Seniors Are Sensitive

As we and those we care for age, we have to be aware of our sensitivity to medications.  This increase in sensitivity to drugs is mostly due to the fact that the organs in our bodies that absorb and eliminate drugs slow down quite a bit.   Our kidney and liver function can slow to as much as 50% of their more youthful rate.  Generally, we have more body fat and less muscle mass. Since many drugs are fat-soluble, our bodies may absorb more of the medication.   The amount of water in our body decreases as we age and our hearts pump blood less effectively. This makes the effects of drugs much stronger.  All these changes occur naturally as we age.  The end result of these changes is that drugs are absorbed more slowly, take longer to start working, and stay in our bodies much longer after we stop taking them.   This can definitely become a serious issue in light of the fact that most drugs are formulated for and tested on younger adults who aren’t so sensitive.  For the senior population there is less information available on what the side effects of and reactions to different drugs are.  This problem is compounded by the fact that senior citizens consume over 25% of all drugs prescribed in the United States.  The average senior gets thirteen prescriptions a year.   In addition, they buy almost 50% of over-the-counter drugs sold.  Since  seniors generally  suffer from several chronic conditions, the number of prescriptions usually rises as we age.  The best thing we can do for ourselves and our loved ones is to talk frequently with our doctors and our pharmacist.  Make sure you clearly let your doctor know what you are taking, how often, and at what dosage.  Ask if any new prescriptions are necessary for an underlying condition or is your doctor just treating the symptoms you have. Is there an actual diagnosis?  If you are taking any over-the-counter drugs, please let your doctor know.  They can easily interact with the prescribed medications.  Being overmedicated from taking multiple medications often leads to confusion and an increased incidence of falls in the elderly.  Pay attention to how your body reacts and how you feel when you begin a new medication.  Be aware of your sensitivity and don’t be shy about communicating with your doctor. What are you doing to keep yourself or the one you care for safe with medications?  Share below and visit us at



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Filed under Aging in Place, Caregiver, Home Care, Medication Reminder, Senior Care, Trillium HomeCare, Uncategorized

One response to “Seniors Are Sensitive

  1. Pingback: Seniors Are Sensitive | Home-Aid Caregivers BLOG

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