Doctors in Houston Hospital are evaluating the health status of former President George H.W. Bush before deciding to remove his breathing tube.
Last week, former president Bush was rushed to the intensive care unit. His wife, was also hospitalized, as a precaution- according to the former president's spokesperson.
Bush was admitted "to address an acute respiratory problem stemming from pneumonia," confirmed by Jim McGrath, the family's spokesman. He added that the first lady, Barbara, was also brought to the hospital as a practice of precaution due to coughing and fatigue.
The decision to bring Bush to the hospital was triggered when the former 92-year-old president experienced shortness of breath. McGrath confirmed that Bush was showing positive responses to the treatments.
Specifically, his health problem include vascular parkinsonism. This disease mimics symptoms of Parkinson's disease. In 2015, Bush also broke a vertebra which led him to use a motorised scooter in recent years.
When Does A Person Need A Breathing Tube?
A breathing tube is important to supply the body with enough oxygen. A soft plastic breathing tube is inserted into the windpipe to supply the patient's blood the needed oxygen. The tube is connected to a windpipe which connects the patient to a breathing machine called a ventilator. Usually, the patient is sedated to process ease in inserting the tube.
The breathing tube can be removed when the patient is already able to follow simple commands and has already exhibited a stronger cough. The longer than patient is exposed to a breathing tube, the higher the patient is exposed to risks in developing secondary infection.
What Are The Risks Of Pneumonia?
Pneumonia is a condition that involves infection of the lungs. This condition may be mild or severe. Geriatric patients are however at more risk of developing severe complications.
On Jan. 10, former president Bush even wrote President-elect Donald Trump that he will not be able to attend his inauguration on Friday. According to him, his doctor's advised him to rest and stay at home, "My doctor says if I sit outside in January, it will likely put me six feet under. Same for Barbara. So I guess we're stuck in Texas."
What Is Vascular Parkinsonism?
People with vascular parkinsonism is charactrized with shuffling steps when they walk. There brain scans of patients suffering from this conditions show that they have suffered from minor strokes. The disease however does not show tremors such as in Parkinson's disease and similarly, they do not respond to medications for Parkinson's.
"They look like Parkinson's from the waist down. From the waist up, they look very expressive," confirmed Dr. Alberto Espay of the University of Cincinnati's Gardner Neuroscience Institute.
How Is It Different From Parkinson's Disease?
It is different from Parkinson's Disease because it does not steadily get worse like Parkinson's.
Classic Parkinson's disease is developed when dopamine, the cells supplying the brain's chemical messengers, begin to deteriorate and die. Dopamine is responsible for relaying signals to the different parts of the brain the control movement. Parkinson's symptoms become evident when the cells producing dopamine die.
Vascular Parkinsonism closely resembles the symptoms of Parkinson's, progressive supra nuclear palsy and excessive fluid in the bran.
In 2012, Bush said, "It just affects the legs. It's not painful. You tell your legs to move and they don't move. It's strange, but if you have to have some bad-sounding disease, this is a good one to get."
According to the 92-year-old former president, the symptoms have been hard for him, "because I love being active, (playing) sports, being in the game. But you just face the reality and make the best of it."