Source: Richard Besser / ABC News
Nelson Mandela is being treated for a lung infection, a term often used synonymously with pneumonia.
Elderly people are at an increased risk for infections in general — more so if the person has many chronic medical problems, but as people age their immune systems are less capable of fighting off infections.
South African officials say Mandela’s lung infection is “recurring.” The former president is 94 years old.
As elderly people become more and more infirm, they have a decreased cough response and may aspirate oral secretions into their lungs, raising the risk of infections. And if someone is bedridden, their breaths become more shallow, raising the risk even more.
It may seem surprising that it took so long for Mandela’s diagnosis to be made public. However, it’s possible that it took this long to make a diagnosis.
To read this article in its entirety visit ABC News.