Common Medical Emergencies Of Elderly People

What are some of the Most Common Medical Emergencies Situation Of Elderly People ?
This can be answered in terms of symptoms and their degree of seriousness.

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Chest pain may be due to angina or, if severe, a heart attack, especially if accompanied by sweating and breathlessness. As people get older, the blood supply to all parts of the body including the heart may start to fail. This process is accelerated by smoking, poor diet and illnesses such as diabetes mellitus.

Breathlessness may be due to a heart attack, but there are other causes such as pneumonia in people who are less mobile or bedridden. Other conditions such as heart failure may also cause breathlessness while uncontrolled diabetes mellitus may give “air hunger”. Lung disease may cause breathlessness. Emphysema is a gradual deterioration of lung tissue through a chronic cough, especially due to smoking over many years. Smoking may also induce lung cancer, which may cause breathlessness, coughing up blood and eventually death.

Weakness in arms and legs, especially if sudden, may be a symptom of poor blood supply to the brain. This may manifest itself as a stroke, which is due to the sudden clotting of a diseased blood vessel supplying a particular part of the brain. Depending on which part this is, it may cause weakness in a limb or even sudden inability to talk, or (in severe cases) coma and death.

Can falls in the home be prevented ?
Yes, falls can be prevented. It is important to see to the maintenance of the individual and the home.
1. Regular checks on eyesight and hearing. Falls may be due to failing or deteriorating vision or balance difficulties. Make regular visits to the ophthalmologist to get good and appropriate glasses and sunglasses. Loss of vision due to eye diseases such as glaucoma are emergencies. Inflammation of the balance mechanism in the ear is amenable to treatment. These are simple measures that can be taken for the elderly.

2. General health checks. Giddiness may be a symptom of vascular disease of the brain (i.e., blood vessel) or hypertension and should be checked by a specialist. It is a wise precaution to have a blood pressure check every six months. Hypertension that is treated early enough prevents many other problems.

3. Regular exercise (within the limits of exercise tolerance for the age group) such as walking helps strengthen aging muscles and will improve balance and coordination.

4. At home :

  • – Ensure that floors are not made of slippery material.
  • – All rooms frequented must be well lit at night.
  • – It helps if the toilet is close to the bedroom or a commode is placed near the bed. This reduces the distance that an elderly or infirm person has to walk, and hence reduces risk of falls.
  • – Hand rails help, especially where stairs are concerned.
  • – If the house has several levels, locate the bedroom at the ground level to save an elderly person from having to negotiate stairs constantly.
  • – Walking frames help support the elderly.