Pneumonia, the third leading cause of death in Korea, needs to be taken care of before winter comes

On the 27th, the Office for National Statistics released a report entitled ‘Results of Statistics on Causes of Death in 2021’. According to the report, a total of 307,680 people died last year, the most common cause of death being cancer (malignant neoplasm), which accounted for 26.0% of the total. This was followed by heart disease (9.9%), pneumonia (7.2%), cerebrovascular disease (7.1%), and deliberate self-harm (suicide) (4.2%). In terms of age, suicide was the most common cause of death in the teens to 30s, and cancer after the 40s.

Malignant neoplasms (cancer), heart disease, cerebrovascular disease, pneumonia, and suicide are not omitted from last year’s statistics as well as the main causes of death in Korea. In particular, in the case of pneumonia, the death rate per 100,000 people was 17.2% in 2011, which was the 6th leading cause of death, and increased more than 2.5 times to 44.43% in 2021, making it the third leading cause of death. seem necessary.

Pneumonia is a disease where the lungs are inflamed by various pathogens such as bacteria, viruses, fungi and parasites. The lungs, which exist for respiration, are inevitably exposed to air through the airways. In this process, pathogens enter through the airways, and inflammation usually begins .

With the advent of the changing season with a large daily temperature difference, the number of cases of pneumonia among patients visiting hospitals with cold symptoms is increasing. Pneumonia is often confused with a cold, flu, or COVID-19 because symptoms such as cough, sputum, and fever appear. Symptoms of shortness of breath, chest pain, muscle pain, and headache may appear depending on the individual’s health condition or the site of pneumonia.

The elderly are easily infected from external pathogens due to reduced immunity and lung function, but in 20-30% of cases, the disease develops asymptomatically and treatment time is lost and the symptoms get worse and then in some cases, pneumonia is diagnosed.

Therefore, if symptoms such as high fever, shortness of breath, purulent sputum, and lethargy appear along with cold symptoms, you must be diagnosed with pneumonia by an internal respiratory medicine specialist.

When visiting a medical institution, a chest X-ray is taken along with a questionnaire. If pneumonia is found, a sputum test can be done to find the causative organism, a blood test to check for inflammation, and a CT scan or bronchoscopy if needed. .

As the causative bacteria of pneumonia are known to be more than 90 types in addition to the commonly known pneumococci, it is important to identify the causative bacteria and implement appropriate antibiotic treatment to treat pneumonia. Depending on the causative organism, medications such as antibiotics should be taken, and adequate rest, hydration and nutrition should be provided.

Most healthy adults can be cured by antibiotic treatment, but patients with chronic diseases such as high blood pressure and diabetes, immunocompromised infants, and the elderly over 65 can lose their lives from pneumonia or complications.

The Director of the Department of Pulmonary Medicine at Daedong Hospital, Lee Kyu-min, said, “If there is a disease that needs to be looked at carefully from the change in seasons when morning and night temperatures start to show because of the day big day by day. the temperature of the day to the cold winter, it is pneumonia. “There are many people who suffer from complications such as pleurisy and severe respiratory distress syndrome if the treatment period is long due to abscess, etc.

The basis of all disease prevention is hand washing. Washing your hands well can take care of your personal health, so make it a habit. Pneumonia is transmitted through the respiratory tract like the flu, so patients at high risk of pneumonia, such as the elderly, infants, and those with chronic illnesses, should avoid going out in crowded places and pay attention to personal hygiene by washing hands and wear masks. If you smoke, you should stop smoking, drink plenty of water and manage nutrition, maintain a healthy state through physical activity, and develop immunity through balanced nutrition and light exercise.

It is important to get your flu shot before the winter starts. Influenza viruses often cause viral pneumonia or bacterial pneumonia due to secondary infection. In addition, in the case of pneumococcus, one of the many bacteria that cause pneumonia, it is possible to prevent it by vaccination, so chronic disease patients or the elderly with weakened immunity should receive it to reduce the risk of pneumonia .

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