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6 Ways Medications Affect Seniors Differently

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6 Ways Medications Affect Seniors Differently

Our bodies change in many ways as we age – from the not-so-serious graying of hair to the more profound effects of developing chronic conditions, frailty and cognitive changes. Health care can become more complex too, and may involve a variety of medications. In fact, approximately 48% of Americans over the age of 60 take 3 or more medications a day, putting them at risk for adverse reactions, falls, cognitive impairment, hospitalization or death.

If multiple medications are part of your health routine, it’s important to understand how age-related body changes can affect you.

  1. Your liver and kidneys may not work as well as when you were younger. Decreased function can affect how medicine works, is absorbed, broken down and removed from the body.
  2. Medicines may stay in the body longer and cause side effects if doses are not properly adjusted.
  3. Age-related changes such as weight loss, decreased body fluid and increased fatty tissue can alter the way drugs are distributed and concentrated in the body.
  4. Increased sensitivity to medicines is more common in older adults.
  5. Older adults tend to receive prescriptions from different healthcare professionals making it difficult to track medicines and identify drug interactions, harmful doses and ineffective medicines.
  6. Chronic conditions such as diabetes, high blood pressure and arthritis are more common in older adults and often require a complex medicine regimen.

Who can help manage my medications?

“As we age, our health care needs can change. When multiple health conditions, multiple medications and cognitive issues start to impact your quality of life, it may be time to seek the care of a geriatric specialist,“ shares Dr. Abir Abdo, board certified geriatrician with Northshore Internal Medicine Associates at North Oaks.

Geriatricians, like Dr. Abdo, are highly knowledgeable in the area of medication management for seniors. They understand the side effects and potential drug interactions that could negatively impact a person’s quality of life and work with them to reduce their risk of adverse reactions.

Seeking the expertise of a geriatrician is just one way to manage your medications. Dr. Abdo also recommends the following tips to prevent issues:

  1. Know your medical history and health conditions.
  2. Maintain a medication list (medication names, who prescribed them, refills needed, etc.).
  3. Read the Drug Facts label (tells you what the medicine is for, side effects, directional use, etc.).
  4. Use one pharmacy (a pharmacist can help monitor medications).
  5. Safely store medication by checking expiration dates and keeping them in the same bottle they came in.
  6. Contact your health care provider immediately if you have issues.

Medication management is an important part of aging in a healthy way. A routine review with your primary care provider or geriatrician can ensure that you are taking the right medications and doses to provide the best possible treatment.

Schedule time to talk about your medicines today. Call (985) 236-0526 or visit for an appointment with Dr. Abdo.

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