Predicting Pneumonia Risk in Older Adults

Researchers from the American Geriatrics Society developed a ‘prediction score’ to help healthcare professionals determine which older adults might be most at risk for developing pneumonia. This is necessary because pneumonia is the leading cause of sickness and death among older adults. In fact, about 40 percent of older adults with pneumonia are hospitalized and face high rates of complications and death.

The study included 3,392 older adults living in the Seattle area, who were at least 65 years old. These participants were dementia-free, and did not have any cognitive problems. Potential pneumonia risk factors were identified from questionnaire data and interviewer assessments of functional status, medical history, smoking and alcohol use, cognitive function, personal care, and problem solving. Some additional criteria included physical measures such as grip strength and gait speed and more administrative database information on comorbid illnesses, laboratory tests, and prescriptions dispensed.

Of the sample size, 642 of the participants were diagnosed with pneumonia, while 574 died. Through these results, the researchers were able to calculate seven factors that are critical to a pneumonia prediction score. They include: age, sex, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), congestive heart failure, body mass index, along with prescriptions for inhaled or oral corticosteroids.

This is important because doctors could potentially use the pneumonia prediction score to help prevent pneumonia in older adults.


raziRazi Berry, Founder and Publisher of Naturopathic Doctor News & Review (ndnr.com) and NaturalPath (thenatpath.com), has spent the last decade as a natural medicine advocate and marketing whiz. She has galvanized and supported the naturopathic community, bringing a higher quality of healthcare to millions of North Americans through her publications. A self-proclaimed health-food junkie and mother of two; she loves all things nature, is obsessed with organic gardening, growing fruit trees (not easy in Phoenix), laughing until she snorts, and homeschooling. She is a little bit crunchy and yes, that is her real name.

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