A (633 patients) 2002 Johns Hopkins study supported by the National Institute on Aging, (http://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/press/2002/July/020709.htm , excerpts in italics) estimates that up to 32% of older women are anemic. Anemia…has been recognized as a major geriatric syndrome, affecting up to 32 percent of older women… Symptoms of anemia can be “a marker of chronic diseases“, it can also cause symptoms that are easily misread as part of the natural aging process, particularly because for many, anemia is a slow and silent disease, and so a general “slowing down” or “increased difficulty in cognitive function” or “memory lapses” or “lethargy” or “disinclination for physical activity” as symptoms of anemia are unnoticed and untreated. And over time, these more fragile bodies become increasingly deprived of needed oxygen to their muscles and organs (kidneys, liver, heart, brain) that become prone to injury or failure.
A paper from the American Society of Hematology (http://asheducationbook.hematologylibrary.org/cgi/content/full/2005/1/528
Anemia in the Elderly: A Public Health Crisis in Hematology) indicates there may be a correlation between anemia and morbidity and mortality for men and women over 65, particularly in those suffering from congestive heart failure and heart attack.
I strongly urge all of you who may know someone over age 65 to talk to them or their health care provider or medical proxy about prompt testing for anemia. Unless it is caused by internal bleeding or more chronic disease (which would be critical to diagnose), most patients can manage the syndrome with daily iron supplements at the dosage prescribed by a healthcare provider. (Human bodies can’t excrete excess iron which can build up in organs, so you wouldn’t want to just take it without knowing if and how much you need.)
If you are under 65 and wish to have your blood tested, your blood hemoglobin will be tested for free if you donate blood to your local blood bank, as part of normal blood testing and typing. If your religion or health or squeamishness permits, I strongly encourage and thank you for your blood donation.
Mom is recovering and was very happy to see that her Barack won Wyoming and Mississippi! Now that she has more red blood cells, she’s actually stronger than she’s been in quite a while, and I am happy to have her more swiftly evading me with her walker.
i’m glad that your mom is doing well!
p>elderly people face several problems regarding proper nutrition. first, their ability to absorb some nutrients is diminished. second, some have a loss of appetite relative to middle age, so their intake is sometimes inadequate. third, food quality is sometimes lacking, due to many reasons including income and ability to get about. points two and three can be exacerbated by the depression or loneliness that sometimes comes with aging and its physical repercussions.
p>you might consider talking to a registered dietician who understands the old-folks angle. you can get her eating habits evaluated and also find out which nutritional problems can be fixed or avoided without medication (not always possible of course). you can also get some info on how nutrients interact. sometimes supplements of one nutrient work at cross purposes with others. it is good to have a basic understanding of this so you know what to look out for in the future.
Mom has been independent and on her own for many years, and wasn’t eating regularly until I arrived (she would forget to eat). She was down to 76 pounds, and I have her up to 81 now. Though she is a very tiny woman (I tell her she wears elf clothes), we are aiming to get her into the mid to high 80s.
p>I’ll see if I can find a registered dietician who has dealt with geriatric patients, I am sure we can improve upon her diet.
p>Thanks for your thoughts, Laurel.
is good to know, because it’s not something that we hear much about, especially as it affects older folks.
p>And while the general fare at BMG is fine, it’s also good to read about other things that are more important in peoples lives. I found this little snapshot of your relationship with your mother touching, including the shared interest in politics.
p>It’s always interesting to speak with older folks about their experiences and perspective. If my math is any good, she may have had the opportunity to vote for FDR, 3 times!
p>Good luck and good health to you and your Mom.
thank you. Even though Mom is a registered Republican (because of her father!) she has voted Democratic for most of her life. She had a horrible Nixon lapse in 1968, because she thought he would end the war in Vietnam. She thought Reagan was too old and senile to be President both times (he was born the same year as she, 1915). And yes, indeed, she has loved and revered “Mr Roosevelt” as long as I can remember.