If you haven’t heard of anemia, then there’s little chance you can recognize the symptoms of this common blood disorder in your aging mom or dad.
Anemia describes the condition where the body doesn’t make enough red blood cells. If anemia goes untreated in seniors, it can result in big health problems. It’s up to you to educate yourself on what anemia is, what the symptoms are, and how you can help your aging parent if they are diagnosed.
What Are the Causes and Symptoms of Anemia?
Anemia is a blood condition that results in lower red blood cells and hemoglobin—the components that carry oxygen to the body.
It is caused by several things such as excessive bleeding, poor diet and a health condition that limits the production of red blood cells. The lack of oxygen in the bloodstream can leave organs deprived, which causes them to stress and strain. If allowed to go on for long, the organs can become damaged. Because of old age, this damage doesn’t reverse very well. Anemia can lead to kidney, lung and heart disease.
Symptoms of anemia include headaches, rapid heartbeat, fatigue, shortness of breath, cold hands, cold feet, pale skin, and chest pain. If your aging mom or dad is complaining of any of these symptoms or if you notice them yourself, it’s worth it to make an appointment with the doctor to see what he says. If your elderly parent has a poor diet or a digestive condition where they bleed, such as Crohn’s disease, they have a high risk of developing anemia.
What Is the Treatment and Prevention of Anemia?
A simple blood test at the doctor’s office will show whether your elderly mom or dad is suffering from anemia. With a diagnosis, the doctor can determine the cause and outline a treatment plan. Initially, the doctor may prescribe iron supplements to boost the production of red blood cells. Iron supplements have the potential to interact negatively with other medications, so never provide them on your own—wait for what the doctor advises.
The doctor may also recommend some changes to the diet.
This means you, other family members and elder care providers need to focus on iron-rich foods. Because your aging mom or dad is so dependent on your and the elder care provider, it’s up to you to choose the ingredients and serve the meals and snacks. Top foods that are rich in iron include beans, whole grain, fruit, leafy green vegetables, egg yolks, red meat, tofu, dark chocolate, seafood, and nuts. Some foods are also iron fortified, such as some cereals. You and the elder care provider can incorporate these foods into healthy meals and snacks for senior parents.
Anemia is one of those conditions that can lead to serious health issues. The good news is that it can be controlled and even prevented with diet and medicine, under a doctor’s orders. You’ll feel more prepared knowing more about anemia and what to do if you notice symptoms in your elderly mom or dad.
If you or an aging loved-one are considering Elderly Care in Brookhaven, GA, please call the caring staff at Always Care Nursing Service today.
Call for Assistance: (404) 266-8773 or (800) 989-7828
Administrator of 3 Florida (Always Care) Home Health Agencies for over Fourteen years.
Always Care of Georgia since 2001
Served as a 1st Lt. In the US Army