Link found between pneumonia and heart disease

In Health Works,  a new study finds that people who are hospitalized with pneumonia may have a higher risk of developing heart disease. 

Cough, fever, trouble breathing, all symptoms of the lung infection pneumonia. 

"Pneumonia is a bacterial infection of the lungs," said Dr. Neal Chaisson of the Cleveland Clinic. "Essentially, what happens is the bacteria invades the sacs in your lungs and it's like a cut that gets infected. you get inflammation in there." 

University of Ottawa researchers have found a link between pneumonia and the risk of heart disease. For the study they looked at patients from 45 to over 65  for 10 years.

Those who were hospitalized with pneumonia had a higher risk of cardiovascular disease. 

In fact, researchers say the findings suggest pneumonia may be as big a risk factor for heart disease as smoking or diabetes, especially in adults older than 65 who are hospitalized.

Chaisson says while doctors try to answer the why question. The important thing to know is that pneumonia can be dangerous on many levels. 

"The way that we treat pneumonia is often with antibiotics and that's to take care of the bacterial infection and then we depend on the body's immune system to try and 'mop up' sort of, the mess that's in there and clear up the lungs," he said.

Doctors say we need to do everything possible to prevent pneumonia through vaccination and good hygiene, and once it has occurred make sure these at risk patients are monitored for months and years afterward.
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