Nutrition and Healthy Living for the Aged

Growing old often comes with health challenges. This makes those living with aged people to look for renowned and experienced nutritionists for proper dietary advice. Currently, most of the pharmacies and hospitals in Europe have employed a pharmacist with flawless understanding of nutrition.  Enhancing the nutritional advises given to patients have been an objective of every pharmacist. Moreover, guiding the aged population on nutritious foods to take will not only help them live healthier but also help cut the expenses associated with medicines bought for nutrition purposes.

In this article, causes of malnutrition in older people are highlighted. Additionally, five of the most common nutrients that should be taken by older adults for enhanced nutrition and health are discussed. Read through and ensure what you learn is applied appropriately.

Causes of Malnutrition in Older People

Various nutritionists have investigated the relation between cognition and nutrition. The findings have showed focus on nutritional deficiencies as a cause of dementia or cognitive decline. There is far less information about dementia and other cognitive malfunction as a cause of malnutrition. However, when studying hospital in‐patients, the nutritionists found an opposite relation between energy intake and cognition on admission. This suggests that dementia may damage the ability or desire to eat.

Depression and anxiety

Changes in food intake patterns in a human being may be symptoms of depression. Anxiety or stress is also deemed to cause changes of food intake. Several studies have provided evidence to suggest that depression is comparatively the common cause of weight loss and malnutrition in the elderly. Greif has also been associated with negative effects on eating behaviors and nutrient intake.

Oral health and dental status

Deterioration of the array of teeth and the general oral health and have been exposed to significantly affect food intake in ageing people. Furthermore, toothless people reported greater struggles with eating a range of foods, more chewing complications, and mouth dryness. Likelihood of poor general health and decreased quality of life can cause chewing problems.

Loss of Taste and smell senses

Both the taste and smell senses very vital in enhancing eating habits. The loss of these senses is implicated in the loss of appetite through a perceived decline in the appeal of food.  The sense of taste is also a crucial nerve response that prepares the body for digestion. It also helps in modulating food choice and meal size by increasing satiety and the pleasure of eating. The loss of taste and smell senses are regular in elderly people and can be made worse by disease and drugs

The main cause of taste loss is not fully understood but potential theories include a reduction in the number of taste buds on the surface of the tongue. Additionally, a decrease in the functioning of receptors in cell membranes involved in the taste sensation can cause loss of taste senses. However, the following drugs can change taste and smell: lipid-lowering drugs, bronchodilators antihistamines, antibiotics, antihypertensive, anti‐inflammatory, and other asthma drugs.

Loss of Appetite

The major cause of malnutrition is probably poor appetite or anorexia. It is treated using a variety of factors. It is known that energy intake reduces with age and that micro‐nutrient deficiencies are more probable to occur. The mechanisms behind this reduction are yet to be fully clarified but a number of contributing theories have been developed.

Vitamin B12

B12 is very vital in generating red blood cells and DNA. In addition, it also maintains healthy nerve functions in the brain. Oftentimes, it is hard for aging and aged people to absorb it from their diets as younger ones may do.  This is because their body systems are weaker and to an extent, some may be ailing. However, older people should be encouraged to take fortified cereals, lean meat, and seafood. These foods are rich in vitamin B12 and may serve as booster supplements for old people.

Fiber

Regular intake of foods rich in fiber can help older people lower risks of heart diseases as well as diabetes and obesity. Many people who have foods rich in fiber also report a reduction in constipation. Good sources of fiber comprise wholegrain bread, cereals, brown rice, unpeeled potatoes, and fruits and vegetables.

Calcium and vitamin D

Due to aging, bones become fragile and may even affect joints and cause arthritis. For this reason, older people are required to take more calcium and vitamin D to help in building and maintaining strong bones. It is very unfortunate that as people grow old, they tend to detest foods with plenty amounts of calcium such as milk and yogurt. In order to reduce chances of brittle and fractured bones, it is advisable for older people to have cereals, fruit juices, dark leafy vegetables and fish with soft bones. In addition, one can have over the counter supplements that contain vitamin D.  Nonetheless, a doctor’s prescription is recommended before purchase.

Potassium

Keeping bones strong also needs potassium elements in the diet. Potassium is an essential mineral for better cell functions. In addition, there are high chances of reducing blood pressure and risk of kidney stones. Fruits and vegetables are the known to the best sources of potassium. Bananas, prunes, plums and unpeeled potatoes are some of the fruits that are highly rich in this mineral.  Having too little or too much potassium can be dangerous to one’s health. Based on research conducted by nutritionists, older people should be given moderate amounts of foods rich in potassium to reduce the risks emanating from too low or very high levels of this mineral.

Omega 3 fats

Mainly, these are unsaturated fats that naturally occur in fish. They have a broad array of benefits to the nutrition and health of all people irrespective of age. The omega 3 fats can go a long way to reduce age-related diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, macular degeneration, and vision problems. Nutritionists suggest that omega 3 fats keep the brain sharper in older people.  Fishes with the quality and high levels of omega 3 fats are the salmon, tuna, sardines, and mackerel.

 Oral Hygiene Guidelines for the Aged

Maintaining good oral health is essential to preserving perfect overall health. The goal of practicing appropriate oral hygiene is to prevent or eliminate the formation and buildup of plaque. Moreover, it also helps to inhibit dental caries and periodontal disease and to reduce the occurrence oral disorder. Pharmacies and hospitals in Europe have spared time to effectively educate people on the benefits of having good oral hygiene. They have actually gone a further step to print brochures to have a significant impact on the health of patients.

Results from a recent patient surveys, the findings clearly demonstrate that many people are unaware of the benefits of practicing good oral hygiene. Moreover, many people lack to appreciate its relationship to overall health of a person. For example, findings from a survey carried out by a group of dentists practicing in France concerning oral health shows that many people are not certain of fundamental information regarding proper dental care. The report also proposed the replacement of a time frame for usage of personal toothbrushes. This is because they are deemed the major cause of dental caries.  In addition, other recent findings show that over 50% of people 30 years and above have some extent of periodontal disease. Routine oral health checkups are essential. However, only an estimated 45% of people acquire professional dental care on a usual basis.

Extensive clinical studies have shown that people with poor oral hygiene are at a higher risk of developing various awful oral health problems. Poor oral hygiene is solely responsible for increased occurrence of dental caries, oral pain, and distress for denture wearers. In addition, a number of clinical studies have suggested a connection between several oral cancers, poor dental and oral hygiene.

Fortunately, there are a variety of nonprescription dental health care medicines available for the prevention of common oral health disorders. Many of these products are available in an assortment of formulations of medicines.  These medicines comprise of those designed to fight plaque, gingivitis, and tartar, as well as those meant for sensitive teeth or for whitening the teeth. Other products that can be used for the same solution includes flosses, therapeutic mouth rinses, and cosmetic and topical fluorides. Additionally, there are also a number of products that are specially made for the children below the age of 5 years. Most of these medicines encourage children to brush their teeth and aid in improving brushing techniques.

Pharmacists working in pharmacies and hospitals in Europe are in a critical position and are required to increase awareness of the essence of good oral health care. Additionally, pharmacies can give emphasis to the importance of adhering to a daily preventive oral care routine. They can also serve as a reliable source of information for patients on the selection and proper utilization of the wide variety of nonprescription oral hygiene care medicines. In addition, pharmacists can help in recognizing patients who are at a high risk of suffering from dental problems due to use of particular medicines.

Periodontal Disease

Periodontal disease mainly occurs in placid to brutal forms. However, gingivitis is the mildest form of periodontal disease and is in most cases reversible. Periodontitis, which is more severe among the periodontal diseases, can happen when gingivitis is untreated for a long time. In many cases, it can result in major and irreversible harm to the soft tissue and bone structure of the teeth. Generally, Periodontitis is deemed as the basic cause of tooth loss amongst adults over 45 years of age. Findings from a number of studies have also provided evidence that periodontal disease is associated with chronic health conditions. These chronic diseases are the likes of the most dreaded stroke, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, respiratory disease, and pre-term low weight babies. Mechanically, doing away with the plaque buildup can be enhanced by brushing at least twice a day. Additionally, obtaining a regular dental care plan is very important to reducing or preventing periodontal disease.

A few factors that may increase one’s risk of developing periodontal disease comprise of hormonal changes such as those that occur during puberty or pregnancy. More to that, medical conditions such as diabetes, and use of pharmacologic agents such as calcium channel blockers, cyclosporine, and phenytoin can also be factors that may lead to periodontal disease.

Halitosis

Very many cases of halitosis reported in pharmacies and hospitals in Europe are directly linked to inadequate oral hygiene procedures. Moreover, there are other factors that can contribute to halitosis. They include the use of tobacco, consumption of certain foods, consumption of alcohol, and dry mouth. However, the prevention of halitosis involves the complete removal of plaque.

Dental Caries
According to the various dentists working in pharmacies and hospitals in Europe, a large number of children populace have untreated dental caries. This may be as a result of negligence of the parent who may fail to notice dental caries developing in their children’s mouth. Factors that may put patients at the highest risk of dental caries include deteriorated oral hygiene, gum tissue depression that exposes root surfaces, and xerostomia- dry mouth. Certain medicines may cause xerostomia, and pharmacists can advise patients taking such medications regarding the importance of treating it if it happens. Some clinical studies also suggest a very big connection between the use of tobacco and development of dental caries. Controlling a plaque is critical to prevention of dental caries. The most effective method of ensuring good oral health and healthy gum tissues is to remove plaque buildup by brushing twice a day and flossing at least once a day. Several available medications such as oral rinses can also help in reducing the creation of plaque and tartar.

In a nutshell, patients exhibiting signs of periodontal disease should be persuaded to seek treatment from a dental professional working independently or in collaboration with pharmacies and hospitals in Europe. Dentists and pharmacists with dentistry knowhow should ensure that patients understand the proper use of oral hygiene products.

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