The risk of hospitalization and death with pneumonia is greater in Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD) patients, especially those treated with Hemodialysis or Peritoneal Dialysis and Kidney Transplant recipients. Studies suggest that this association may contribute to excessive illness and death in people with CKD. Pneumonia can be caused by a variety of viruses, bacteria, and sometimes fungi. While anyone can get it, some people are at a particularly high risk for this type infection, specifically all stages of CKD. The National Kidney Foundation notes that people with CKD are at greater risk for pneumococcal disease (initial infection that causes pneumonia) because of a weakened immune system that makes their body more susceptible to infection.
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Studies typically rank infection second to cardiovascular disease as a cause of death in those with CKD, and approximately one in every five infectious deaths is attributed to pulmonary causes such as pneumonia. Particularly dangerous, pneumonia has a fatality rate of 5 to 7 percent and in some cases can cause heart attack or heart failure. Further, it has been estimated that mortality rates from pulmonary infections in CKD patients are several times higher than in the general population. Therefore, pulmonary infections may contribute significantly to the sizable incidents of morbidity (illness) and mortality within the CKD Community.
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What is even more alarming is that doctors and researchers have found that the initial infection that causes pneumonia, pneumococcal disease, can enter the bloodstream and cause sepsis. The disease can also cause infection that covers your heart or even invade the central nervous system and cause meningitis. Infections in people with CKD such as those caused by pneumococcal disease are worse and can be more serious than in people who do not have CKD. Even those who survive pneumonia, sepsis or meningitis, often face hospitalizations, long recovery times and devastating health problems such as hearing loss, seizures, blindness and paralysis.
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Pneumococcal bacteria live in the throat and spread through coughing, sneezing, or through direct contact such as kissing. Not everyone who carries the bacteria gets sick from it, so it is possible to catch pneumococcal disease from someone who seems to be healthy. The good news is that vaccination can help protect you against pneumococcal disease, pneumonia, sepsis and meningitis. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends pneumococcal vaccination for CKD patients. There are two types of pneumococcal vaccines that those with CKD should receive: a pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine (PPSV23) and a pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV13). While most adults only need to be vaccinated only once, people with all stages of CKD especially dialysis patients and Kidney Transplant recipients should revaccinate after 5 years. KidneyBuzz.com suggests that you ask your Nephrologist about your specific circumstances and vaccine recommendations.
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James MT, Quan H, Tonelli M, Manns BJ, Faris P, Laupland KB, Hemmelgarn BR. "CKD and Risk of Hospitalization and Death with Pneumonia." PubMed.gov. Department of Medicine, University of Calgary, Calgary, Alberta, Canada. US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health.
"Pneumococcal Pneumonia Vaccine, Symptoms, Treatment ." MedicineNet.
"CHRONIC KIDNEY DISEASE AND PNEUMOCOCCAL DISEASE: DO YOU KNOW THE FACTS?" The National Kidney Foundation: A to Z Health Guide.
"Clinical Epidemiology of Pneumonia in Hemodialysis Patients: The USRDS Waves 1, 3, and 4 Study." Nature.com. Nature Publishing Group.