More Info: Pneumonia is responsible for more than one million hospitalizations each year, 5% of which will result in death. Young children and the elderly are more likely to die from pneumonia because they often have weakened immune systems. Patients with AIDS, heart disease and cancer are also at an increased risk for dying from pneumonia. [FASTSTATS - Pneumonia." Centers for Disease Control and Prevention]
What is pneumonia?
Pneumonia is a condition that occurs when the lungs become inflamed due to a viral or bacterial infection. Anyone can develop this condition, but it is most common in people who already have a preexisting lung condition. Cigarette smoking also makes you more susceptible to developing pneumonia. Shortness of breath, coughing, fever, chills and confusion are some of the most common symptoms of this condition.
What Happens If Pneumonia Is Left Untreated?
Most cases of pneumonia will resolve within two weeks with treatment. If pneumonia is left untreated, it can cause bacteria to build up in the bloodstream. Pneumonia can also cause lung abscess. Additionally, untreated pneumonia can also lead to acute respiratory distress syndrome. Acute respiratory distress syndrome is a condition that impairs breathing and makes it difficult for the body to get oxygen. ["Pneumonia - PubMed Health." National Center for Biotechnology Information]
What Can I Do to Reduce My Risk of Complication from Pneumonia?
If you are in the ‘at-risk’ group for pneumonia get vaccinated. If you suspect that you have pneumonia, you should see your doctor as soon as possible. The type of treatment that your doctor prescribes depends on whether your pneumonia is caused by a bacterial or viral infection. Antibiotics are prescribed to treat bacterial infections. Antiviral medications are prescribed to treat pneumonia that is caused by a virus. You may be admitted to the hospital if you have a very high fever or another serious medical condition.