How does physiotherapy help elderly with pneumonia?

Physical therapy treatment for pneumonia

According to a survey, 1 per 1000 to 12 per 1000 incidents of death occurs due to pneumonia over the age of 75. Deaths in elderly due to pneumonia over the age of 65 are almost 65% as observed.

What is Pneumonia?

Pneumonia is an infection of the lung usually caused by bacteria or viruses. One or both lungs show inflammation as a result of this infection. Water accumulates in the air sacs inside the lungs which makes it difficult for the lungs to pass oxygen into the bloodstream.

Who’s at risk for catching viral pneumonia?

Pneumonia is a communicable and airborne disease and therefore everybody is at a risk of catching this viral infection. However, there is a higher possibility of getting the infection in the following cases:


  • Those aged 65 years or older
  • Infants 2 years old or younger
  • Pregnant women
  • Those with any form of chronic illness or autoimmune disease that affects the respiratory system
  • Very poor immune system due to any type of immuno-suppressant medication or therapy post any surgery
  • Those affected by any other kind of communicable or immunodeficiency diseases
  • Smoking or intoxication by alcohol or any type of drugs that hamper normal cough reflex
  • Digestive tract disorders that causes digestive tract content to pass upwards


The aging population usually suffers from heart and lungs disease and is more susceptible to get affected by this than the younger generations. Pneumonia can cause dangerous complications in old age by weakening the immune system. Health issues increase chances of mortality in elderly with pneumonia.

Symptoms of Pneumonia

Pneumonia is caused by almost twenty types of organisms; therefore symptoms can differ from person to person. Some symptoms of Pneumonia are,

  1. Weakness
  2. Fever
  3. Cough
  4. Pain in body and chest
  5. Breathing problem
  6. Green or yellow sputum
  7. Loss of appetite
  8. Headaches
  9. Malaise
  10. Dyspnoea


The signs of Pneumonia in elderly people are different from the rest. Fever, dizziness, loss of appetite or sluggishness may not be noticed in elderly with pneumonia. An elderly person with dementia may not even realize that they have been affected with the infection and end up harming their lungs. Almost 50% of body organs lose their efficiency with aging which assists the virus to spread rapidly. Elderly people have lower immunity and lesser lung capacity and may most of the time not notice the symptoms because of falling ill very often and being accustomed to it.

Chest Physiotherapy For Elderly With Pneumonia

Chest Physiotherapy plays a very important part in helping elderly with pneumonia to recover quickly. Chest Physiotherapy can provide,


  1. Management of respiratory failure
  2. Drain secretions from specific part of the lungs to increase lung capacity and assist in chest expansion
  3. Breathing exercise to remove mucus from the respiratory passage
  4. Pulmonary rehabilitation
  5. Physical exercise or training for improvement of respiration
  6. Airway clearance systems
  7. Respiratory muscle training


Chest physiotherapy can help a person to recover from pneumonia. It will help to remove the water that is stored around the lungs and helps to improve breathing and clears the respiratory tract. An assessment done by a physiotherapist can help in discussing the best treatment based on one’s daily activities and symptoms.

For further details, visit us at TriBeCa Care

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