Seniors: Health Information

Thanks to medical innovations, today’s seniors can expect to live longer, more active lives than ever before. However, it’s extremely important that they or their care givers make informed decisions about treatments, medications and devices to ensure that seniors maintain a high quality of life.

Aging Well

Two-thirds of seniors suffer from two or more chronic conditions, such as heart disease, osteoarthritis or Type 2 diabetes. Fortunately, modern medicine provides a wide range of treatment options that can improve the quality of life for these patients. However, it is still necessary to maintain healthy habits in order to ensure good health. Some tips for aging well include:

  • Eat a healthy diet: A proper diet can help stave off heart disease, diabetes, bone loss and other ailments often associated with aging. Proper nutrition can also increase energy and improve mood.
  • Maintain a healthy weight: Being overweight can increase your risk for heart disease, high blood pressure, Type 2 diabetes, and bone issues. However, being underweight is also a concern for seniors.
  • Physical activity: Everyone, no matter their age, benefits from regular exercise. For seniors, regular physical activity can improve endurance, strength, balance, and flexibility.
  • See your doctor regularly: Your doctor can ensure you undergo appropriate medical screenings, and discuss any issues or side effects you’ve experienced from the medications you take.

Drugs and Medical Devices That May Pose a Risk to Seniors

Certain drugs and medical devices frequently prescribed for seniors can be associated with serious side effects:

  • Actos: This Type 2 diabetes medication has been linked to an increased risk of bladder cancer and congestive heart failure.
  • Lipitor: Statins like Lipitor may increase the risk for Type 2 diabetes in post-menopausal women.
  • Invokana: Invokana and other Type 2 diabetes medications called SGLT2 inhibitors have been associated with reports of diabetic ketoacidos, and may be linked to an increased risk of kidney problems, urinary tract infections and yeast infections.
  • Xarelto: This blood thinner can cause uncontrollable bleeding, a complication for which there is currently no approved reversal agent.
  • Hip Replacements: Certain hip replacements manufactured by DePuy Orthopaedics, Stryker, Zimmer, Biomet and Wright Medical Technology have allegedly been associated with high rates of premature failure.
  • IVC Filters: Certain retrievable IVC filters marketed by C.R. Bard and Cook Medical may be prone to malfunctions, including fracture and migration, which could lead to serious patient injuries.
  • Proton Pump Inhibitors: Studies suggest that prolonged use of heart burn drugs like Nexium, Prilosec and Prevacid may be associated with an increased risk of kidney complications and kidney failure, as well as heart attacks and dementia.
  • Onglyza: The Type 2 diabetes drug Onglyza has been tied to an increased risk of heart failure, pancreatitis and severe joint pain.
  1. NIHSeniorHealth (N.D.) “Healthy Aging” http://nihseniorhealth.gov/category/healthyaging.html
  2. FDA (2011) http://www.accessdata.fda.gov/drugsatfda_docs/label/2011/021073s043s044lbl.pdf “Actos Prescribing Information”
  3. FDA (2015) “FDA Drug Safety Communication: FDA warns that SGLT2 inhibitors for diabetes may result in a serious condition of too much acid in the blood.” http://www.fda.gov/Drugs/DrugSafety/ucm446845.htm
  4. Institute for Safe Medication Practices ( 2013) “Xarelto” http://www.ismp.org/quarterwatch/pdfs/2012Q2.pdf
  5. PLOS One (2015) “Proton Pump Inhibitor Usage and the Risk of Myocardial Infarction in the General Population” http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0124653
  6. JAMA: Internal Medicine (2016) “Proton Pump Inhibitor Use and the Risk of Chronic Kidney Disease” http://archinte.jamanetwork.com/article.aspx?articleid=2481157
  7. Reuters (2015) “FDA panel backs safety updates for AstraZeneca, Takeda drugs” http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/04/14/us-astrazeneca-onglyza-fda-idUSKBN0N51U920150414
Last Modified: June 1, 2016

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