They say age is just a number and this number doesn’t define you. But as grey hair begin to define your scalp, age becomes more than just a number, it becomes an indicator of your failing health, little by little, bit by bit.
But, the process is pretty normal and doesn’t require you to panic. You, however need to realize that as you continue to add more candles to your birthday cake with every passing year (let’s just assume for a moment you actually do that), you need to invest more time looking after your health.
As Sandra L.Kweder, M.D., F.A.C.P., a medical officer at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) says, “There is no question that physiology changes as we age. Many chronic medical conditions don’t even appear until our later years.” She added that, it is not that people are falling to pieces but these changes, however, are just part of the normal aging process.
So, if you are a person who is heading to an older age or you care for an elderly person at home, here is your quick guide to maintaining a better health and medication regime.
Be Very Particular About Your Prescribed Medications
Never get tempted by the idea of taking medications which have not been prescribed to you by your doctor. Never rely on your gut feeling or speculations that suggest that certain medications will be of help to you.
Self medication is a “No Go” area for you, please be assured by this.
Similarly, never miss your medication dosages which your doctor has prescribed you to take. Even if you feel better by taking a medicine for a while or if you think a medicine is of no use to you; never take a decision without consulting your doctor.
If you think your health outcomes are not likely to be affected by not taking a particular medication, visit your doctor at your soonest and discuss any alterations required in your prescription.
You Should Not Decide Medication Dosage. It Is Not Your Job.
Often patients suffering from chronic conditions like diabetes or hypertension tend to make changes to their medication dosage.
For instance, hypertension patients who have been maintaining normal blood pressure levels, might decide to reduce their dosage without prior consultation with their doctor or begin to skip dosage altogether, which can be hazardous to their health.
But, how exactly can that harm their health?
This, self governed change in the dosage of prescribed medication can simply influence health negatively because your medications can’t work unless they are taken. Experts suggest that, the recommended drug dosages are given after carrying out long, painstaking clinical trials, which the FDA reviews.
Changing the drug dosage directly affects the drug efficacy; thereby the patients should never make changes to the drug dosage by themselves.
Always Keep A Medication List
As you grow old, your memory begins to rust a little; on the contrary your medication list continues to increase in length. So, it is never a good idea to depend solely on your memory to remember your medications and corresponding dosages.
It is recommended that you list down the medications you take, with the brand name, generic name, the dosage and how often you take it. After, visiting your doctor, you should never forget to update the medication list and dosage, if application.
This medication list is also required to be given to a trusted friend or family member, so that in case of emergency; someone closely related to you should be aware of your medications and can be of help to you.
Be Aware of Potential Drug Interactions and Side Effects
Even though self-medication is discouraged by experts, a well-informed patient is always valued. While, you take a range of different drugs for varying health conditions; it is important for you to understand that these drugs can interact in your body and be of some harm to you.
These chemical interactions can affect drug efficacy of some drugs, a certain medical condition that you have, can make some drugs potentially harmful at some instance, while on the other end, herbal preparation or health supplement can affect the effect of another drug.
At other times, food or non-alcoholic drink can react with a drug and hamper its efficacy or otherwise; alcoholic beverages can be of harm.
For example, drugs for angina are discouraged to be taken along erectile dysfunction drugs (such as Viagra and Cialis) because of severe interactions. Similarly, some drugs, such as Tylenol, are found to interact with alcohol to cause harm to one’sliver, particularly if you are a heavy drinker.
Other drugs such as Concerta (methylphenidate), Dexedrine (dexoamphitamine) and Adderral (amphetamine) can interact with alcohol and cause falls and problems with memory, coordination and sleep.
All of this sounds to be too complicated and how can I learn about this, all at once? It is a legitimate concern but all you need to do is to carefully read the drug facts and drug information leaflet which comes with the drug.
After getting your initial scoop of information, you can discuss the drug interactions with your healthcare provider and even if you are seeing multiple doctors for different heath conditions, you should sit with each of them and discuss all the prescriptions to be certain of the drug safety. You can also seek help from your pharmacist and be aware of the potential drug interactions of your prescribed drugs.
Regularly Visit Your Doctor And Review Your Medication
Once we have a prescription, we tend to continue taking these drugs for years without knowing if the drug is still required or not. Ideally, it is suggested that a patient should review the prescribed medication with their doctors in every visit.
However, that doesn’t usually happen, for that matter FDA in its recent regulatory update, suggests that the drug prescriptions should be reviewed with the doctors, at least once a year. During the visit, you can discuss all the drugs you are taking, their potential side effects and alternations required to dosages.
You should also discuss in detail with your clinician if certain medication is not helping your condition or if a drug falls out of your budget, so that an alternative can be given to you.
Never Shy Away From Questioning Your Doctor
It is often noticed that the patients do not discuss matters in detail with their clinician and think of their questions as trivial or stupid. We can’t seem to blame the patients because the paternalism in medicine practiced by doctors, once doesn’t give room for the patients to say much. But it is the patient’s right to know about their health and best possible way for health management.
Thereby, it is of utmost important to have a good communication with your clinicians so that you can benefit from medicines to the fullest.
Your Attitude Towards Your Health Plays A Crucial Role
As people grow old, they begin to feel useless and start to neglect their health. Please, don’t become one of those people who begin to take their worthy existence for granted and stop taking care of themselves. You need to realize that your health is important to you and the loved ones around you.
Similarly, you need to know that aging doesn’t undermine your importance. Enjoy the natural’s gift, that is growing old and cherish your health. If you begin to think that you are destined to ailing health as you age then change this gloomy notion and work towards a better health, because you are irreplaceable!
Happy Aging To You!