If you needed one more reason to quit smoking, there could be no better one than pneumonia: a series of lung infections that takes the lives of 10% to 30% of people aged over 65 who develop it. Seniors, by virtue of their age, have a greater likelihood of developing pneumonia, and the most important step they can take is to quit.

Research indicates that those who smoke over 20 cigarettes daily are almost three times more likely to catch pneumonia, than non-smokers. Smoking is currently seen as the number one risk factor for pneumonia even in healthy young people, since it causes oxidative stress and alterations in the responsiveness of inflammatory cells.

Scientists note that in smokers, approximately one out of every three cases of pneumonia could have been avoided by never smoking in the first place. If you feel that quitting is difficult, rest assured, you are not alone; smoking can be one of the most addictive habits in the world, but hypnosis, a natural, drug-free way to quit, can help you stop after just one session, by attacking destructive patterns at a subconscious level.

Why are the Elderly at a Greater Risk of Pneumonia?

There are important changes that take place in the body, which make seniors more susceptible to pneumonia. Health generally declines as we age, and seniors are more likely to be battle multiple chronic diseases at once. Structural changes also occur; the strength of our respiratory muscles decline and our lungs lose elasticity. Finally, many people aged over 65 are smokers. Research shows that smoking is a factor in almost 33% of community acquired pneumonia cases.

Being Watchful for the Signs and Symptoms of Pneumonia

Because so many bacteria and viruses can cause pneumonia, symptoms can vary – it is vital to be watchful for these signs, so that diagnosis and treatment can begin as soon as possible. Leaving the illness too long without treatment can result in hospitalisation and more rarely, in death. Common symptoms of pneumonia include a heavy cough, difficulty breathing, rapid heartbeat, feeling unwell, shaking, and chest pain. Less commonly, one may cough up blood, feel extreme fatigue, suffer from joint and muscle pain and even cough up blood. The elderly can keep pneumonia at bay by washing hands frequently, disinfecting doorknobs and frequently used surfaces, and having the pneumococcal vaccine, which is not 100% effective, but which provides extra protection and helps weaken infections and reduce the likelihood of complications.

Those aged over 65 should be aware of their increased risk for pneumonia, taking steps to keep this deadly disease at bay. Smokers should make quitting their number one priority, relying on natural methods such as hypnosis to break this habit. It is also important to seek help quickly if any symptoms arise, and to consider vaccination.