Physical Effects of Aging
Normal Age Related Changes Aging brings about numerous changes in the body of a human being. This happens in the same manner in both men and women. The patient in the case study is no exception. Aging has brought about several changes to her body. Aging causes changes in the bone structure of the body. As people get old, their bones lose some mineral content. This results into the bones becoming weak and less dense than those of young and middle aged people. Weakness in the bones may result in many issues in the body. As it is evident in the case study, the patient requires assistance when using the steps. In addition, falls may result from the bone weakness. The woman in the case study fell last year. The healing process may take long. She may have to use the walking stick for the rest of her life. This bone weakness may also cause problems with walking. A person cannot stand or walk for long. This is evident in the case study as the woman cannot walk or stand for more than 10 to15 minutes. The weakness of her bones has deteriorated the quality of life that she lives. She needs assistance with mobility and her house chores. Aging has also brought about other changes in the body, including hearing, muscle strength, reflexes, coordination, and sight. A combination of these problems may result in falls caused by the loss of balance. In some cases, old people may experience frequent falls. In the case study, the woman experienced a fall last year. This has brought about many complications in her life. She must use a cane when walking. Deterioration in her muscles due to aging may be contributing to the patient’s foot drop. The woman in the case study is also experiencing sleep problems. According to the interview, she rates the quality of her sleep as fairly bad. In addition, she requires glasses for reading. These are some of the normal problems experienced as a result of aging. These problems have adversely affected the patient’s life. She cannot lead an independent life since she needs assistance. Chronic Medical Problems According to the case study, the woman is suffering from several chronic illnesses. These are persistent diseases or human conditions that have long lasting impacts on the patient’s health. The woman suffers from diabetes mellitus type II. The diagnosis took place in 2005. It affects the body’s ability to metabolize glucose. The body either resists the effect of insulin, or it does not produce adequate insulin to maintain a healthy level of glucose in the body. This condition has no cure, hence it can only be managed. Maintaining a healthy weight, proper exercising and proper eating can manage the ailment. In other cases, insulin therapy and diabetes medications may be necessary. Poor diet, excess body weight, and low level of activity increase the risk on getting the disease. The woman in the case study has problems managing the disease. She faces difficulty losing weight since she cannot exercise as a result of her bone and muscular weakness. In addition, she fails to adhere to a low carbohydrate diet. Pastries and bread are not healthy as she suffers from diabetes. In addition, she should eat more fruits and vegetables than she currently does. This category of diabetes also results in frequent urination. Therefore, she should drink sufficient water to curb dehydration. However, she prefers caffeine free diet soda and coffee and drinks little water. Maintaining the requirements is difficult since the patient has to change her lifestyle. In addition, the medications that she takes, including Metformin and Zocor, are creating a financial burden on her. She also suffers from hypertension, diagnosed in 1986. High blood pressure or hypertension is a chronic health ailment, where the blood pressure in the arteries escalates. As a result, the heart has to work harder. It can lead to other illnesses such as heart failure, renal failure, stroke, or cardiac arrest. It may also cause damaging of organs. It may result from being overweight, lack of physical activity, aging, among other causes. It can be treated through taking medicine and/or through a lifestyle change. Losing weight, eating a healthy diet, and regular exercising are some of the lifestyle changes that a hypertension patient needs to incorporate in his or her life. In the case study, the patient takes some hypertension medications, namely Triamterene/HCTZ 37.5 mg, Atenolol 100 mg, and Cozaar 100 mg daily. However, as a result of the bone weakness, muscular weakness, dyspnea and other conditions, she cannot exercise. In addition, her diet is high on carbohydrates. This results in deteriorating of her health problems. This condition has adversely affected the quality of her life. She cannot lead an independent lifestyle. She requires both physical and financial assistance. She also suffers from renal insufficiency. It is the reduced functioning of the kidneys. It may result from a reduction of blood flowing into the kidneys, as well as long-term, uncontrolled hypertension and diabetes mellitus. Overusing common drugs, such as aspirin, may also cause a renal insufficiency. The woman in the case study suffers from both hypertension and diabetes. In addition, she takes Aspirin 81 mg daily. These could have been the causes of the disease. Patients suffering from renal insufficiency may require dialysis. In the case study, it is evident that the patient visits physicians for nephrology. It is a treatment of problems affecting the kidney. The requirement to visit the renal physician regularly creates a financial burden on the patient. In addition, it contributes to psychological problems that in turn affect her blood pressure. In essence, the illnesses affecting this woman affect each other. This deteriorates the quality of life that she lives. She receives a primary care from her children, who also help her with the housework. Comparison and Contrast with Other Old Adults There are several similarities and differences between the case study patient and other old adults. The old adults interviewed were between 60 and 70 years. They complained of bone and joint related complications. This included weakening of the bones as well as pain in the joints. They could not stand or walk for a long time. They complained of pain on their backs, ankles, wrists and knees. They experienced similar functional ability problems. They had sight problems. They either required reading glasses or glasses to counter short sight. Nocturia was also an issue affecting the old people. As with the patient in the case study, these old adults required to wake up at night for urination. They also had little mobility. All the interviewees were dependent on someone to some extent for the primary care. This was the same for those, who lived at home, as well as those, who lived in old people’s homes. They also used walking assistance appliances such as canes and walking frames. Their skin had wrinkles as a result of the old age. All the interviewees had suffered hypertension at one part of their lives. Whereas some of them had managed it, others were still suffering from hypertension. They were also suffering from diabetes. There we also several contrasting issues among the interviewees and the case study patient. Cancer is not a common occurrence among the old adults. In addition, some of them suffered from dementia, while others did not. Some of the interviewees also suffered from the memory loss. There was a difference in the loss of teeth among the old adults. Some had all their teeth; others had lost some of their teeth, while some had lost all the teeth and were using dentures. Their chronological age correlates to their physical limitations to a large extent. However, some of them began feeling the impact of aging at different ages. To some, the onset of the impacts took place early, while for others it began late. Aging Theory There are different theories that explain the aging process. These theories overlap each other in explanations. As a result, one cannot explain aging using only one theory. However, in this case study, the most suitable theory that explains most of the aging process is the immunologic theory or the autoimmune theory. In the human body, the immune system creates a defense against foreign substances that might enter the body. The body’s ability to produce necessary antibodies to fight diseases declines as a person gets old. Its ability to distinguish proteins and antibodies also declines. As a result, the immune system becomes self-destructive. The decline in the immune system results in the increased vulnerability of a person to diseases, aging and death. This can explain the increase of diseases autoimmune disorders and tumors among the old adults. As seen in the case study patient’s past medical history, most of the diagnoses of her diseases took place during her old age years. Since her treatment against breast cancer in 2003, she has undergone several other diagnoses. In a span of six years, between 2003 and 2009, she received diagnoses of about eight illnesses. This can be explained as having resulted from the declined immunity. In addition, after falling last year, she has not fully recovered, and she has to use a cane when walking. This has been a result of degeneration of the body tissues. Plan of Care The patient rates the quality of her sleep as fairly bad. This means that she does not enjoy the quality of her sleep. Some of the causes of sleep problems among the old adults include poor sleep habits, psychological distress, medications, retirement, and sleep disorders. A regular sleeping schedule is significant for the body. When one has an irregular sleep-wake pattern, it affects their circadian rhythm. This creates a challenge for them in terms of keeping up a consistent sleep schedule. Illnesses, such as arthritis, make it difficult to fall asleep. Some medications may also affect a person’s ability to fall asleep. Periodic limb movement disorder, associated with aging, may result into sleep disorders. In addition, when a person retires, they have days with few activities. This may cause chronic sleep problems and irregular sleep wake schedule. This can be solved by a number of ways. First, the patient should improve her daytime habits. Since retirement, her days have been fairly less busy than before. She should engage in activities such as volunteering, participating in social activities, joining seniors’ groups, as well as exercising regularly, exposing to sunlight and limiting caffeine intake. She should also maintain a consistent sleep schedule and minimize the liquid intake before sleep to reduce nocturia. Once she has enough night sleep and rest, she will be able to do her daily activities. According to the case study, the patient fell last year. Falls can be brought about by different factors. In her case, she suffers from osteoporosis of the right hip. She should eat a calcium-rich diet. She should also get sufficient vitamin D and do regular weight bearing exercises. This has brought her several problems when walking as well as pain. She should use walking assistance appliances such as walking canes. She should use the lift when going to the lower floors of her apartment. However, she should walk up the steps as it provides the essential exercises that she needs. Failure to undertake regular exercises results in the decreased strength, reduced muscle tone, and loss of bone flexibility and mass. She should ensure that she undertakes her daily activities in a safer manner, wears properly fitting shoes that have low heels. She should also engage in exercises that increase the strength of bones and muscles. Some grab bars should be installed in the house. In the interview for writing elites, the patient states that Charcot foot is the medical condition that has caused her most problems. She states that it has limited her independence and mobility. It has caused her both physical and emotional distress. She should use custom footwear. In addition, a Charcot foot can be treated with the main goal of stabilizing the patient’s joints. She could also undergo a surgery. She should visit her doctor in order to consult regarding the issue. Once she gets treated, she will be capable of taking care of herself. She should also ensure that she adheres to the doctor’s directions for her other ailments. In most cases, one illness contributes to the other. If she manages her blood sugar and checks on her weight, she will be able to lead a comfortable and independent life. If she does not take care of her condition, it can lead to other conditions such as joint inflammations and loss of function in the foot.