Diseases like cancer, heart disease, and Alzheimer's come to mind when people think about health issues associated with the elderly. According to a February 2017 report released by the National Council on Aging, the actual top two are high blood pressure and high cholesterol.
According to the report, 58 percent of men and women over the age of 64 have high blood pressure. High cholesterol affects 47 percent of those over the age of 64. The good news is both issues are treatable.
High Blood Pressure
Reducing sodium intake and stopping addictions like smoking are two ways to start lowering blood pressure. Weight loss and regular exercise are others. This may not be enough, however. If a patient's blood pressure isn't going down after making lifestyle changes, prescription medications are the next path to take.
Diuretics are one option. They work by flushing excess water from the body, which reduces the amount of blood in the body. If these do not work heart medications known as beta-blockers are useful in reducing how hard the heart works. Beta-blockers make the heart beat slower and with less power.
Some cases of high cholesterol can be reversed through weight loss, exercise, and diet. One of the first things doctors recommend is to cut down intake of saturated fats and sugars. Adding vegetables and fiber to the diet can help. Limiting red meats is also important. Exercise is also important. For seniors, a daily walk is a good start. If that's not possible, chair yoga programs are also helpful.
If diet, exercise, and weight loss are not enough, prescription medications are often the next step. Statins are one option and work by preventing the liver from making cholesterol. Another option is to use medications that keep the small intestine from allowing cholesterol to pass into the bloodstream.
There are also medications that cause the liver to use up extra cholesterol to make higher levels of bile and others that trigger the liver to absorb LDL cholesterol. A person's doctor will determine the best course of action.
Sometimes a Helping Hand is the Best Treatment
As people age, memory declines can be normal. It makes it hard to remember to take medications on time. It also makes it hard to cook nutritious meals or even know how to shop for healthier ingredients. When these concerns appear, caregivers can help.
Caregivers offer services that help seniors shop for groceries and prepare meals that meet a doctor's dietary guidelines. Medication reminders are another option. Finally, caregivers can also join their charge on walks or get them safely to senior centers for exercise programs. Call a home care agency to learn more.
If you or an aging loved-one are considering hiring home health care in Hoover, AL, please contact the caring staff at Senior Legacy Care today. Call us at (205) 380-7418.
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