Pneumonia claimed the lives of 51,811 Americans in 2015 according to a National Vital Statistics Report1. Black Americans accounted for 5,505 of those deaths. Black males make up almost 2/3 of the deaths (3,664 vs. 1,841). Jay Harold’s new post,”Pneumonia killed 5505 Black Americans in 2015: 4 Risk Factors & Causes,” will focus on this common and deadly disease.
Jay Harold wrote an article in 2015, “Pneumonia: Prevention is Better than Treatment” that states in 2013; 61.3.% of adults 65 years and over has had a pneumococcal vaccination. In 2016, the percent of adults aged 65 and over who had ever received a pneumococcal vaccination2 increased to 66.9%. Over 53,200 people died in 2013 of Pneumonia. Pneumonia was listed in over 1.1 million hospital inpatient discharges in 2010. The hospital stay averaged 5 days. Pneumonia is a major problem in the United States!
Pneumonia3 is a bacterial, viral, or fungal infection of one or both sides of the lungs that causes the air sacs, or alveoli, of the lungs to fill up with fluid or pus. Symptoms can be mild or severe and may include a cough with phlegm (a slimy substance), fever, chills, and trouble breathing. Many factors affect how serious pneumonia is, such as the type of germ causing the lung infection, your age, and your overall health. Pneumonia tends to be more serious for children under the age of five, adults over the age of 65, people with certain conditions such as heart failure, diabetes, or COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease), or people who have weak immune systems due to HIV/AIDS, chemotherapy (a treatment for cancer), or organ or blood and marrow stem cell transplant procedures.
Symptoms4 of pneumonia vary from mild to severe. See your doctor promptly if you:
- Have a high fever
- Have shaking chills
- Have a cough with phlegm that doesn’t improve or gets worse
- Develop shortness of breath with normal daily activities
- Have chest pain when you breathe or cough
- Feel suddenly worse after a cold or the flu
Your doctor will use your medical history, a physical exam, and lab tests to diagnose pneumonia. Treatment depends on what kind you have. If bacteria are the cause, antibiotics should help. If you have viral pneumonia, your doctor may prescribe an antiviral medicine to treat it.
Preventing pneumonia is always better than treating it. Vaccines are available to prevent pneumococcal pneumonia and the flu. Other preventive measures include washing your hands frequently and not smoking.
Causes of Pneumonia
Bacteria are the most common cause of pneumonia in adults. Many types of bacteria can cause bacterial pneumonia. Streptococcus pneumoniae or pneumococcus bacteria are the most common cause of bacterial pneumonia in the United States.
If your pneumonia is caused by one of the following types of bacteria, it is called atypical pneumonia.
- Legionella pneumophila. This type of pneumonia sometimes is called Legionnaire’s disease, and it has caused serious outbreaks. Outbreaks have been linked to exposure to cooling towers, whirlpool spas, and decorative fountains.
- Mycoplasma pneumoniae. This is a common type of pneumonia that usually affects people younger than 40 years old. People who live or work in crowded places like schools, homeless shelters, and prisons are at higher risk for this type of pneumonia. It’s usually mild and responds well to treatment with antibiotics. However, Mycoplasma pneumoniae can be very serious. It may be associated with a skin rash and . This type of bacteria is a common cause of “walking pneumonia.”
- Chlamydia pneumoniae. This type of pneumonia can occur all year and often is mild. The infection is most common in people 65 to 79 years old.
Bacterial pneumonia can occur on its own or develop after you’ve had a viral cold or the flu. Bacterial pneumonia often affects just one lobe, or area, of a lung. When this happens, the condition is called lobar pneumonia.
- https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/nvsr/nvsr66/nvsr66_06_tables.pdf (Page 47)
- https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/nhis/earlyrelease/earlyrelease201705.pdf (Figure 5.1)
- https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/nvsr/nvsr66/nvsr66_05.pdf Table D (Page 12)