Pneumonia: Who are at risk?

Many believe that pneumonia typically affects older adults. Generally, there are various conditions that increases the risk for the condition at any age. There are certain risk factors that makes one prone to the lung infection.

Common risk factors for pneumonia

Smoking

The lungs contain tiny hairs that sweep microorganisms and bacteria away. If an individual smoke, these small-sized hairs are damaged and could no longer function. This simply means that there is a higher chance for infection to develop in the lungs.

Weakened immune system

Pneumonia
If an individual has a weakened immune system, the body could not properly fight off infections. This also puts one at risk for developing from pneumonia from viruses, bacteria and germs that do not normally cause the condition among healthy individuals.

If an individual has a weakened immune system, the body could not properly fight off infections. This also puts one at risk for developing from pneumonia from viruses, bacteria and germs that do not normally cause the condition among healthy individuals. The conditions that can weaken the immune system and increase the risk for acquiring pneumonia include the following:

  • Heart disease
  • COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease)
  • HIV/AIDS
  • Diabetes
  • Emphysema

An individual will also have a weakened immune system if he/she has:

  • Undergone organ transplant or stem cell transplant
  • Using steroids for an extended time
  • Been under chemotherapy for cancer

The aging process also affects the immune system. Infants aged 2 years and younger can develop pneumonia since their immune systems are not fully developed. The risk also rises after 65 years old. As one starts to age, the immune system could not properly fight off infections.

Recently hospitalized

Hospital-acquired pneumonia is a type that is acquired in healthcare facilities. It can become a serious form than the other types. If an individual is on a ventilator, he/she is at higher risk. These devices might be hard for the individual to cough, thus allowing germs to become trapped in the lungs.

Being bedridden for extended periods can also increase the risk for developing pneumonia.

Stroke

After a stroke, pneumonia is one of the common complications. It is likely to occur within the first 2 days after a stroke. It is important to note that after suffering from a stroke, swallowing difficulties are expected.

The inhaled bacteria can linger in the mouth, move into the lungs and trigger an infection.

Quick Note / Disclaimer

The material posted on this page on pneumonia is for learning and educational purposes only. To learn to recognize and manage respiratory conditions including pneumonia, register for a first aid and CPR course with Mississauga First Aid.

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