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People with sleep apnea may be at greater risk for developing pneumonia, according to a new study. And the more severe the sleep apnea, the greater the risk, the research suggests.
"This study showed that sleep apnea is an independent risk factor for incident pneumonia," wrote Dr. Vincent Yi-Fong Su and Dr. Kun-Ta Chou of the department of chest medicine at Taipei Veterans General Hospital in Taiwan. "Our results also demonstrated an exposure-response relation in that patients with more severe sleep apnea may have a higher risk of pneumonia than patients with sleep apnea of milder severity."
The sleep disorder causes the upper airway to become blocked, cutting off oxygen during sleep. The researchers said this increases the risk for aspiration, or inhaling contents or fluid from the throat into the lungs. This can put people at greater risk for pneumonia.
The 11-year study, published March 3 in CMAJ, involved 34,100 patients. Close to 7,000 of these participants had sleep apnea, and about 27,000 did not.
The researchers found that more than 9 percent of the sleep apnea group developed pneumonia, compared to less than 8 percent of those without the sleep disorder. The risk was higher among patients using continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) therapy, considered the gold standard for treating sleep apnea.
However, those who developed pneumonia were older and had other health problems, such as heart disease, diabetes and dementia.
While the study showed an association between sleep apnea and pneumonia risk, it did not prove a cause-and-effect link.
What is pneumonia?
Pneumonia is a lung infection that can make you very sick. You may cough, run a fever, and have a hard time breathing. For most people,pneumonia can be treated at home. It often clears up in 2 to 3 weeks. But older adults, babies, and people with other diseases can become very ill. They may need to be in the hospital.
You can get pneumonia in your daily life, such as at school or work. This is called community-associated pneumonia. You can also get it when you are in a hospital or nursing home. This is called healthcare-associated pneumonia. It may be more severe because you already are ill. This topic focuses on pneumonia you get in your daily life.
What causes pneumonia?
Germs called bacteria or viruses usually cause pneumonia.
Pneumonia usually starts when you breathe the germs into your lungs. You may be more likely to get the disease after having a cold or the flu. These illnesses make it hard for your lungs to fight infection, so it is easier to get pneumonia. Having a long-term, or chronic, disease like asthma, heart disease, cancer, or diabetes also makes you more likely to get pneumonia.
What are the symptoms?
Symptoms of pneumonia caused by bacteria usually come on quickly. They may include:
· Cough. You will likely cough up mucus (sputum) from your lungs. Mucus may be rusty or green or tinged with blood.
· Fast breathing and feeling short of breath.
· Shaking and "teeth-chattering" chills. You may have this only one time or many times.
· Chest pain that often feels worse when you cough or breathe in.
· Fast heartbeat.
· Feeling very tired or feeling very weak.
· Nausea and vomiting.
When you have mild symptoms, your doctor may call this "walking pneumonia."
Older adults may have different, fewer, or milder symptoms. They may not have a fever. Or they may have a cough but not bring up mucus. The main sign of pneumonia in older adults may be a change in how well they think. Confusion ordelirium is common. Or, if they already have a lung disease, that disease may get worse.
Symptoms caused by viruses are the same as those caused by bacteria. But they may come on slowly and often are not as obvious or as bad.
How is pneumonia diagnosed?
Your doctor will ask you about your symptoms and do a physical exam. He or she may order a chest X-ray and a blood test. This is usually enough for your doctor to know if you have pneumonia. You may need more tests if you have bad symptoms, are an older adult, or have other health problems. In general, the sicker you are, the more tests you will have.
Pneumonia - Cause
Viruses, bacteria, or (in rare cases) parasites or other organisms can cause pneumonia.
· In most cases, the specific organism (such as bacteria or virus) cannot be identified even with testing.1 When an organism is identified, it is usually the bacteria Streptococcus pneumoniae.2
· Many types of bacteria may cause pneumonia. Pneumonia caused byMycoplasma pneumoniae is sometimes mild and called "walking pneumonia."
· Viruses, such as influenza A (the flu virus) and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV)can cause pneumonia.
In people with impaired immune systems, pneumonia may be caused by other organisms, including some forms of fungi, such as Pneumocystis jiroveci (formally called Pneumocystis carinii). This fungus frequently causes pneumonia in people who have AIDS. Some doctors may suggest an HIV test if they think thatPneumocystis jiroveci is causing the pneumonia.
Recommended Related to Lung Disease/Respiratory Problems
Pulmonary vascular disease is the medical term for disease affecting the blood vessels leading to or from the lungs. Most forms of pulmonary vascular disease cause shortness of breath.
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Sumber : MD