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Physical healthy


Health Risks that Seniors Face During Summer

Seniors are prone to an increased number of concerns during hot summer seasons. Just as with children, seniors have a more sensitive system that needs a little extra care when temperatures rise.

One of the biggest unseen threats to seniors is the common air conditioner. While air conditioners in and of themselves are of no threat to seniors, misused, malfunctioning or unmaintained air conditioners are a serious concern. This becomes an even bigger concern in extreme weather, during which seniors are at even greater risk.

What can go wrong?

The human body is very much like a machine. It's constantly challenging itself to adapt to its environment and keep up with what's going on externally. The same goes with heat. Your body is always working to a keep a balance between its heat production and heat loss, with your brain acting as an organic thermostat. Long-term heat exposure can cause multiple illnesses or symptoms, such as:

  • Heat Exhaustion.This phrase may be funny to some since most seniors do not exert themselves to the point of exhaustion. However, heat exhaustion is not measured by how much physical activity you've consciously undertaken, but rather in the struggle for your body to maintain a stable temperature. When the body can no longer cool itself, you will begin feeling thirsty, dizzy, weak and nauseated.
  • Heat Edema happens when your body retains water. In the summer, you might find your ankles and feet swelling when it gets hot. Usually resting the legs helps cure this discomfort.

  • Heat Cramps: Painful tightening of muscles in your stomach area, arms, or legs. Cramps can result from hard work or exercise. While your body temperature and pulse usually stay normal during heat cramps, your skin may feel moist and cool. Take these cramps as a sign that you are too hot — find a way to cool your body down. Be sure to drink plenty of fluids, but not those containing alcohol or caffeine.

  • Heat Syncope A sudden dizziness that may come on when you are active in the heat. If you take a form of heart medication known as a beta blocker or are not used to hot weather, you are even more likely to feel faint when in the heat. Putting your legs up and resting in a cool place should make the dizzy feeling go away

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Heat Stroke

Don't under-estimate a heat stroke. These can be deadly and a senior who has suffered from one needs immediate medical attention. Until help arrives, get the individual to a cool place. To prevent a heat stroke, make sure seniors are in a functioning air-conditioned environment and drink plenty of water.

Signs of a Heat Stroke:

• Fainting
• Lack of sweat despite heat
• Delirious behavior
• Coma or coma-like symptoms
• Dry, flushed skin and a strong rapid pulse
• Slow, weak pulse
• Behavior change - confusion, ill-tempered, staggering
• An above 104 degree Fahrenheit body temperature

What You Can Do

  • Drink plenty of liquids — Heat tends to make you lose fluids so it is very important to make sure their fluid intake is kept up. Remember that fluids can also come in the form of fruits and vegetable. During hot summer months, seniors should avoid drinking an excess of coffee and tea, since caffeine is a dehydrator.
  • If you live in a home or apartment without fans or air conditioning, be sure to follow these steps to lower your chance of heat problems:
  • Keep windows open at night to allow cool air to pass through. Similarly, keep windows open during the day to allow for cross ventilation.
  • Pay attention to the weather reports. You are more at risk as the temperature or humidity rise or when there is an air pollution alert in effect.
  • Dress in cooler natural fabrics such as cottons, rather than synthetic fibers. Also, remember that light-colored clothes reflect the sun and heat better than dark colors.
  • Avoid crowded places when it’s hot outside and plan trips during non-rush hour times.

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What is bladder weakness?

Bladder weakness, also known as urinary incontinence, describes the condition when the bladder leaks involuntarily. The condition can affect both women and men.

Causes and types?
There are a number of triggers for bladder weakness:

  • Weakened pelvic floor muscles - pelvic floor muscles support the bladder. When these muscles lose their strength and flexibility, everyday activities such as laughing or coughing may cause urine to escape. Pelvic floor muscles can be stretched and weakened during childbirth and being overweight can also put a strain on these muscles.
  • Menopause - the reduction of oestrogen in the body affects the abdominal muscles resulting in the bladder shifting position. The bladder muscles become less effective.
  • Other causes - damage to the nerves, certain drugs, constipation or even infection can also lead to bladder weakness.

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There are four major types of bladder weakness.

Each one has a different cause and different symptoms. They are:

  • Stress - unexpected leakage when you laugh, cough, sneeze or exercise. Weakened pelvic floor muscles are the main cause of this type of bladder weakness, which is most common in women especially during pregnancy and after childbirth. It is therefore vital to exercise your pelvic floor muscles regularly.
  • Urge - a strong and sudden urge to pass urine. The bladder tries to empty itself despite efforts to restrain leakage.
  • Overflow - when the bladder does not empty completely, urine builds up and in the end may drip out as if it was overflowing.
  • Mixed - it is fairly common to have more than one type of symptom.

How can I manage my bladder weakness?

Bladder weakness is often easily treated and managed. The first recommendation is to visit a GP or nurse, who will be used to talking about it and will be able to advise on a suitable course of action.
Pelvic floor exercises, known as Kegel exercises, may be recommended as a way of strengthening the weakened pelvic floor muscles.

 
Risks associated with falling in old age.

Many people have a friend or relative who has fallen. The person may have slipped while walking or felt dizzy when standing up from a chair and fallen. Maybe you've fallen yourself. If you or an older person you know has fallen, you're not alone. More than one in three people age 65 years or older falls each year. The risk of falling and fall-related problems rises with age. Fractures caused by falls can lead to hospital stays and disability. Most often, fall-related fractures are in the person's hip, pelvis, spine, arm, hand, or ankle.

falls

 

Hip fractures are one of the most serious types of fall injury. They are a leading cause of injury and loss of independence, among older adults.
Most healthy, independent older adults who are hospitalized for a broken hip are able to return home or live on their own after treatment and rehabilitation. Most of those who cannot return to independent living after such injuries had physical or mental disabilities before the fracture. Many of them will need long-term care.
If you're worried about falling, talk with your doctor or another health care provider. Your doctor may refer you to a physical therapist. Physical therapy can help you improve your balance and walking and help build your walking confidence. Getting rid of your fear of falling can help you to stay active, maintain your physical health, and prevent future falls
 
Urinary incontinence in the elderly

Urinary incontinence can occur in people who have spinal conditions and other neurological conditions like multiple sclerosis.

A weak bladder can cause urinary incontinence, so it is good idea to always exercise and choose an activity that lets you use your legs. Symptoms of a weak bladder could include less energy to do what you want throughout the day, inability to drink large quantities of water without running to the bathroom and, for senior men, a harder time getting an erection.

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Urinary Incontinence takes several forms:

  • Urge Incontinence: Seniors with urge incontinence experience involuntary contractions of their bladder that cause difficulties in stopping their urine.
  • Stress Incontinence: Occurs when abdominal pressure overcomes the closing pressure of the bladder.
  • Overflow incontinence is the rarest form of UI. This is caused by bladders that are unable to contract or have very weak contractions.
  • Functional Incontinence comes next where seniors are unable to reach the bathroom in time. The individual cannot plan to go to the bathroom but they can still feel they have to control their urine.
  • Mixed incontinence is a generic diagnosis that includes two or more types of incontinence.

 
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