BY ARIEL HERNANDEZ
While it’s common for people 65 years and older to undergo age-related injuries, preventative medicine can often go a long way.
Paying close attention to changes in your body, taking care of yourself and immediately taking action when something in your body doesn’t feel right is imperative.
With summer approaching, it is important to drink plenty of cool fluids, stay in air-conditioned places and take cool shower or baths.
Unlike younger people, seniors are more likely to have a condition that upsets the body’s normal response to heat and to be taking medications that make it harder for the body to control its temperature and sweat. If precautions aren’t taken and the body is not able to adjust to changes in temperature, the result could be heat exhaustion or a heat stroke.
Warning signs for heat exhaustion include heavy sweating, cramps, headaches, confusion, nausea or vomiting, tiredness, weakness, dizziness and fainting. If a person does not treat heat exhaustion, it could turn into a heat stroke. Signs that you might be suffering from a heat strokes include red, hot dry skin; high body temperature; strange behavior and unconsciousness; a rapid pulse or throbbing headache and heat exhaustion symptoms. In addition to staying hydrated and cool, it’s important to have a family member or close friend constantly checking up on you during soaring temperatures.
Another common health concern that comes with age is hip fractures. With bones beginning to weaken due to older age, many elderly people find themselves at risk of hip fractures. The weakening of bones, medication, poor vision and complications with balance can all lead to a person tripping or falling, which is the leading causes of hip fractures. While hip fractures can be fixed surgically and then treated with months of physical therapy, people who have had a hip fracture are at increased risk of weakened bones and further falls.
However, hip fractures can reduce independence and even shorten life spans. If a person is immobile for a long period of time after a hip fracture, they can suffer from blood clots in their legs or lungs, bedsores, urinary tract infections, pneumonia and loss of muscle mass.
Some ways to avoid hip fractures include getting enough calcium and vitamin D daily, exercising to strengthen bones and improve balance, avoiding smoking and excessive drinking, checking your eyes, watching your medications for side effects that increase risks of falling and standing up slowly.
Also, as you get older, the probability of being diagnosed with a life threatening disease becomes greater. Therefore, it’s extremely important to pay attention to changes in your daily life. One of the most diagnosed diseases for persons ages 60 and above is Alzheimer’s—a brain disease that causes a slow decline in memory. Some warning signs include memory loss that disrupts daily life, such as forgetting recently learned information; forgetting important dates; continuously asking for the same information; challenges in planning or solving problems, such as having trouble following a familiar recipe, keeping track of monthly bills or having difficulty concentrating; problems with speaking or writing; difficulty in following conversation and struggling with vocabulary; misplacing things and losing the ability to retrace steps; withdrawal from work or social activities; and changes in mood and personality, such as becoming confused, suspicious, depressed, fearful or anxious.
While it is common that people, regardless of age, misplace their keys or wallet, it is important for persons over the age of 60 to take these symptoms seriously. The earlier you seek help, the earlier you’ll receive treatment.
Reach Ariel Hernandez at (718) 357-7400 x144 or firstname.lastname@example.org