Know the Various Factors on Which Prognosis of Pneumonia Depends

By  ,  Onlymyhealth editorial team
Nov 18, 2013

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Quick Bites

  • About 5 to 10 mn people get pneumonia in the US each year.
  • Among hospitalised patients, the death rate is 10 - 25%.
  • Older adults have lower survival rates than younger people.
  • Pneumonia poses a special hazard for pregnant women.

A person suffering from pneumonia has a healthy prognosis, if treated well at home. But, is your condition needs to be treated in hospital, there is a reason to worry. One person in 10-20 may die of pneumonia.

Prognosis of PneumoniaPneumonia can sometimes be life-threatening but mostly to older people and those with other medical conditions such as Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), heart problems, diabetes etc.

Each year in US, 5 to 10 million people get pneumonia, and more than 1 million are hospitalised due to the condition. Statistically, pneumonia is the third most frequent cause of hospitalisations there. About one third of 500,000 children hospitalised every year for respiratory infections, are diagnosed with pneumonia.

Between 40, 000- 70,000 people are killed by the disease each year. However, majority of patients respond well to the treatment. There are various high-risk individuals for pneumonia and their outlook depends on various factors mentioned below:

Hospitalised Patients

The death rates of patients hospitalised for pneumonia is 10-20 per cent. If the person is already hospitalised for other health condition, and develops pneumonia on the course, the death rates increase up to 50-70 per cent. Death rates among male patients are higher than the female ones.

Older Adults

Around 350,000-620,000 elderly are hospitalised every year for acquiring community-acquired pneumonia (CAP). Older adults have lower survival rates as compared to younger people. These elders are at risk of higher-than-normal death rates over the next several years, even when they recover from CAP.

Very Young Children

Children developing pneumonia at a very young age are at a high risk of acquiring lung problems in adulthood, including chronic pulmonary disease (COPD). Several researches have suggested that men who suffer pneumonia and respiratory illnesses in childhood, are twice more likely to die of COPD, as compared to those without a history of childhood respiratory disease.

Pregnant Women

Due to changes in the immune system, pregnant women are at greatly endangered by pneumonia’s special hazards. When a pregnant woman acquires pneumonia, she is more likely to go into premature labour. Also, the condition increases the risk of death during pregnancy.

Patients with Marred Immune System

Pneumonia is even more dangerous for people with impaired immune system. It causes half the deaths in those afflicted with AIDS.

People with Serious Medical Conditions

Diseases such as diabetes, cirrhosis, sickle cell disease, cancer, and in those whose spleens have been removed, put patients at a bigger hazard for survival from pneumonia.

Fortunately, with the discovery of many potent antibiotics, most cases of pneumonia can be successfully treated hence improving its prognosis. In fact, pneumonia can usually be treated with oral antibiotics without the need for hospitalization.


Read more articles on Pneumonia.


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