Best of To Your Health 2018: Senior health

December 24, 2018 Providence Health Team

Providence St. Joseph Health is committed to helping you age well. Here are some of the stories and solutions we’ve written about this year on the To Your Health blog.

Older adults should review their medications

As people get older, their bodies change. Medications that were prescribed earlier may have different effects later. Make it a practice to review your prescriptions each year with your health care provider and pharmacist. 

Also, you should be aware of any side effects that may be associated with your medication, because they could emerge later on.

You can lower your blood pressure without medication by changing your patterns

Here are some things you can do to reduce hypertension: Practice breathing exercises to calm your nervous system; stay well hydrated by drinking plenty of water; eat fish and raw vegetables; spend some time in the sun to help your skin naturally dilate your blood vessels (but use sunscreen).

Take steps to prevent, survive and recover from a heart attack

First, work to get your weight in a healthy range. Nearly 70 percent of U.S. adults are considered overweight or obese.

Stop smoking. Eat a healthy diet. Get plenty of exercise. Limit your alcohol consumption.

If you experience the symptoms of a heart attack, such as chest pain, lightheadedness and shortness of breath, don’t delay: Call 911, or have someone do it for you. Take an aspirin, which can limit blood clots.

Take care of your joints

By staying active, you not only are helping your heart, you are helping to maintain your balance, flexibility and muscle tone. And your muscles are shock absorbers for your joints.

If you experience persistent joint pain, consult your physician. If it turns out you need surgical intervention, such as a joint replacement, make sure you are being treated at a full-service orthopedic center, where trained surgeons provide not just joint replacements, but pre- and post-surgical treatments. This will help speed your rehabilitation and recovery.

Attend to numb or painful feet or hands

Peripheral neuropathy can mimic the pain of arthritis: a throbbing, burning or tingling sensation. Or your feet or hands can simply be numb, an indicator that your nerve endings are damaged. This can be a warning of diabetes or immoderate alcohol consumption. Arthritis pain relievers aren’t effective for neuropathy because they focus on joints, not your extremities. But vitamins and other medications may be helpful.

Numbness is treated differently from pain. In case of numbness, you and your health care provider must treat the underlying symptoms, such as diabetic conditions. It’s important to examine your numb feet for sores and injuries, because if you can’t feel your injuries, they could get worse.

Learn more about healthy aging

Providence St. Joseph promotes senior health across the West, including a broad range of assisted and independent living services, nursing home and transitional care, hospice and home health care, PACE and adult day programs, and with its Optimal Aging program which connects families in Oregon and Washington with trustworthy service providers who can assist seniors with errands, cleaning, transportation and other homecare services. You can find out more about how Optimal Aging works by watching Michael Johnston’s story.

Make sure you have a relationship with a trusted health care provider who knows you and your health history. To find a Providence St. Joseph provider near you, consult our online directory. 

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This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your health care professional's instructions.

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