Resources at Hebrew SeniorLife

Pneumonia

Pneumonia is an infection in the lungs that may range from mild to life threatening. Each year, more than 60,000 Americans die from this disease. Jerome L. Slate, M.D., F.C.C.P., a pulmonologist at Hebrew Rehabilitation Center, says that pneumonia is of particular concern in older adults and in those with chronic illnesses or an impaired immune system.

Definition

A disease of the lungs characterized by inflammation caused by infection. 

Causes

  • Invasion by bacteria, viruses, tuberculosis, parasites or fungi that results in inflammation of the lung tissue.

Symptoms

  • Cough that produces phlegm
  • Shaking chills
  • High fever
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Fatigue
  • Chest pain (pleurisy) if the inflammation involves the lining of the lung

Risk Factors

  • Age 65 and older
  • Chronic illness such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease
  • Impaired swallowing
  • Impaired immunity
  • Smoking or alcohol abuse

Diagnosis

  • Medical history
  • Chest X-ray
  • Computerized tomography (CT) scan

Treatment

  • Antibiotics for bacterial pneumonia
  • Rest and fluids for viral pneumonia
  • Over-the-counter medications to treat fever and cough

Glossary

Computerized tomography (CT) scan - a noninvasive diagnostic imaging procedure that uses a combination of X-rays and computer technology to produce cross-sectional images of the body, showing detailed images of bone, muscle, fat and organs.

Phlegm - mucus secreted by the respiratory passages.

Pleurisy - inflammation of the pleura (the tiny, transparent membrane that lines the lungs and chest wall) usually accompanied by fever, painful breathing, and cough.

Tuberculosis - an infectious illness of the respiratory system, spread by coughing and sneezing, that can be fatal if left untreated.

Links

American Lung Association - www.lungusa.org

Disclaimer
The information contained on this Web site is intended for general consumer understanding and education. The information is provided as a resource only and is not a substitute for professional diagnosis and treatment. Access to the information on this site is voluntary. We advise users to consult their physician or other qualified health-care professional if they have questions regarding personal health and medical conditions. Hebrew SeniorLife expressly disclaims responsibility, and shall have no liability, for any damages, loss, injury or liability whatsoever suffered as a result of your reliance on the information contained on this site.

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