When your elderly mom or dad develops anemia, you should be concerned about their long-term health. Anemia is one of the most common chronic conditions in seniors, with some estimates as high as 80 percent of all elderly Americans developing it at some time in their golden years. Unlike many chronic conditions, anemia may be preventable in some cases.
Here are 5 things that you and your aging relative need to know about anemia and how it can impact their lives:
1. Anemia is caused by several different factors.
Anemia is a condition where a person doesn’t have as many red blood cells as they should. This can be due to problems producing red blood cells within the body or losing red blood cells once they are created. Production issues are usually related to iron deficiencies in the diet, as well as due to chemotherapy treatments, chronic infections in the body and kidney disease. Seniors can lose red blood cells via chronic bleeding in the digestive tract or injuries.
2. Symptoms of anemia are difficult for family members and elder care providers to spot.
The symptoms of anemia in seniors closely resemble symptoms of other conditions, as well as the effects of aging. Family caregivers and elder care providers need to pay close attention so they can bring the symptoms up to a doctor. Common symptoms include fatigue, headaches, cold hands and feet, irregular heartbeat, chest pains, dizziness, and shortness of breath.
3. Anemia can trigger serious health conditions in elderly adults.
When an aging adult has fewer red blood cells than normal, they aren’t getting enough oxygen delivered to the tissues and organs in the body. Slowly, these organs become oxygen starved. The heart and lungs work overtime trying to compensate, experiencing stress to do so. Over time, seniors can suffer from organ failure, heart conditions, and other major health problems. Leaving anemia untreated can also enhance other chronic health conditions, too.
4. Only doctors should diagnose and treat anemia in aging adults.
A simple blood test done by a doctor can reveal whether an aging adult is suffering from anemia. Usually, the doctor recommends iron supplements, but sometimes there are certain medications that seniors already take that interfere with iron absorption. The doctor will also recommend diet modifications to try to boost iron intake naturally.
5. Family caregivers and elder care providers can help.
Diet modification is one of the best ways to treat and prevent anemia in elderly adults. Elder care providers should take every opportunity to include iron-rich foods into meals and snacks. These can include green and leafy vegetables, egg yolks, seafood, whole grains, nuts and legumes and red meat.
Anemia should not be taken lightly as it can seriously impact an elderly person’s overall health and wellness. By paying attention to symptoms and working with the doctor on treatments, family caregivers and elder care providers can reduce or even prevent the damage caused by anemia.
If you or an aging loved-one are considering Elderly Care in Suwanee, GA, please contact the friendly staff at Certified Home Care of Georgia. Call today 770-635-8042