We change a lot as we get older. We grow wiser and richer in life experience. As a "young" person myself, I am still in full work and parenting mode. I often notice that my senior clientele seem to smile at me as if they have a secret. I imagine them saying, "slow down, stop and smell the roses. It goes by fast enough."
Not only does our view on life and its priorities change with each decade, but our physical bodies change too. It is normal for blood pressure to gradually increase as we age. It is also normal for our kidneys to slow down. We lose muscle as we get older, as well.
All of these changes can affect how our bodies handle medications. For example, some types of medications used to lower high blood pressure might not work as well for an elderly client compared to a younger patient. Additionally, the target numbers for blood pressure get higher with age to account for this natural change.
Because our kidneys slow down, drugs that need to be cleared from the body through the kidneys often need lower doses and closer monitoring. Your doctor will do annual blood work to check your kidney function. This information can be used by your doctor or your pharmacist to help decide what dose of medication you should receive.
Losing muscle is also a normal part of aging. This loss means that our bodies end up with a higher fat component. This can affect the dosing of medications, as well. Some drugs are stored in the fat tissues of the body and released over time. With the higher fat component some drugs may build up in this fat resulting in a longer duration of action. This is notable with some sleeping medications that can last too long and put the elderly patient at risk of falling.
It's also important to note that our priorities around medications may change with time, as well. We may start to feel more focused on our daily quality of life, than on our desire to prevent disease.
There is a lot to talk about when it comes to medications and the elderly. Book an appointment with me for a full assessment today, call Cheetham's Pharmacy at 306-653-5111.
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