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Dangerous Food & Drug Combinations for the Elderly

By , 11:36 pm on

If someone takes at least three medications a day, has memory problems, vision loss, or obtains multiple prescriptions from multiple doctors, they are at a higher risk for dangerous drug mix ups. Seniors typically meet a lot of these criteria, which is why attention to diet and drug interaction is of the upmost importance at Home Care Assistance Omaha. Some foods that are typically thought to be healthy can wreak havoc on an aging person’s body if they are taking certain medications.

1. Grapefruit

This citrusy fruit can interfere with several drugs, including: anti-seizure medication, antidepressants, cholesterol-lowering drugs, calcium channel blockers (for high blood pressure), and even prescribed pills for erectile dysfunction.

2. Spinach

Green vegetables, specifically those high in Vitamin K, like spinach, Brussels sprouts, broccoli, and kale, can negate the medication called Warfarin (Coumadin) which is a blood-thinning medication. The elderly don’t need to toss all their healthy greens, they just need to keep their intake of these vegetables moderate and consistent.

3. Fiber

Insoluble fibers, from foods like wheat bran and whole grains, provide a lot of health benefits like easing constipation and reducing a person’s risk of diabetes and heart disease. Yet, you can’t disregard the fact that high-fiber diets can slow down a medication’s absorption into the blood stream. Digoxin (Digitalis, Digitek, Lanoxin), which is used to strengthen the muscles of heart, is most effected by the intake of high fiber foods.

Finally, there is alcohol. Although alcohol it isn’t considered a healthy food, it can trigger negative responses from a slew of drugs, the most important of which are insulin, or oral diabetic pills, and any over-the-counter pain reliever. Alcohol, like wine and beer, can also prompt a severe reaction with Monoamine oxidase inhibitors (an outdated antidepressant) potentially leading to a lethal elevation in blood pressure. It is important for seniors to be aware of these changes so they can adjust their lifestyle accordingly.

The professional Omaha caregivers at Home Care Assistance are highly trained in how to pair a well-rounded diet with prescription medications. If you have any questions on how to care for you aging loved one, dial 402-507-5001 and speak with one of our devoted Care Managers.

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