Anemia is a common blood condition in an estimated 80 percent of aging adults. The condition means that the body is not producing enough red blood cells, a critical component to overall health and wellness. If anemia in seniors is not treated, it can lead to serious health issues in both the short-term and long-term. Fortunately, it’s possible to treat anemia and family caregivers and home health care providers can even help prevent anemia in seniors.
The Dangers of Anemia in Seniors
Anemia means that there are fewer red blood cells than normal, which results in less oxygen being carried to the organs and tissues of the body. Oxygen-deprived organs must work harder to do their jobs and the chronic stress can lead to damage over time. In the short-term, anemia results in fatigue, headaches, shortness of breath, dizziness, irregular heartbeat, pale skin, and chest pain. Long-term damage means heart disease, kidney disease and lung disease.
While anyone can develop anemia, at-risk seniors include those with chronic illness, digestive problems, cancer and anyone that struggles with a healthy diet. There may be some genetic components to anemia as well so anyone with a family history of the condition may also be at risk. Family caregivers and home health care providers must be watchful of symptoms of anemia, so they can arrange for medical help in controlling the disease.
Treating and Preventing Anemia in Seniors
When family care providers get an aging loved one to the doctor, it only takes a simple blood test to see if the senior has anemia. Once the condition is diagnosed, the doctor must determine the cause. If the senior is experiencing chronic bleeding, such as through a digestive issue, the doctor will resolve that. If the anemia is linked to poor diet, the doctor will work with the elderly adult and their family caregiver on diet modifications as well as iron supplements.
Family caregivers and home health care providers play a big part in helping seniors prevent anemia because they are generally in charge of meal planning and preparation. It’s best if aging adults get iron naturally from the foods they eat. Iron rich food includes tofu, beans, lean red meat, shellfish, nuts, egg yolks, whole grains, dark chocolate, fruit and leafy green vegetables. It’s easy to incorporate these foods into everyday meals and snacks to keep anemia at bay.
Anemia is a serious condition that can be controlled and even prevented when family caregivers and elder care providers know what symptoms to look for and how to use a diet to boost iron in the blood stream. When treating anemia, it’s important to follow the doctor’s recommendations and keep the aging adult as healthy and fit as possible.
If you or a loved one are considering Home Health Care Services in North Hills PA, please call and talk to the caring staff at Extended Family Care of Pittsburgh at (412) 693-6009. We will answer all of your questions.
Laura has earned her MBA in Health Care Administration from Canisius College, a Bachelor of Science degree from the State University of New York at Buffalo and is currently a CPR/First Aid Instructor for the American Red Cross. Laura has sat on three Professional Advisory Committees throughout the community, has been on the Board of Directors for a non-profit nursing home, currently acts as an Advisory Board Member for the Allegheny County Respite Care Coalition, Gateway Health Plan, and the North Allegheny School District Elementary Advisory Council. She is also an active committee member of the Southwestern PA Partnership on Aging, Twilight Wish Foundation and Marshall Elementary Yearbook Committee.
Raising four active children with her husband Brian, she seems to spend more time on baseball and soccer fields than she does at home which helps her appreciate their family vacation time even more.
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