(BPT) – As adults age, they often face different health challenges than those experienced during their youth; however, there are several key steps that can be taken to improve their chances of maintaining good health.
A key part of healthier aging is preventing serious illnesses. Regular medical check-ups and maintaining a healthy diet and active lifestyle can go a long way toward that goal. Even if you are healthy, an adult’s immune response can begin to diminish with age, leaving older adults more vulnerable to infectious diseases such as shingles, influenza or pneumococcal pneumonia. Influenza and pneumococcal pneumonia in particular can be further complicated by certain chronic conditions like COPD, asthma or diabetes, which can increase your risk of getting these diseases.
Pneumococcal pneumonia is a common form of pneumonia that affects roughly 900,000 Americans every year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It is a life-threatening infection of the lungs, which is caused by bacteria that live in the upper respiratory system. The bacteria can be spread via respiratory droplets through coughing or sneezing. Once infected, the disease can cause symptoms such as cough, fever, chills, fatigue, and/or difficulty in breathing. In some cases the symptoms of pneumonia can last weeks or even months.
Pneumococcal pneumonia can lead to hospitalization and may also be fatal in some patients. Older adults are more prone to getting sick from pneumococcal infection, and are also at higher risk to experience more severe and prolonged symptoms.
There are steps that can be taken to help prevent pneumococcal pneumonia, including good hygiene, regular hand washing, and immunization. Many adults think vaccines are only for children, but it’s critical for adults to keep current on their immunizations as part of their strategy for healthy living.
If you are over the age of 65, talk to your doctor about getting up to date on all appropriate immunizations and other steps that you can take to help support healthier aging.
To learn more about pneumococcal pneumonia, visit www.KnowPneumonia.com.