URL of this page: http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/podcast/transcript030915.html

NLM Director’s Comments Transcript

Pneumonia Increases Heart Disease Risk for Seniors: 03/09/2015

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Greetings from the National Library of Medicine and MedlinePlus.gov

Regards to all our listeners!

I'm Rob Logan, Ph.D. senior staff U.S. National Library of Medicine for Donald Lindberg, M.D, the Director of the U.S. National Library of Medicine.

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Adults after age 65, who are hospitalized with pneumonia, have an immediate and sustained higher risk of a heart attack, stroke, or death from heart disease, finds a comprehensive study recently published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

The cohort study, based on two separate data sets, found the elevated risk of cardiovascular disease for seniors (for the first year following hospitalization for pneumonia) was four times higher than peers who were not hospitalized for pneumonia.

Similarly, the study’s 13 researchers found the risk of heart disease for seniors for several years following hospitalization for pneumonia was about 1.5 times the risk of cardiovascular disease for adults age 65 or older, who were not hospitalized for pneumonia.

The study’s lead author told Health Day and we quote: ‘A single episode of pneumonia could have long-term consequences several months or years later’ (end of quote).

The study’s authors explain the results reinforce previous research with fewer participants that suggested an association between pneumonia and heart disease, heart attacks, and a stroke.

The current study followed nearly 6,000 adults age 65 or older, who took part in the larger Cardiovascular Health Study, and about 16,000 men and women who enrolled between ages 45-64 and remained in the comprehensive Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities Study. Most of the compared cohort participants in both studies were followed for at least 10 years. I should add that none of the participants who were hospitalized for pneumonia and selected for inclusion in the current study had a prior history of cardiovascular disease.

Meanwhile, there are a number of resources to assist persons with pneumonia on MedlinePlus.gov’s pneumonia health topic page.

Helpful insights to better understand pneumonia (from the American Lung Association) are available in the  ‘overviews’ section of MedlinePlus.gov’s pneumonia health topic page.

The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute provides a valuable website about the signs and symptoms of pneumonia within the ‘diagnosis/symptoms’ section of MedlinePlus.gov’s pneumonia health topic page.

MedlinePlus.gov suggests you may have pneumonia if you have: a high fever; shaking chills, a cough with phlegm that does not improve or worsens; chest pain while breathing or coughing, and suddenly feel worse after a cold or the flu.

The HealthDay article about the study added the odds of seniors to be stricken with pneumonia increase during the flu season, which is still occurring in many areas of the U.S.

Information about the two pneumonia preventive vaccines that the CDC recommends for adults age 65 and older are available in the ‘prevention and screening’ section of MedlinePlus.gov’s pneumonia health topic page.

MedlinePlus.gov’s pneumonia health topic page additionally provides links to the latest pertinent journal research articles, which are available in the ‘journal articles’ section. Links to clinical trials that may be occurring in your area are available in the ‘clinical trials’ section. You can sign up to receive updates about pneumonia as they become available on MedlinePlus.gov.

To find MedlinePlus.gov’s pneumonia health topic page type ‘pneumonia’ that’s P…N…E…U…M…O…N…I…A in the search box on MedlinePlus.gov’s home page, then, click on ‘pneumonia (National Library of Medicine).’ MedlinePlus.gov also contains health topic pages on: heart diseases, heart attack, and stroke.

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A disclaimer — the information presented in this program should not replace the medical advice of your physician. You should not use this information to diagnose or treat any disease without first consulting with your physician or other health care provider.

It was nice to be with you. I look forward to meeting you here next week.