Hillary Clinton’s pneumonia diagnosis puts spotlight on illness

Hillary Clinton’s pneumonia diagnosis puts spotlight on illness

Hillary Clinton has pneumonia, her doctor revealed in a statement Sunday, hours after the Democratic presidential nominee left a 9/11 commemoration event early.

“Secretary Clinton has been experiencing a cough related to allergies,” read Dr. Lisa Bardack’s statement. “On Friday, during follow-up evaluation of her prolonged cough, she was diagnosed with pneumonia. She was put on antibiotics, and advised to rest and modify her schedule.”

So what is pneumonia, what are the risk factors, and what do physicians recommend for a successful recovery?

What is pneumonia? 

Pneumonia is a common infection that causes inflammation in one or more parts of your lungs. Pneumonia may be caused by either a bacteria or virus. It affects people differently depending on age, general health and the type of bacteria or virus. About 1 million Americans seek hospital care annually because of the illness, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Symptoms vary from mild to severe and often include coughing, fever, chills and shortness of breath.

“Clinton’s age puts her at higher risk for both getting pneumonia and getting sicker now that she has pneumonia,” says Dr. Tony Hampton, a family medicine physician with Advocate Medical Group. “The very young and those over 65 are at increased risk.”

Risk factors for pneumonia:

While Mrs. Clinton’s doctor did not reveal which type of pneumonia the candidate has, Dr. Hampton says among adults, conditions that increase the risk of invasive pneumococcal disease, one common type of pneumonia, include:

  • Decreased immune function, including from stress or lack of sleep
  • Exposure to ill individuals (shaking hands, nursing home visits, etc.)
  • Cigarette smoking, or exposure to cigarette smoke
  • Chronic heart, lung, liver or renal disease

Excessive talking may lead to drying of airway passages increasing the risks of respiratory infection, Dr. Hampton adds.

Recovery from pneumonia:

Antibiotics can be used to treat pneumonia caused by bacteria, and most people see improvement within two to three days.

Dr. Hampton also recommends:

  • Drinking plenty of fluids, which dilutes mucous production and keeps you hydrated
  • Eating a well-balanced diet
  • Sitting in a chair and walking moderately, which generally promote good lung health
  • Reducing work and getting adequate rest, without which the condition may worsen

A pneumonia vaccine is also available, which Dr. Hampton recommends to most people over age 65 as a way to reduce the risk of getting pneumonia.

At 68 years old, Mrs. Clinton falls into a category that puts her at increased risk for complications, but her doctor said yesterday she is re-hydrated and “recovering nicely.” Dr. Bardack has repeatedly affirmed Mrs. Clinton’s health and fitness for the presidency.

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  1. People recover from pneumonia all the time with proper rest and medicine. I have had it years ago and recovered fine. The news media likes to blow things out of proportion! I am sure she will be ready and able to face Trump. Speaking of Trump, at least her illness can be cured. Unfortunately there is no cure for stupidity.

  2. George Washington September 12, 2016 at 1:58 pm · Reply

    Unfortunately, other doctors have speculated things could be much worse, and that pneumonia is the least of her problems. Any way that you look at it, she is not only morally unfit to be president, she is also physically unfit to hold the office. #SheNeedsToGo

  3. What king of idiots make ignorant stupid political comments on a web site for medical information.

  4. I was shocked and disappointed to see that Advocate would send its clients such a politically charged article. The medical opinion related to Mrs. Clinton quoted in the article was from a Dr. Tony Hampton. The article did not state that Dr. Hampton is the treating or consulting physician for Mrs. Clinton, so it is fair to assume that he is not. Therefore, he has no business opining on her health problems and his opinion is of little value. If this is the type of article that Advocate is presenting to its clients, I will no longer be reading these emails. Shame on you.

  5. Adam Mesirow

    Thank you for your readership. I respectfully disagree with the assertion that this article is politically charged. Given Mrs. Clinton’s medical diagnosis, which was released by her own campaign, is undeniably newsworthy, and given the prevalence of pneumonia diagnoses in the United States, health enews determined to attempt to educate readers on the condition. The decision is in line with our mission to provide readers with timely, credible and engaging health news and information. The article does include multiple statements from Mrs. Clinton’s treating physician and seeks Dr. Hampton’s expertise to provide additional information about pneumonia, its risk factors and expected recovery. It is common practice among news organizations to source physicians not intimately involved in a patient’s care to provide general information about a given topic. Again, thank you for reading.

  6. Adam,

    Good retort! Perhaps the other commenter should have read the article and realized it had to with the disease and used the “news topic of the candidate’s health” as a conversation starter. Thank you for a quality defense of your article.

  7. I sincerely hope that Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump have had the very important pneumonia vaccine. Also, as I understand, each bronchial and lung infection further damages the respitory system. This can lead to Chronic Obstructive Pulminory Disease (COPD). I’ve witnessed it. Both my parents were diagnosed with COPD and needed oxygen 24/7 the last two years of each of their lives. These were sad and difficult times.

  8. I thought the article was right on time and very good. I’m 65 and I’ve taken the pneumonia shot but my husband hasn’t. This article will remind him to get the shot because he had pneumonia earlier this year. This is a political season but pneumonia has no season.

  9. Any opportunity to push more vaccines.

  10. Too bad as a Physician I am skeptical Pnuemonia is her only do diagnosis. I believe she has a neurological condition given her various abnormal movements on many different videos and occasions.

  11. I found valuable information in the article and am very happy that we get articles such as this to educate us. It is clear this article has nothing to do with politics! Thank you Adam and keep up the good work!!!

About the Author

Adam Mesirow
Adam Mesirow

Adam Mesirow, health enews managing editor, is media relations director of Advocate Aurora Health. Securing high-profile media placements for more than a decade, he loves to tell a good story. Adam earned a Bachelor’s degree in Public Policy from the University of Michigan. He lives in Chicago and enjoys playing sports, reading TIME magazine and a little nonsense now and then.