The elderly are advised to guard against pneumonia, with the condition overtaking heart disease to be the second leading cause of death in Hong Kong, Metropolis Daily reported Wednesday.
The number of fatal pneumonia cases has more than doubled in just over a decade, killing 6,960 people in 2012, up from 3,026 in 2001, the report said. About 94 percent of the deaths from pneumonia in 2012 were among people aged 65 years and over and 99 percent were among people aged over 45. Only cancer claimed more lives.
Respiratory disease specialist Wong King-yan said the early symptoms are just like those associated with regular flu, such as fever, chills and a cough.
People with chronic diseases are three times more likely to have pneumonia than healthy people, and those aged 50 years or above who smoke or drink heavily are at high risk.
Yuen Siu-lam, chairman of the Hong Kong Alliance for Patients’ Organizations, said pneumonia can be prevented and people in high-risk groups should consult doctors about vaccinating against the disease.
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