Senior citizens often end up in the emergency room for serious health issues — heart attacks or strokes, for example – but many are also rushed to the ER because of injuries and accidents.
The descriptions below are for informational purposes only, and should never be used as a substitute for professional medical advice. If you suspect you have any of the symptoms or health conditions described below, you should always consult with your medical provider regarding diagnosis of or treatment for a health condition, and also prior to undertaking any specific exercise or dietary routine.
Injuries and Accidents, such as falls, heat exhaustion and car accidents are common for seniors. You can these calamities less likely by taking this precautions:
- If you drive have your vision and hearing tested every year.
- Check the house inside and out for loose or protruding carpet or slippery rugs.
- Loose handrails or no handrails where one is needed.
- Make sure there is adequate lighting through the house.
- Wear comfortable shoes with rubber soles to help prevent slips.
- Talk to a medical professional about an exercise program to help maintain your muscle and bone strength.
- Drink plenty of water and remain in-doors on extremely hot days to avoid heat exhaustion and heat stroke.
Adverse Drug Reactions:
- Bad reactions to drugs sometimes send seniors to the emergency room. To prevent this problem, be sure to carefully follow your doctor’s instructions when taking medications, avoid self-medication, and be sure to refill your prescriptions before you run out of medicine. Ask your pharmacist about drug interactions: Do any of your medications cause problems if you take them along with different medications? Also, be sure to report any drug-related side effects to your doctor immediately.
- Osteoporosis (loss of bone density) can lead to bone fractures, another potential hazard for seniors. It can be a good idea to ask your doctor about maintaining bone strength by getting plenty of calcium through your diet or supplements and doing weight-bearing exercises (if appropriate for your physical condition).
- The elderly are more susceptible to pneumonia than younger populations. Elderly people are more susceptible to pneumonia for several reasons. Often they already suffer from co-morbid conditions such as heart disease, which means they don’t tolerate infection as well as younger people. Age also causes a decrease in an older person’s immune system response, so his defenses are weaker.
- Pneumonia is caused by more than thirty types of organisms; these different strains mean that symptoms can vary from case to case. However, the following symptoms can signal a bout of pneumonia:
- Malaise or feeling weak
- Green or yellow sputum
- Pain in the chest
- Shortness of Breath
Often, a person may think she is simply suffering from the cold or flu. Also, it is widely believed that the signs of pneumonia in the elderly can differ from the general population. An older patient might not have a fever. “The symptoms and signs are sometimes not as specific. They may be more sleepy and lethargic, or lose their appetites, or they may suffer from dizziness and fall. But it’s all related to something going on in the lung.
- One of the more serious conditions that sends senior to emergency care is stroke. You can reduce your chances of a stroke by adopting healthy living habits, including healthy eating, regular exercise, maintaining an appropriate weight, giving up smoking, and reducing your alcohol intake.
Also, be aware of stroke symptoms. Strokes generally don’t cause pain, but they can cause confusion, and paralysis on one side of the body. If you have trouble moving one arm or one leg, or if you can’t speak coherently, you could be having a stroke; you should call 911.