Mar 27, 2019


Announcer: The Health Minute, produced by University of Utah Health.

Interviewer: I was a little surprised to find out pneumonia is still a common cause of death. Dr. Troy Madsen, why is that, and why is it so dangerous?

Dr. Madsen: So it is surprising to hear that, but the group pneumonia really affects very seriously is older people. For the average person, if you get pneumonia, you're going to get a really severe cough. You're going to get a really high fever. With older people, they don't get fevers like younger people do. They also may not cough as well as younger people do, and then you add to that that they may actually breathe food into their lungs, they may aspirate. That causes problems.

So the big challenge with older people is pneumonia is often not detected until it's really advanced. So it's that combination of having an older person, who may have immune system problems plus something that not detected early that can lead to very severe disease and death from pneumonia.

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