Aging and Related Health Problems

In what ways can age-related changes affect the development, recognition, and management of respiratory conditions?

Age-related changes have a considerable impact on the development of respiratory conditions. For instance, the size of lungs and total lung capacity decrease, which is caused by the reduction of body fluid and the loss of elasticity. These changes are associated with an excessive amount of secretions and air remaining in the lungs (Eliopoulos, 2014). The reduction of secretions in submucosal glands often leads to coughing and the chronic tickle in the throat.

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Thickening of hair in nostrils may prevent proper air passage due to a significant amount of dirt in the nostrils. Coughing reflexes also atrophy. Mucous membranes become drier due to the loss of body fluid, which may result in infections. Finally, older adults often have altered sensations of pain, which may lead to wrong diagnoses and the development of disorders in severe forms.

As for managing respiratory issues in aging patients, pharmacological treatment is appropriate, but it is essential to make sure that the patient follows the treatment plan. It is also vital to review all the medication prescribed to address other health conditions of the patient as various drugs may affect the functioning of the respiratory system. At that, alternatives to medication should always be used if possible. Educating patients to breathe and cough properly, effective hygiene, proper water intake are aspects to take into account (Meiner, 2013). Of course, the focus should be on prevention rather than treatment.

Hence, nursing professionals should also educate patients and encourage them to have more exercise, which is crucial for the proper functioning of the respiratory system. Furthermore, the environment plays an important role, and it is vital to make sure that patients have access to fresh air and their rooms have indirect ventilation systems. No pollutants (dust, gases, chemicals) should be found in the places of patients’ residence. It is also necessary to encourage smokers to quit smoking (or, at least, reduce the number of cigarettes smoked) that has various adverse effects on the respiratory system.

What key points would you include in an educational program for the promotion of respiratory health in senior citizens?

The educational program for the promotion of respiratory health should address several aspects. First, it is necessary to include training associated with proper inhaling and exhaling. This aspect is specifically important for patients who have limited mobility or are chair-bound (Eliopoulos, 2014). It is also important to address the importance of mobility and exercise. Patients should understand the possible adverse effects of their immobility. It can be beneficial to include training and pay certain attention to some tai chi and yoga or other types of exercise. The discussion of the harm of smoking should be included in the educational program.

Besides, it can be effective to discuss various side effects of drugs that are usually prescribed to aging patients. The elderly should know about the exact symptoms of the most serious respiratory conditions, which will be crucial for respiratory disorders recognition and management. It is essential to pay patients’ attention to the negative effects of the use of over-the-counter cough remedies as the elderly often disregard possible adverse effects of the use of certain drugs. Finally, it is also important to address the emotional state of aging patients. These people should understand that they are prone to the development of depressive symptoms that can lead to reduced immobility and other conditions. Patients should also be aware of some techniques to address depression.

List the complications to the general health status of the older adult that can arise as a result of a cardiovascular disorder?

The risk of the development of cardiovascular disorders in aging patients is rather high. It is essential to manage these conditions properly (or rather prevent them) to avoid serious complications. The most serious complications that can occur as a result of a cardiovascular disorder include heart attack, heart failure, stroke, aneurism, sudden cardiac arrest, and peripheral artery disease (Meiner, 2013).

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Heart failure is a condition when the heart cannot pump the amount of blood necessary for the proper functioning of the body. This complication can be caused by heart infections, heart defects, valvular heart disease, and so on. A heart attack is a condition when a blood clot blocks the flow of blood, which can often damage the heart muscle. This condition is often caused by atherosclerosis.

Stroke is a condition when the brain does not receive enough blood due to the narrowing or blocking of brain arteries. An aneurism is a bulge in an artery wall that can cause the burst of the artery that, in its turn, can lead to internal bleeding. Sudden cardiac arrest is a sudden loss of breathing, heart function, and consciousness. This condition can be caused by arrhythmia. Peripheral artery disease is a condition when extremities do not receive enough blood. This complication can be caused by atherosclerosis.

What preventative measures could you recommend to older adults to promote bowel elimination?

Constipation is a common health condition that can have numerous negative effects on older adults’ health. To promote bowel elimination, it is possible to use several strategies. First, diets high in fluid and fiber can be effective. The consumption of such products as dates, raisins, prunes, currants, and so on can promote bowel elimination (Eliopoulos, 2014). Applesauce and yogurt are also the products that can help address the issue. One of the most important preventive measures is a regular activity. Regular training walks or even movements can help. It can also be effective to provide a regular time for bowel elimination (for example, mornings). Finally, rocking bowels when sitting on the toilet can help to empty bowels. If all these measures failed, it is possible to use pharmacological treatment.

What can be done to reduce each of the major causes of urinary incontinence in older adults?

Urinary continence is a common health condition among aging patients. It can be established or transient. The latter is reversible and will be eliminated once the major cause is addressed. The primary causes of transient incontinence include infections, medication reactions, mood disorders, delirium, excessive urine production, inability to reach a toilet (Eliopoulos, 2014). Established urinary incontinence is a chronic condition, but it can also be managed in many cases.

Stress incontinence is associated with the weakness of supporting pelvic muscles. Urine can be lost after coughing, sneezing, and laughing when the pressure on the muscles is significant. This type of urinary incontinence can be aided by Kegel exercises, medication (anticholinergics, estrogen, and so on), biofeedback, or even surgery. Urgency incontinence is caused by an enlargement of the prostate, urinary tract infections, pelvic tumors, diverticulitis, bladder tumors. This type of incontinence can be treated with the help of Kegel exercises, the establishment of toileting schedule, medication (adrenergic antagonists, anticholinergics, and so on), biofeedback, and so on.

Overflow incontinence is related to such medications as calcium channel blockers, anticholinergics, adrenergic, and so on. This health condition can also be caused by bladder neck obstructions. Overflow incontinence can be treated with the help of the Crede method, toilet schedule, intermittent catheterization, the use of parasympathomimetics, and the like. Neurogenic incontinence is mainly caused by multiple sclerosis, cerebral cortex lesions, neural pathway disturbances.

Patients do not sense the need to void or are unable to control urine flow. To address this type of incontinence, it is possible to use such medications as propantheline, imipramine, or other anticholinergic and antispasmodic drugs. Catheterization and even surgery (in severe cases) can also be helpful. Functional incontinence is related to the patient’s ability to access a bathroom. This health condition can be caused by dementia, sedation, disabilities, medications impairing cognition, and inaccessible bathrooms.

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Functional incontinence is aided by the provision of bedside commode or mobility improvement (through devices and tools, personnel’s assistance, and the like). Finally, patients can develop mixed continence. This health condition combines a combination of symptoms and factors mentioned above. Treatment will depend on the symptoms displayed.

Outline the contents of an exercise educational program for a group of healthy senior citizens

Like any other educational program, an exercise educational program should be comprehensive and address the major areas of concern. First, the program in question should include the discussion of the primary benefits of being active and having exercise. It may seem that the benefits are evident, and the discussion can be superfluous, but paying older patients’ attention to the matter can be a form of motivation and encouragement. When people understand particular outcomes of certain behaviors they are more likely to behave in particular ways.

Another important component of the educational program should be training and discussion of specific exercises or activities (Meiner, 2013). It is possible to provide leaflets including the information on specific exercise available activities (such as dances, yoga, and the like). The leaflets should contain pictures, and the font of the text should be appropriate (for example, large enough to be legible). The patients will practice different exercises, and they will receive information concerning the corresponding events, groups, and so on.

The educational program should also include the discussion of possible ways to manage patients’ physical activity. Ways to motivate oneself should be discussed. Aging patients should also understand that their caregivers can control the process and motivate them if necessary. Patients can receive timetables, worksheets, and templates for numerous documents that can help aging patients to stay on track and keep to active lifestyles. It can also be effective to create a sense of community and social ties. The patients taking part in the educational program can keep each other’s contacts and communicate outside the program. They can motivate each other to be active.

Outline the content of a health education program to instruct older adults on practices that could reduce their risks of neurological problems

One of the central components of an educational program is to raise aging patients’ awareness concerning possible health conditions (Meiner, 2013). Patients should be able to notice some symptoms of the development of this or that disorder. Older adults should understand the way different disorders can affect their health. It is possible to include information on such disorders as Alzheimer’s disease, neuropathy, Parkinson’s disease, stroke, myopathy, and the like. It is essential to stress that although some symptoms can already be apparent, it is still possible to have a high quality of life.

The focus will be on preventive measures and ways to treat certain symptoms. The discussion of the most appropriate lifestyles and diets will be the primary component of the educational program in question. The aging patients taking part in the program should also practice the most effective physical activities during the educational sessions. Older adults should try different activities as it will encourage them to choose some of them and motivate each other to be more active. Finally, these patients should be informed about a variety of activities and resources available to them. It can be beneficial to involve patients’ caregivers or family members who should also be prepared if (or rather when) their close ones will be affected by a neurological disorder.

What can be done to prevent vision and hearing losses with aging?

Older adults’ vision and hearing deteriorate at a different pace depending on the health condition of the individual. As for the promotion of vision, it is necessary to note that many disorders may affect people’s vision (for example, diabetes). However, it is still possible to prevent the development (or rapid development) of some vision impairments (Eliopoulos, 2014). One of the central preventive measures is a regular examination.

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Older adults can also use lenses and glasses. It is also beneficial to use reading lamps and sources with large fonts. Many exercises exist to train eye muscles, which can be beneficial for aging patients’ vision. If vision impairment is a result of a disorder, it is can be effective to address the symptoms of this disorder. In many cases, taking control of weight and sugar levels can be an effective preventive strategy.

Furthermore, certain diets can also promote healthy vision. Products rich in zinc (such as lamb, pumpkin seeds, beef, chickpeas, cashews, yogurt, mushrooms, and so on) have a positive impact on eyesight. Vitamins A, C, and E also have a favorable effect on human eyesight. It is noteworthy that physical activity can prevent vision impairment. Finally, smoking is one of the risk factors so older adults should be encouraged to quit smoking.

Regarding the promotion of hearing in older adults, it is necessary to focus on the prevention of infections or their proper management (Eliopoulos, 2014). The prevention of traumas (caused by a foreign object in the ear) is another priority. Most importantly, the regular examination can help prevent the rapid deterioration of hearing in aging patients. Nursing professionals should also examine (and remove when necessary) cerumen accumulated in patients’ ears. It is necessary to add that noise-related loss of hearing should be address. Aging patients are specifically prone to such types of hazards.

Nursing professionals should make sure that patients are not exposed to loud noise. It is necessary to keep visual contact with the patient rather than try to speak louder. Finally, certain types of lifestyle can be risk factors. For instance, smoking is one of the significant risk factors, so patients should be encouraged to quit smoking (Meiner, 2013). The use of a hearing aid can help slow down the process of age-related hearing loss.

In what ways do age-related changes affect the presentation of symptoms and risks associated with diabetes and thyroid disease?

Older adults often develop thyroid diseases due to the changes taking place in the process of aging. For instance, aging is associated with certain atrophy of the thyroid gland, fibrosis, and infiltration (Eliopoulos, 2014). One of the peculiarities of the disorder is that it can be easily missed in aging patients. Some of the major symptoms of thyroid disease are fatigue, lethargy, depression, anorexia, weight gain, impaired hearing, constipation, cold intolerance, ataxia, myalgia, coarse hair, and dry skin. These symptoms are rather common for older adults and are associated with the aging process.

Physicians may often fail to diagnose the disorder, which increases the risk of various complications. Some of the most serious complications include severe mental deterioration, psychosis, lethargy, or even myxedema coma. Therefore, it is essential to diagnose the disorder timely. If an aging patient has some of the symptoms mentioned above, it is necessary to pay attention to the family history of the disorder, radiotherapy history, extensive surgery history, past treatment for hyperthyroidism.

Another disorder that can be unnoticed for a long time but can result in considerable health risks is diabetes. This disorder is common for aging patients, and, at the same time, its major symptoms can be unnoticed. Some of these symptoms include vision changes, fatigue, frequent thirst, hunger, and dark circles under the eyes. As for vision changes, these can be blurry vision, pain in the eyes, excessive pressure, spots, impaired vision.

Such vision disorders as glaucoma, cataracts, and retinopathy often develop in aging patients suffering from diabetes. All these symptoms are similar to the ones associated with aging. Hence, regular examination is essential. The development of diabetes is related to negative effects. For instance, the risk of falls increases considerably due to vision disorders. Patients become more prone to the development of infectious diseases such as pneumonia, ear and gum infections, bronchitis, the flu, and so on. Finally, diabetes increases the risk of the development of Alzheimer’s disease and dementia.

What major points would you discuss if you were presenting a health education class at a senior citizen center on the topic of “Boosting Your Immunity”?

The discussion would include several aspects. One of the major areas to cover is the maintenance of a healthy lifestyle including healthy diets and regular exercise (Eliopoulos, 2014). It is essential to mention products to be consumed as well as appropriate portions. It can be beneficial to discuss the so-called superfoods that positively affect the immune system. As to regular exercise, walks, yoga and similar practices, sports like golf (or any other kinds of sport appropriate for the elderly) should be discussed as well.

Older adults often try to avoid moving a lot due to fatigue, fear of falls, and other reasons. Therefore, it is essential to provide effective strategies to address these issues. Another area to pay attention to is associated with stress. It is necessary to emphasize that older adults should try to minimize stress. The discussion should also dwell upon the benefits of healthy sleeping. Again, it is essential to mention strategies (both pharmacological and non-pharmacological) that could help address sleep disorders. The consumption of the appropriate amount of liquids is crucial so the discussion should include this aspect as well.

Furthermore, proper hygiene is another important topic to discuss. Aging patients should understand the benefits of effective hygiene and major practices (with a focus on hand wash). It is also possible to mention vaccination that can help older adults avoid serious health conditions. Finally, it is vital to make the patients understand and feel the benefits of staying positive. The entire discussion should be an illustration of remaining positive and active. Therefore, pure lectures are likely to be less effective as compared to a discussion involving various activities. It can be beneficial to invite patients as well as their caregivers to the discussion.

References

Eliopoulos, C. (2014). Gerontological nursing. Philadelphia, PA: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.

Meiner, S. E. (2013). Gerontological nursing. St. Louis, MO: Elsevier Health Sciences.

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