Old age should not be identified with a disease, but the fact is that older people usually suffer from degenerative and chronic diseases that must be treated for a long period of time, in many cases until the end of their life (hypertension, rheumatism, diabetes, atherosclerosis etc.) and require poly-therapy. As a rule, very often an older person has more than one disease at the same time, making visits to the doctor’s office more frequent.
According to some statistics, older people spend as much as ¼ of the total amount of drugs consumed by the entire population. It was found that about 90% of the elderly have side effects when taking medications. In order to improve the efficiency and reduce risk of treatment, it is necessary for doctors and patients to learn more about the peculiarities of the general condition of patients in old age.
Rational treatment of elderly
In order to perform rational treatment of the elderly, we should all be aware of the fact that the aging process results in improper functioning of the body which is very important for the proper effects of drugs. Energy is created much slower, the drugs are absorbed much slower too, the body creates less intestinal juices and stomach acid and there is reduced blood flow in the brain, kidneys and liver. That’s why, the liver slowly dissolves drugs, the kidneys extract them slowly and the final result is excessive retention of drugs in the body and occurrence of unwanted and toxic effects. The average doses of medications and dose schemes that are typical for adult persons cannot be applied in the elderly. Older people require careful dose adjustment and combinations of drugs depending on their individual characteristics.
It is necessary to pay closer attention in the use of the following drugs in the elderly.
– Drugs used to treat heart problems – the elderly, due to the characteristics of their body, are especially sensitive to the use of cardiotonics because these drugs are excreted much slower at this age.
– Drugs that act soothing on the central nervous system – there is increased sensitivity in the elderly. Medications used for sedation or insomnia can result in confusion and emotional instability.
– Drugs that increase urine excretion – these drugs increase excretion of water and salt from the body, but they also affect the level of magnesium, calcium, potassium and other nutrients that are useful for the body.
– Drugs that lower blood pressure – these drugs may reduce blood flow through the vital organs in the elderly.