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Older adults tend to underestimate the danger of pneumonia - research
For clarity, the scientists compared the risk of death after pneumonia and hip fracture in elderly patients. The results exceeded all expectations.
Older patients are twice as likely to die from hospitalization for pneumonia as those who are admitted to hospital with a hip fracture. At the same time, people usually tend to underestimate the danger of pneumonia.
Scientists from the University of Tours were supposed to present the results of the study, which focused on the effects of pneumonia, at the European Congress of Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases. The event was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the study's press release posted on Eurekalert.
The study authors argue that the danger of pneumonia - a life-threatening condition - people tend to underestimate. According to their data, older people misunderstand the risks to life that this disease carries. As a result, they often neglect the prevention of this disease, including not being vaccinated against pneumococcal infection and influenza. Scientists believe that low awareness of pneumonia may be the cause of unhealthy aging. At the same time, scientists point out, a hip fracture and any falls are recognized as undoubtedly dangerous and life-threatening for the elderly.
The authors of the study, which has not yet been published in peer-reviewed journals, compared two-year outcomes of hip fracture and acute respiratory infections (including pneumonia) in patients aged 80 years and older. In total, the studies included almost 17 thousand hospitalized patients.
The probability of dying within two years in elderly patients with pneumonia was approximately 3.3 times higher (17.9%) than mortality from a hip fracture (5.4%). After the authors of the study took into account other risk factors for death (co-morbidity), they found that the risk of death in hospitalized patients with pneumonia is 80% higher than in patients with a hip fracture.
Scientists believe that comparing the effects of pneumonia and fractures visually will help older people and their caregivers and healthcare providers better understand the risks.