Aside from children and the elderly, those who are immunocompromised are also at risk for pneumonia. “Immunocompromised” means that for one reason or another, that person’s immune system has been weakened, inhibiting their ability to fight infection.
In particular, among the most vulnerable for pneumonia are persons who have⁴:
- Engaged in chronic steroid use
- Had solid or stem cell transplantation
- Chemotherapy treatment
- Immune deficiency diseases
For these people, even a simple cough or cold can quickly become a serious illness, because their immune cells are unable to deal with the infection inside their body.
Persons with Respiratory Problems
Pneumonia is an infection that affects a person’s lungs, causing inflammation. This means that people with underlying respiratory problems are more vulnerable⁵.
Persons with chronic respiratory problems are at risk for pneumonia, such as those with:
Persons with Chronic Illnesses
Lastly, persons with chronic illnesses such as diabetes and heart and kidney disease are also vulnerable to pneumonia.
In the case of heart disease⁶, serious illnesses such as pneumonia can put a lot of stress on the heart. If a person with heart disease gets pneumonia, there is a risk that they might develop a heart attack, or heart arrhythmia from the underlying infection.
Those living with diabetes are about 3 times more likely to die from pneumonia because of a weaker immune system caused by high blood sugar⁷.
In addition, smoking and alcohol abuse are also risk factors for pneumonia.
It is important to remember that while some people are more vulnerable to pneumonia, this doesn’t mean that healthy people are “immune” to it. Even if you are healthy and don’t have a history of respiratory problems, you may still get pneumonia, although the chances are low.