, form vasospasm and lead to their damage.
- Age.Over the years, a person’s heart wears out. The risk of developing hypertension increases with age if you do not give your health due attention. It is necessary to undergo preventive examinations and give up bad habits, if any. High blood pressure often develops in people over 35 years old.
- Genetic predisposition. If first-line relatives (father, mother, siblings, sisters, grandparents) suffer from hypertension, the risk of developing the disease increases.
- Sedentary lifestyle. At a low level of stress, metabolism slows down, the nervous system and other body systems are weakened, and immunity is lowered. The risk of developing hypertension increases by 50%.
Hypertension and Hypertension: What’s the Difference?
Hypertension is a chronic disease characterized by persistent increases in blood pressure and general muscle tone.
Hypertension is a condition of the human body with high blood pressure.Unlike hypertension, which is an independent disease, hypertension is a symptom of a pathological condition.
Types of heart hypertension
There are many classifications of the disease, which are based on the patient’s appearance, the level of pressure, the reasons for the increase in blood pressure, the nature of the course of the disease. However, doctors everywhere use the classification according to the degree of the course of the disease.
Hypertension 1 degree – is also called the preclinical stage.This is the mildest form of hypertension, in which blood pressure reaches 140/90 mm. mercury column. There are mild headaches, decreased performance, general fatigue. During the patient’s stay in a calm state, the pressure is normalized.
Hypertension 2 degrees – moderate stage, in which the pressure increases up to 180/110 mm. rt. Art. there is the formation of atherosclerotic plaques, hypertrophy of the left ventricle of the heart, an increased concentration of creatinine.
Hypertension 3 degrees – the pressure rises to 220/115 mm. rt. Art. in this case, the risk of complications is high. With such a degree of development of pathology, the blood supply to the internal organs is disrupted. Disease 3 degrees can manifest itself as renal failure, bleeding from the eyes, blindness.
How is the disease diagnosed?
When the first symptoms of hypertension appear, consult a cardiologist. He will conduct an examination and send for analyzes:
Based on the test results, the attending physician will determine whether there is hypertension, the stability of the increase in pressure, the degree of development of pathological changes in internal organs, the cause of the increased pressure.
The method of therapeutic therapy depends on the degree of development of the disease. In the first preclinical stage, it is possible to maintain normal blood pressure levels without the use of medication. The patient needs to balance nutrition, give up bad habits, lead an active lifestyle and normalize sleep and work.
When treating 2 degrees of hypertension, the doctor prescribes a medication for long-term use and with a minimum number of contraindications, in conjunction with moderate activity and rejection of bad habits.The drug is prescribed by a cardiologist after examining the patient. The drugs must be taken continuously, as this can cause a stroke or heart attack.
Therapy of 3 degrees of hypertension is carried out with the help of 1-2 drugs from different drug groups in conjunction with an active lifestyle and stabilization of nutrition and sleep patterns.
- diuretics with a diuretic effect are prescribed for salt and water retention in the body;
- for the normalization of blood circulation – ACE inhibitors;
- calcium antagonists – to reduce the oxygen demand of the heart muscle;
- beta – blockers for atrial fibrillation or other concomitant pathologies.
Therefore, when determining therapeutic therapy, the doctor must know the patient’s entire medical history, take into account contraindications, lifestyle and physical characteristics (body weight, height).
Hypertension in Krasnoyarsk is treated at the Medyunion Medical Center. We employ experienced cardiologists who will conduct a full examination and examination, friendly medical staff and high-quality equipment. To sign up for a consultation with a specialist or find out more information, leave a request on the website or by calling the clinic 201-03-03.
what to do, is there a connection, what is the danger
COVID-19 is a global pandemic today. The pathogen can cause so many symptoms that even doctors themselves are surprised. Today we will analyze whether a person can have low blood pressure with coronavirus.
Is there a connection between pressure and coronavirus
Low or high blood pressure can increase a person’s susceptibility to a new type of coronavirus.In the body, an angiotensin-converting enzyme is produced in certain quantities, to which sensitivity is sometimes formed at special receptors. This is a protein that is directly involved in the regulation of vascular tone. Accordingly, when everything is working properly, blood pressure is kept within normal limits.
Interesting! When a pathogen enters the body, it clings to the specified protein, using processes that resemble thorns, and then, literally, hijacks this enzyme.
The coronavirus seems to deceive the cells of the body, because of which it easily penetrates into them and controls their functions in the future. Once in such favorable conditions, he begins to reproduce, in parallel provoking all sorts of unpleasant phenomena, including a failure in the regulation of pressure.
If you are taking certain medications for high blood pressure, your production of this protein may even increase. This applies to drugs of the ACE inhibitor group.The classic representatives of this group are Enalapril and Kapoten. For this reason, doctors often recommend the use of other drugs in a pandemic. But hypertension can make your body especially susceptible to the negative effects of COVID-19.
A person with hypertension may also have a genetic predisposition to the sensitivity of receptors that receive angiotensin-converting enzyme.
Can there be low blood pressure in coronavirus and pneumonia
Individual patients may complain of a drop in blood pressure with coronavirus. Sometimes this is facilitated by a physiological decrease in indicators, which are considered to be a variant of the norm. But if a decrease in marks was recorded against the background of the coronavirus, this may indicate the following reasons:
- Pathological hypotension, when a person practically does not show any physical activity.This is not surprising, since people with the disease in question spend at least several days in bed.
- The effect of certain groups of drugs. And this applies not only to drugs aimed at directly lowering blood pressure. There may be other categories of drugs as well.
A decrease in blood pressure in COVID-19 can be associated with various reasons and is observed even in healthy people, if other signs are noted in parallel.In most situations, we have to talk about an indirect relationship between pressure indicators and illness.
In some cases, a drop in pressure may indicate a violation of metabolism in tissues. This is facilitated by pneumonia, damage to the cardiovascular system. Low pressure in coronavirus can be without temperature. If a person was hypotonic even before the illness, then the decrease in pressure in him is justified by physiological reasons.
Of the most harmless symptoms that accompany a decrease in blood pressure, headache can be identified.But sometimes we have to talk about pathologies of blood flow, in particular in the arteries passing through the brain.
Is low pressure dangerous in COVID-19
In some cases, a decrease in blood pressure can indicate dangerous conditions. Let’s say this is possible with damage to the central nervous system, as well as in the case of developing pneumonia.
In case of coronavirus of any kind, malfunctions with blood vessels are considered dangerous. If a person is in pain, the prognosis can be potentially unfavorable.
This situation requires immediate treatment. Low blood pressure with coronavirus in the elderly is usually considered a physiological norm, but if this condition worries the patient, it is necessary to further examine him.
Read also Complications after coronavirus on the heart The experience of treating coronavirus revealed its negative effects not only on the respiratory system, but also on the cardiovascular system. Most of the sick carry COVID-19 in mild or asymptomatic forms….
How to increase blood pressure on your own: a review of drugs
It is difficult to say how best to increase blood pressure in coronavirus, since hypotension can be triggered by various factors. If it is established that it is the virus that is to blame for the presence of an unpleasant symptom, vitamin preparations and bed rest are usually prescribed. If disruptions in metabolism in tissues, brain damage, heart attack or stroke are added, more complex and professional treatment tactics are required here.
For your information!
You cannot prescribe yourself drugs on your own if your blood pressure has dropped due to coronavirus. First of all, it is necessary to establish what was the reason for this phenomenon.
You must also understand that certain drugs can only aggravate the situation. Including the most dangerous in coronavirus, drugs with an antihypertensive effect are recognized.
If a person is suspected of having a heart attack, then he should not take anything at all, maximum an aspirin tablet.Until it is possible to establish the cause, any of the drugs can cause fatal consequences.
How long does low blood pressure last: reviews of recovered
If you study in detail the reviews of patients who have been diagnosed with a drop in pressure, you can pay attention to the different terms of getting rid of this symptoms. Someone notes the stabilization of pressure, which came after three days. It took someone a week. Some patents were able to cope with the pathological condition in a day.
No, statistics are underestimated
No, statistics are overestimated
Yes, I trust
Over the course of a week, my blood pressure gradually decreased. It went down slowly, so I decided to inform the local doctor about it. He said that the reason was bed rest, which had to be observed. I decided not to sound the alarm yet, continued to follow the therapist’s instructions, until suddenly the condition forced me to take action.Ultimately, when they were admitted to the hospital, they found foci of pneumonia on computed tomography. I was lucky, as it happened in the early stages, and accordingly, the treatment had an effect.
Usually my blood pressure is always slightly increased, and therefore when hypotension appeared, I was even surprised. I called the clinic, the therapist came and said that this is normal with COVID-19. In addition, habitual blood pressure levels may decrease if a person is taking medication for hypertension.As soon as I was officially given a conclusion about recovery, the usual numbers indicating mild hypertension immediately returned.
I noticed that my blood pressure started to drop after I started taking medication prescribed by my doctor. I told him about it, they tried to lower the dose. It didn’t help much, but I noticed that the blood pressure returned to its previous levels as soon as I stopped taking the drugs. Then gradually the symptoms disappeared, but the therapist scolded me very much for quitting taking medications, said that it was an unjustified risk.Then he himself found, according to reviews on 1 of the drugs that was included in this course, that it can lower blood pressure. Apparently, because of him, there was such a symptom. It was necessary either to replace it with something, or to remove it altogether, as it seems to me.
Low blood pressure in coronavirus is a frequent occurrence, as well as high blood pressure. It is important to see a doctor immediately.
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90,000 LRT FACTS.Masks are urged to be discarded, tk. they harm breathing. What do the doctors say?
A post is spreading on social networks, which talks about the harm that medical masks cause to health. They talk not only about the consequences of wearing masks, such as dizziness, but also about the threat of losing consciousness or impairing the quality of sleep.
Disorders caused by masks have even been called the medical term hypercapnia. FACTS LRT asked medical professionals what this disorder really means and whether wearing masks could cause problems.
Will masks disturb sleep and consciousness?
“Frequent wearing of masks, repeated inhalation of exhaled CO2 causes HYPERCAPNIA,” explains in a post that has already been shared by several hundred people.
The author of the post lists various ailments caused by inhalation of increased amounts of carbon dioxide: visual impairment, smell and hearing, muscle spasms, increased heart rate and blood pressure, sweating, drowsiness and sleep disturbances, headache.In extreme cases, you are even allegedly threatened by loss of consciousness, disorientation in space or feeling “a mild form of anesthesia.”
Under this post, social media users complain about the requirement to wear masks in public places, raising the question whether wearing masks is causing more problems than it solves.
Physician: This is a disorder associated with chronic lung disease
Hypercapnia, which the authors of the post write about, is a really existing disorder.At this time, carbon dioxide is concentrated in the blood and tissues, according to the American Journal of Respiratory Cell and Molecular Biology.
The head of the Therapeutic Clinic of the Kaunas Republican Hospital, pulmonologist Ruta Nutautene says that hypercapnia accompanies other diseases associated with the respiratory tract.
“Those suffering from chronic pulmonary diseases, the most famous of which is chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, are well aware of this condition – hypercapnia, patients are examined because of it, and, if necessary, are treated.These patients are given in each case individual medical advice on when something can cause danger, ”says the doctor.
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease affects the lungs, it becomes difficult to breathe, and shortness of breath begins.
The doctor does not associate the wearing of masks with this disorder.
“I definitely cannot say that medical masks can cause hypercapnia,” says R. Nutautene.
After the early outbreak of the coronavirus – the SARS pandemic – scientists studied the effect of N95 masks on the health of doctors.They came to the conclusion that wearing masks really causes or increases headaches in doctors, however, they pay attention to the fact that doctors usually wear masks for more than 4 hours, and besides them, they must also wear other protective equipment: helmets, glasses, work in suspense. Masks worn by doctors are also very close to the face.
R. Nutaitene says that healthy people should not be afraid of the effect of masks on health, and the inconvenience when wearing them, she said, arises from physical discomfort.
“All medical products are tested before use, not only their effectiveness is assessed, but also – most importantly – safety, so there is no reason to believe that properly applied masks can cause health problems in healthy people,” says the pulmonologist …
She advises you to pay attention to the fact that masks differ, therefore it is important to read the information presented before using them.
Although hypercapnia is a real health disorder with symptoms similar to those described on social media, experts say it should not be associated with mask-wearing, as it appears primarily in people with lung disease.