Having a chronic illness is not a death sentence, in fact more and more elderly people living with chronic illness are able to experience a superb quality of life. Chronic illnesses common in the elderly include but not limited to high blood pressure, diabetes, arthritis, memory loss, impaired vision, high blood cholesterol, sleep disorders etc.
Grooving while living with a chronic illness is not only a possibility, it’s a reality. Here are few tips to follow to actualize this goal.
Whether you are living with high blood pressure or diabetes or arthritis etc. you need a support system. This can be family, friends or neighbors, someone you can share your journey with and can encourage you on days it gets overwhelming. Taking drugs for chronic illness can be mentally, financially and emotionally exhausting which is why a support system is necessary to catch you on days you don’t feel strong or to listen on days you want to rant or also give a shoulder to cry on.
Apart from a feel good inward sensation when you lose weight, there are amazing health benefits.
A recent clinical trial (the Diabetes Remission Clinical Trial [DiRECT]) — the results of which were published in The Lancet — discovered that nearly half of the participants with type 2 diabetes who followed a weight loss program experienced the remission of their condition by the end of the study.
A 2005 study in Arthritis & Rheumatism of overweight and obese adults with knee osteoarthritis found that losing one pound of weight resulted in four pounds of pressure being removed from the knees. In fact being overweight or obese increases your risk of developing high blood pressure. Your blood pressure rises as your body weight increases. Losing even 10 pounds can lower your blood pressure and losing weight has the biggest effect on those who are overweight and already have hypertension.
The effects of tobacco smoking on blood pressure are complex, with evidence that tobacco smoking increases blood pressure acutely and increases the risk of renovascular, malignant, and masked hypertension. Passive (or secondhand) smoke exposure also appears to raise blood pressure.
Smoking affects your heart health by reducing the level of HDL (good) cholesterol, making cholesterol more sticky and more likely to stick to the inside of artery walls, increasing heart rate, constricting & damaging arteries and reducing available oxygen
Physical inactivity is a primary cause of most chronic diseases. aerobic exercise can help prevent heart disease, but if you do develop markers of heart problems — such as high cholesterol or high blood pressure — moderate intensity activity can help stop those problems from causing more serious ones (such as heart attack or stroke). Regular exercise also improves factors linked to cardiovascular health, resulting in lower blood pressure, healthier cholesterol levels, and better blood sugar regulation.
Developing healthy eating habits starts with choosing delicious healthy foods.
Adopting a DASH (Dietary Approach to Stop Hypertension) diet can help to control high blood pressure. Presence of vegetables and fibers in your meals can help control and manage some of the symptoms experienced with high blood pressure. Diet also plays an important part in diabetes management. A diabetes diet is a healthy-eating plan that’s naturally rich in nutrients and low in fat and calories. Key elements are fruits, vegetables and whole grains. Eat plenty of colorful fruits and vegetables for optimum eye health. A diet high in saturated fat and sugar may increase your risk of eye disease. On the other hand, healthy foods such as greens and fruits may help prevent certain eye diseases and other health problems.
TAKE APPROPRIATE SUPPLEMENTS
Supplements are a fantastic addition in management of any chronic condition. Fish oil, glucosamine/chrondroitin, garlic, Hawthorne, red yeast, and vitamins/minerals all help to better manage chronic conditions. Fish oil supplements help to reduce inflammation and lower cholesterol levels. Glucosamine/chrondroitin helps in alleviating joint inflammation in arthritis and reducing the dependence on pain medications. In a recent study, 80 percent of people with osteoarthritis who popped 1,500 milligrams of glucosamine and 1,200mg of chrondroitin a day noted pain relief. People with knee osteoarthritis who took a ginger extract twice daily had less pain and needed fewer painkillers than those who took a placebo, according to one study. Other research suggests it may be just as effective as ibuprofen.
The Age-Related Eye Disease Study, known as AREDS—and the slightly different formula used in the follow-up study, AREDS2—can reduce progression of AMD (Age Related Macular Degeneration) in people who have an intermediate stage of the disease or a severe stage in one eye.
KEEP YOUR HEALTHCARE APPOINTMENTS
A lot of patients do not keep up with their healthcare appointments, usually as a result of cost or inconvenience. Keeping the appointment helps the doctor carry out periodic tests to confirm the drugs are working and also the effects on the body especially as most of it is long term use. Periodic tests like liver function tests, full blood counts are carried out biannually or annually.
DOCUMENT ALL YOUR DRUGS PAST AND PRESENT
Keep a record of all your drugs history. Usually a thorough drug history can help prevent a complication or manage adverse/side effects. It’s always a good idea to be familiar with the names and probably dosage of all your drugs.
USE AIDS/ASSISTANCE WHEN NECESSARY
Use of assisted aids is not weakness but a sign of being in control. Pill boxes helps in setting reminders to take daily pills and are most useful in patients with reduced cognitive function or impaired memory. Prescription glasses are also recommended as we age and the sights dim, they help with reading and night vision. Walking canes will assist in arthritis and take pressure off the affected limbs to speed healing.
In conclusion, Statistics for prevalence of these chronic conditions are largely unavailable because most cases are still undetected, however, According to the Nigerian hypertension society; one in three Nigerians has high blood pressure. The prevalence of diabetes in Nigeria as at 2015 was 2%, meaning more and more people are living with different chronic conditions. Almost every prescription filled for a geriatric in the pharmacy contains one or more medication for a chronic condition. Most of which have been living with this condition for 10 to 20 years mostly without complications. Grooving while living with a chronic condition is becoming easier with patients experiencing high sense of fulfillment with their life.
ABOUT KAFAYAT BADARU:
Kafayat Badaru is the CEO of Santeforte pharmacy, an upscale retail community pharmacy in Magodo Lagos. She has a Master’s degree in clinical pharmacy from the University of Lagos
Kafayat’s passion is to help people and she has been leveraging her over 18years of community pharmacy experience to achieve this feat.
Kafayat is grounded in preventive care practice and has been championing change in her community through outreaches on preventive health care and advocacy for child and maternity health
She is an avid reader and loves to cook.
Follow her on Instagram @santehealth where she shares daily health information