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why does pneumonia cause death so quickly?

Posted on 2008-10-13
Medium Priority
Last Modified: 2008-10-21
PARIS (AP) -- Hospital officials say 37-year-old French actor Guillaume Depardieu has died from complications linked to a sudden case of pneumonia (symptoms on Sunday, dead on Monday).

why does pneumonia cause death so quickly?

(my 88 year old father has a disease and the disease does not cause death, but most who have it die from pneumonia. He's been told: at the least little symptom of cold or flu, go to the doctor.)
Question by:nickg5
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LVL 38

Accepted Solution

lherrou earned 900 total points
ID: 22707838

Pneumonia is any infection of the lungs. As you probably know, the lungs are critical to our ability to exchange oxygen for the carbon dioxide we create - we do this many times every minute. When the lungs become infected, as with any other infection, they can become hot, swollen, and fill with liquid. When they swell, they close the tiny air passages, also the liquid fills the air sacs where the actual oxygen exchange occurs. For this reason, any infection of the lungs can be dangerous, but in those who already have impaired capacity (COPD, Asthma, etc, etc), it can quickly be deadly.

LVL 25

Author Comment

ID: 22707849
but the person in question had been admitted to the hospital and should-could have had constant care and watching over.

Pneumonia can kill you though the doctor is standing there giving drugs and other help?

Assisted Solution

Carsontl earned 100 total points
ID: 22707892
If it's not treated immediately, it can result in death.
LVL 38

Expert Comment

ID: 22707900
Sure, if the infection is moving fast enough. Remember, it only takes a few minutes of no oxygen to die. If the sacs in your lungs are filling with liquid, and the airways are closing up, they can give drugs to gradually decrease that liquid, and antibiotics to kill bacterial infections, and inhalers to try to open the airways, but any asthma sufferer can tell you that even with an inhaler, there are times when it's hard be breath due to even a simple cold or allergies, much less a full-blown lung infection.

LVL 25

Author Comment

ID: 22710844
well that actor must have gone fast. He checked into the hospital Sunday night and in less than 24 hours was dead despite immediate medical attention.

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