ADHD in Adults

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ADHD Symptom Snapshot

There are 3 core symptoms of ADHD: inattention, impulsivity, and hyperactivity. The following are examples of how ADHD symptoms may appear in adults.

Only a doctor or other health care professional can diagnose ADHD.

ONLY A DOCTOR OR OTHER HEALTH CARE PROFESSIONAL CAN DIAGNOSE ADHD

Symptoms of Inattention

  • Often makes careless mistakes and lacks attention to details
    (Examples: overlooking or missing details or handing in work that is inaccurate)
  • Often has difficulty paying attention to tasks
    (Example: difficulty remaining focused during lectures, conversations, or lengthy readings)
  • Often seems to not listen when spoken to directly
    (Example: mind seems elsewhere, even in the absence of obvious distraction)
  • Often fails to follow through on instructions, chores, or duties in the workplace
    (Example: starts tasks but quickly loses focus and is easily sidetracked)
  • Often has difficulty organizing tasks and activities
    (Examples: messy, disorganized work; poor time management; fails to meet deadlines)
  • Often avoids, dislikes, or is reluctant to participate in tasks requiring sustained mental effort, like preparing reports, completing forms, or reviewing lengthy papers 
  • Often loses things like tools, wallets, keys, paperwork, eyeglasses, and mobile phones
  • Often easily distracted by other things, including unrelated thoughts
  • Often forgetful in daily activities, such as running errands, returning calls, paying bills, and keeping appointments

Symptoms of Hyperactivity and Impulsivity

  • Often fidgets with or taps hands and feet or squirms in seat
  • Often leaves seat when remaining seated is expected
    (Example: leaves their place in the office or other workplace setting or in other situations that require remaining seated)
  • Often runs or climbs where it is inappropriate or feels restless (in adults, may be limited to feeling restless)
  • Often unable to participate in leisure activities quietly
  • Often acts as if “on the go” or “driven by a motor”
    (Example: is unable to be or uncomfortable being still for an extended time, as in meetings or restaurants)
  • Often talks excessively
  • Often blurts out an answer before a question has been fully asked
    (Examples: completes people’s sentences; cannot wait for next turn in conversation)
  • Often has difficulty waiting his or her turn, for example, while waiting in line
  • Often interrupts or intrudes on others
    (Examples: butts into conversations, games, or activities; may start using other people’s things without asking or receiving permission; may intrude into or take over what others are doing)

Vaccines for adults: Which do you need?

Vaccines offer protection from infectious diseases. Find out how to stay on top of the vaccines recommended for adults.

You’re not a kid anymore, so you don’t have to worry about shots, right? Wrong. Find out how to stay on top of your vaccines.

What vaccines do adults need?

Vaccines for adults are recommended based on your age, prior vaccinations, health, lifestyle, occupation and travel destinations.

The schedule is updated every year, and changes range from the addition of a new vaccine to tweaks of current recommendations. To determine exactly which vaccines you need now and which vaccines are coming up, check the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s website.

What factors might affect my vaccine recommendations?

Several factors can affect whether you need certain vaccines. Be sure to tell your doctor if you:

  • Are planning to travel abroad
  • Have had your spleen removed
  • Work in certain occupations where exposures could occur
  • Are or might be pregnant
  • Are breast-feeding
  • Are moderately or severely ill or have a chronic illness
  • Have any severe allergies, including a serious allergic reaction to a previous dose of a vaccine
  • Have had a disorder in which your body’s immune system attacks your nerves, such as Guillain-Barre syndrome
  • Have a weakened immune system or are being treated with an immunosuppressant
  • Have recently had another vaccine
  • Have recently had a transfusion or received other blood products
  • Have a personal or family history of seizures

Your doctor might also recommend certain vaccines based on your sexual activity. Vaccinations can protect you from hepatitis A and hepatitis B, serious liver infections that can spread through sexual contact. The HPV vaccine is recommended for men up to age 21 and women up to age 26.

Why are some vaccines particularly important for adults?

Adults of any age can benefit from vaccines. However, certain diseases, such as the flu, can be particularly serious for older adults or those living with certain chronic illnesses.

How can I keep track of my vaccines?

To gather information about your vaccination status, talk to your parents or other caregivers. Check with your doctor’s office, as well as any previous doctors’ offices, schools and employers. Some states also have registries that include adult immunizations. To check, contact your state health department.

If you can’t find your records, talk to your doctor. He or she might be able to do blood tests to see if you are immune to certain diseases that can be prevented by vaccines. You might need to get some vaccines again.

To stay on top of your vaccines, ask your doctor for an immunization record form. Bring the form with you to all of your doctor visits and ask your provider to sign and date the form for each vaccine you receive.

Pneumonia

Symptoms and causes

Symptoms

The signs and symptoms of pneumonia vary from mild to severe, depending on factors such as the type of germ causing the infection, and your age and overall health. Mild signs and symptoms often are similar to those of a cold or flu, but they last longer.

Signs and symptoms of pneumonia may include:

  • Chest pain when you breathe or cough
  • Confusion or changes in mental awareness (in adults age 65 and older)
  • Cough, which may produce phlegm
  • Fatigue
  • Fever, sweating and shaking chills
  • Lower than normal body temperature (in adults older than age 65 and people with weak immune systems)
  • Nausea, vomiting or diarrhea
  • Shortness of breath

Newborns and infants may not show any sign of the infection. Or they may vomit, have a fever and cough, appear restless or tired and without energy, or have difficulty breathing and eating.

When to see a doctor

See your doctor if you have difficulty breathing, chest pain, persistent fever of 102 F (39 C) or higher, or persistent cough, especially if you’re coughing up pus.

It’s especially important that people in these high-risk groups see a doctor:

  • Adults older than age 65
  • Children younger than age 2 with signs and symptoms
  • People with an underlying health condition or weakened immune system
  • People receiving chemotherapy or taking medication that suppresses the immune system

For some older adults and people with heart failure or chronic lung problems, pneumonia can quickly become a life-threatening condition.

Causes

Pneumonia is classified according to the types of germs that cause it and where you got the infection.

Community-acquired pneumonia

Community-acquired pneumonia is the most common type of pneumonia. It occurs outside of hospitals or other health care facilities. It may be caused by:

  • Bacteria. The most common cause of bacterial pneumonia in the U.S. is Streptococcus pneumoniae. This type of pneumonia can occur on its own or after you’ve had a cold or the flu. It may affect one part (lobe) of the lung, a condition called lobar pneumonia.
  • Bacteria-like organisms. Mycoplasma pneumoniae also can cause pneumonia. It typically produces milder symptoms than do other types of pneumonia. Walking pneumonia is an informal name given to this type of pneumonia, which typically isn’t severe enough to require bed rest.
  • Fungi. This type of pneumonia is most common in people with chronic health problems or weakened immune systems, and in people who have inhaled large doses of the organisms. The fungi that cause it can be found in soil or bird droppings and vary depending upon geographic location.
  • Viruses. Some of the viruses that cause colds and the flu can cause pneumonia. Viruses are the most common cause of pneumonia in children younger than 5 years. Viral pneumonia is usually mild. But in some cases it can become very serious.

Hospital-acquired pneumonia

Some people catch pneumonia during a hospital stay for another illness. Hospital-acquired pneumonia can be serious because the bacteria causing it may be more resistant to antibiotics and because the people who get it are already sick. People who are on breathing machines (ventilators), often used in intensive care units, are at higher risk of this type of pneumonia.

Health care-acquired pneumonia

Health care-acquired pneumonia is a bacterial infection that occurs in people who live in long-term care facilities or who receive care in outpatient clinics, including kidney dialysis centers. Like hospital-acquired pneumonia, health care-acquired pneumonia can be caused by bacteria that are more resistant to antibiotics.

Aspiration pneumonia

Aspiration pneumonia occurs when you inhale food, drink, vomit or saliva into your lungs. Aspiration is more likely if something disturbs your normal gag reflex, such as a brain injury or swallowing problem, or excessive use of alcohol or drugs.

Risk factors

Pneumonia can affect anyone. But the two age groups at highest risk are:

  • Children who are 2 years old or younger
  • People who are age 65 or older

Other risk factors include:

  • Being hospitalized. You’re at greater risk of pneumonia if you’re in a hospital intensive care unit, especially if you’re on a machine that helps you breathe (a ventilator).
  • Chronic disease. You’re more likely to get pneumonia if you have asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) or heart disease.
  • Smoking. Smoking damages your body’s natural defenses against the bacteria and viruses that cause pneumonia.
  • Weakened or suppressed immune system. People who have HIV/AIDS, who’ve had an organ transplant, or who receive chemotherapy or long-term steroids are at risk.

Complications

Even with treatment, some people with pneumonia, especially those in high-risk groups, may experience complications, including:

  • Bacteria in the bloodstream (bacteremia). Bacteria that enter the bloodstream from your lungs can spread the infection to other organs, potentially causing organ failure.
  • Difficulty breathing. If your pneumonia is severe or you have chronic underlying lung diseases, you may have trouble breathing in enough oxygen. You may need to be hospitalized and use a breathing machine (ventilator) while your lung heals.
  • Fluid accumulation around the lungs (pleural effusion). Pneumonia may cause fluid to build up in the thin space between layers of tissue that line the lungs and chest cavity (pleura). If the fluid becomes infected, you may need to have it drained through a chest tube or removed with surgery.
  • Lung abscess. An abscess occurs if pus forms in a cavity in the lung. An abscess is usually treated with antibiotics. Sometimes, surgery or drainage with a long needle or tube placed into the abscess is needed to remove the pus.