Many seniors have a long list of medications they take every day. Problems often surface because certain medications do not interact well with each other. Furthermore, certain supplements, vitamins and even foods can also cause issues.
For example, a person who regularly takes a blood thinner and then takes vitamin E or fish oil could end up with abnormal bleeding. An estimated 100,000 Americans ages 65 and older are hospitalized each year for adverse drug reactions, according to a 2011 study in The New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM). Additionally, the FDA says adverse drug reactions are the fourth leading cause of death in the U.S., ahead of pulmonary disease, diabetes, AIDS, pneumonia, accidents and automobile deaths. To prevent these problems, it is important for a senior to go through regular medication reviews with a health care professional.
Nothing is Unimportant
To make sure a medication review is successful, it’s important for the person asking the questions to know about everything a person ingests. Many clinicians performing a medication review will ask about: What prescriptions do you take? If the questions stop there, they may never know about any supplements, over-the-counter medications, or foods that can cause detrimental drug interactions.
A thorough medication review More >
The average American reads at an 8th grade level, but health care information is communicated at a college-graduate level. This disconnect leads to confusion, frustration and a feeling of helplessness for doctors and patients.
The American Medical Society addressed the problem in a video uploaded onto YouTube. In the video, the AMA gives doctors recommendations on how to make sure patients understand what they are told during office visits: To view the video, click here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cGtTZ_vxjyA&feature=player_embedded
However, patients do not have to sit and wait for their doctor to employ the best practices recommended by the AMA. Instead, they can take action to encourage their doctor to take these steps. Then the patient leaves each office visit truly understanding their health issues, the reason for treatment, and the way to make sure that treatment is successful.
The AMA recommends doctors make their offices an open and shame-free environment. They can do this by creating an attitude of helpfulness in each employee. When patients enter a doctor’s office, they often think of it as a hostile environment. This attitude puts the entire responsibility on the provider to make patients feel safe and comfortable. Patients can and should ask for help, and be willing to More >
Presumably everyone wants to be healthy at each birthday, but the focus of healthy aging is often on those who are middle aged and beyond.
“Healthy aging may mean different things at different ages. It’s a whole lifelong issue. The lifestyle you establish in your teens and 20s impacts what you are doing in your 30s and 40s. I think that what it really means is still being able to play tennis when you are 70, hit golf balls when you are 75, and still enjoy life when you are 80 and may need senior home care,” said Brian K. Kennedy, Ph.D. and chief executive officer of the Buck Institute for Research on Aging in Novato, Calif.. “It’s about trying to maintain a disease-free and healthy and functional lifestyle for as long as possible.”
Ultimately, it’s about choices that individuals make as they age and not so much what they do once they feel they are aged. Choices about how a person manages stress in their life are relevant throughout their lifespan, as Kennedy points out.
“The sooner people grasp that and get a handle on those things, the better off they will be,” he said. “It doesn’t mean you can’t start More >