Health News for Senior Citizens

Health News for Seniors

Millions of elderly flock to U.S. emergency rooms due to infectious diseases

Seniors more likely to visit ER due to infectious disease than heart attack, heart failure combined

Nurses discuss treatment for infectious disease patientJan. 15, 2016 - Investigators estimate that during 2012, there were more than 3.1 million emergency department visits for infectious diseases among senior citizens in the U.S. and 4 percent died there are in hospital.

This accounted for 13.5% of all emergency department visits of elderly adults, which was higher than visits for heart attacks and congestive heart failure combined.


The rate of infectious disease-related emergency department visits was 7,231 per 100,000 elderly adults. The most common diagnoses were lower respiratory infections, urinary tract infections, and septicemia.

Septicemia is bacteria in the blood (bacteremia) that often occurs with severe infections. Septicemia is a serious, life-threatening infection that gets worse very quickly. It is also called just sepsis and occasionally referred to as blood poisoning. (More information at MedlinePlus.)

“Sepsis is caused by an immune response triggered by an infection,” according to Wikipedia. “The infection is most commonly by bacteria, but can also be by fungiviruses, orparasites

“Common locations for the primary infection include: lungs, brain,urinary tract, skin, and abdominal organs.

“Risk factors include young or old age, a weakened immune system from conditions such as cancer or diabetes, and major trauma or burns.”

Of all infectious disease-related emergency department visits, 57.2% resulted in hospitalization.

Overall, 4.0% of patients died during their emergency department visit or hospitalization.

"With the rapid growth of the elderly population in the U.S., infectious diseases continue to be an important social problem. Our findings call for strategies to reduce infectious disease-related morbidity and healthcare utilization as a national priority for research, health policy, and community action," said Dr. Tadahiro Goto, lead author of the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society study.


Related Health News from Senior Journal Archives

Obese Senior Citizens More Likely to Survive Deadly Sepsis Infection

Study suggest that excess weight may cause the body to respond differently to critical illness

Aug. 6, 2014

More at Health Section Page