You hear a lot about older men dying of Pneumonia more than women. In the last ten years we’ve lost a few celebrities to complications from Pneumonia to include Johnny Cash who had various battles with the illness, though complications with Diabetes was ruled as his cause of death in 2003. Most recently comedian Bernie Mac at a rather young age of 50 years old died of complication from Pneumonia. So why does it seem that older men are more prone to dying from Pneumonia than women?
Sachin Yende, M.D. of Critical Care Medicine at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine found than men’s bodies respond differently to the infection than a woman’s does.
The researchers measured blood levels of inflammatory indicators, including tumor necrosis factor (TNF) and interleukins 6 and 10, coagulation indicators including Factor IX, and fibrinolysis indicators including D-dimer concentrations. They found patterns in these biomarkers that suggest men generate a stronger inflammatory and coagulation response and, perhaps, break up blood clots more quickly than women in response to infection. “These differences in inflammatory, coagulation and fibrinolysis biomarkers among men may explain the reduced short-term and long-term survival,” said Dr. Yende.
Sometimes we don’t even know we have Pneumonia. We dismiss coughs for the common cold and do not seek medical attention. Doctor visits aren’t cheap and as men we are stubborn and don’t want to visit our physicians for every cough and sniffle that may occur. It might not be a bad idea to make an appointment with your doctor if a common cough becomes painful and persistent. Better safe than sorry.