Rise of pneumonia among diabetics, smokers

Last Updated: Tue, Apr 23, 2013 16:03 hrs
Rise of pneumonia among diabetics, smokers

Experts have seen nearly 100 cases of pneumonia amongst elderly patients in Kolkata over the last few months.

People over 50 years of age and with a history of alcohol, smoking and chronic heart diseases have a higher chance of contracting respiratory illnesses such as pneumonia.

This year on the occasion of World Immunization Week, keeping with WHO's global slogan "Protect your world - get vaccinated", Kolkata based Dr. Saurabh Kole has urged adults over 50 to get vaccinated for a healthier life.

Each year health organizations observe World Immunization Week which is from Apr 21-28 this year.

Experts believe there is a need to highlight the importance of adult vaccination especially in the case of adults with existing chronic co-morbidities such as heart disease, liver disease, diabetes, asthma and bronchitis.

Over the last few years, hospitalizations for pneumonia amongst the older adults have seen a considerable increase.

It is a well-known fact that popular faces such as Pran, Rajinikanth, Nelson Mandela and George Michael who fell prey to pneumonia, were hospitalized for an extended duration.

Dr. Saurabh Kole, ITU In-charge & Coordinator (Academic Wing), Bellevue Clinic, and the Founder Secretary, Indian Society of Critical Care Medicine, Kolkata Branch, said: "Diseases such as pneumonia attack older adults because of their lowered immunity levels and can prove fatal if not diagnosed and treated on time."

"The one time vaccination will help protect elderly from pneumonia and is available in Kolkata. There is a need to create more focused attention for older adults and in line with the WHO's commitment to increase awareness, access and coverage, we aim to vaccinate adults as much as possible in this World Immunization Week which will be observed from April 21 - 28 this year.

"The aim is to create awareness about vaccine preventable diseases amongst adults."

Every year, health organizations all over the world come together to educate the public about the significance of vaccination for people of all ages against diseases during World Immunization Week.

Immunization is one of the most successful and cost-effective health interventions and prevents between 2 to 3 million deaths every year globally.

On the occasion of World Immunization Week, Dr. Saurabh Kole seeks to build more awareness and emphasize on the need for quality healthcare solutions through timely vaccination.

Through Dr. Saurabh Kole efforts, he aims to alert the public about the impact of life threatening diseases and highlight the benefits of vaccination in preventing avoidable deaths from diseases such as pneumonia.

Emphasizing on necessity of immunization beyond the childhood, Dr. Saurabh Kole pointed out, "Immunization is not just for kids! Regardless of age, we ALL need immunizations to remain healthy. With time, immunity from childhood vaccines can wear off and you may be vulnerable from different diseases. With adulthood comes responsibility, including the need to protect ourselves and our loved ones.

"The preventive medicine will be an integral part of the critical care medicine in the near future & integration between the preventive care & emergency medicine is an imminent need of this hour."

The World Health Organization (WHO) has estimated that globally, pneumococcal disease is the leading cause of vaccine-preventable mortality, across all age-groups.

However, worsened outcomes of the disease like higher mortality are more frequently observed in the older adults (particularly above 50 years), as compared to other age-groups.

Older adults and those at high risk of catching infections, including smokers, diabetics and people suffering from chronic illnesses, are advised to go for vaccination.

Pneumococcal disease is a group of illnesses caused by the bacterium Streptococcus pneumoniae (S. pneumoniae), also known as pneumococcus.

The most common form of pneumococcal disease in adults is pneumococcal pneumonia.

Although all age groups may be affected by pneumococcal disease, including pneumococcal pneumonia, the highest rate of pneumococcal disease occurs in young children and older adults.

Age is a primary risk factor for pneumococcal disease, and as the world's population ages, the number of people at risk for pneumococcal disease grows.

Despite widespread adherence to treatment guidelines, pneumococcal disease remains a serious global concern with high rates of morbidity and mortality.

To help older adults maintain active, fulfilling lives, it is critical for them to speak regularly with a doctor about their health.

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