Pneumonia is a dangerous disease in which serious complications are possible, leading to a significant deterioration in health and death. Death from pneumonia can occur in case of late initiation of treatment, inadequacy of the therapy, including self-medication. The likelihood of serious complications and death of the disease increases significantly if a person is included in a certain category of patients related to the risk group. Sometimes a person can die of pneumonia very quickly – two or three days after the onset of the pathological process.
The likelihood of a fatal pneumonia
Death from pneumonia
According to the World Health Organization, pneumonia is the fourth most common cause of death worldwide. The disease kills more than 7 million people every year.
Statistics say that every year in Russia this deadly disease is diagnosed in 4-5 million people. In different age groups, the incidence rate varies greatly: if people 15-45 years old have 1-5 cases per 1000 people, then after 60 years, 10-20 cases per 1000 people are diagnosed, and after 70 years this figure reaches 50 cases per 1000 people. annually.
The likelihood of death from pneumonia also varies greatly by age group. The highest mortality rate in pneumonia is observed in children under the age of one year (about 37.5%) and elderly patients (48% in the group 55-74 years old, 78.5 in the group 75 years old and older). The lowest mortality rates are observed in children 5-14 years old (1%), young people 15-24 years old (3.2%).
Despite the availability of effective antibiotics and therapies for pneumonia, mortality remains high. However, the rates are much lower than they were before the first drugs in this group appeared. Before the discovery of penicillin, the death rate from pneumonia was about 85%.
Factors affecting mortality
The immediate cause of death in pneumonia is not the pathological process itself, which occurs in the lung tissues, but the complicated course of the disease. The development of complications occurs for various reasons: the presence of severe concomitant diseases, severe deterioration of the body (for example, in alcoholics, drug addicts, the elderly), pronounced immunodeficiency, the course of other pathological processes in the respiratory system (for example, chronic obstructive lesions in smokers, in people working in dusty conditions).
The form of the disease is also important. The most dangerous are nosocomial (nosocomial) pneumonia. The hospital flora is so resistant to various types of antibiotics that the selection of therapy is very difficult. Such pneumonia is very often fatal.
A great danger is the total form of the disease, when all tissues and structural elements of the lung are involved in the inflammatory process. With a bilateral course, such pneumonia can very quickly lead to the development of severe respiratory failure and death.
The following conditions are considered the most serious complications of pneumonia that increase the risk of death:
- infectious toxic shock;
- lung abscess;
- respiratory distress syndrome.
Adult respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) is an extreme manifestation of respiratory failure, leading to pulmonary edema, respiratory distress and hypoxia. The patient begins to suffocate, without immediate help, death can occur from an acute lack of oxygen in the blood and impaired functioning of the respiratory system. With ARDS, the patient needs artificial ventilation of the lungs, since he cannot breathe on his own.
The abscessing course of pneumonia can also be fatal. An abscess is a suppuration in the lung tissue. It is a painful and dangerous condition. With the spread of inflammation to the pleural tissues, purulent pleurisy and pyopneumothorax develop . The pus can melt the blood vessels, resulting in bleeding from the lungs. When the abscess breaks out, generalization of the infection and bacteremic shock may occur . The mortality rate for lung abscess is about 10%.
Infectious toxic shock
Infectious-toxic shock occurs under the influence of waste products of pathogenic microorganisms. The state of shock is accompanied by a sharp drop in pressure, cardiac disorders, and cessation of the filtration function of the kidneys.
Sepsis (blood poisoning) is a systemic inflammatory response to local inflammation. With the blood flow, the pathogenic microflora spreads throughout the body, which leads to multiple organ failure and bacteremia.
The danger of pneumonia for children
The mortality rate is very high in the age group under one year old. In a newborn baby, many organs and systems are in the process of final formation. This applies to both the respiratory and immune systems. The airways do not work efficiently enough, they are narrower, more susceptible to the negative influence of infectious agents. Any seemingly insignificant viral, bacterial or fungal infection can lead to the development of an inflammatory process in the lungs in a short time.
In children, a complicated course of the disease can be provoked and the likelihood of death can be increased:
- prematurity (in cases of newborns);
- congenital and acquired pathologies of the cardiovascular system, kidneys, respiratory organs;
- immunodeficiency states;
- artificial feeding;
- passive smoking;
- insufficient child care, irrational or inadequate nutrition, the baby’s stay in unsanitary or poor living conditions.
If the child shows signs of illness, it should be shown to the doctor immediately. You cannot engage in self-treatment at home, especially if the baby is less than three years old. Children should be treated in a hospital, under the constant supervision of medical personnel.
How to protect yourself from death
Some people do not take the first symptoms of pneumonia seriously, try to bring down the temperature with antipyretics, cure a cough with folk remedies or pharmacy drugs of their own choice. However, the rapid increase in signs of intoxication, fever, chest pain and severe cough should seriously alert a person. In cases of SARS without severe symptoms, people are also in no hurry to see a doctor. Late initiation of therapy for pneumonia, attempts at self-medication significantly increase the risk of death.
At the first manifestations of the disease, you should contact your local therapist or pulmonologist, undergo an examination. Pneumonia should be treated with antibiotics prescribed by a doctor, observing the dosage and dosage regimen. You cannot neglect medical recommendations regarding the nuances of the regimen and therapy, this can lead to serious consequences.