Seniors, as they age, often have many physical complaints.
Some of those are related to specific medical conditions, others seemingly come out of nowhere.
Anemia can cause many common health complaints, including fatigue, loss of energy, pale skin, cold hands and feet, shortness of breath, irregular heart beat and dizziness.
Our seniors are at risk from the effects of anemia, which is a treatable disease.
These are some of the potential causes of anemia as we age:
- An inadequate intake of iron containing foods
- Chronic medical conditions, which is known as anemia of chronic disease
- Multiple medications can affect hemoglobin levels
- Unknown bleeding
- Blood diseases
- B12 deficiency
A blood test is needed to determine a diagnosis and then a cause needs to be determined to decide on the best course of treatment. A discussion with your senior’s doctor is recommended.
Tips to Prevent Iron Deficiency Anemia
If you are worried that your senior’s diet may me lacking key nutrients, such as iron, here are some suggestions for improving their diet.
- Eat foods rich in iron, such as dried fruits, lean beef, dark green leafy vegetables, beans and iron fortified cereals.
- Eat foods rich in folate, such as citrus fruits, bananas, dark green leafy vegetables, and fortified grains.
- Include foods containing vitamin B12, such as fortified cereals and soy products, as well as meat and dairy foods.
- Take vitamin rich foods with citrus foods; they are good sources of vitamin C, which makes it easier to absorb iron.
- Ask your senior’s doctor if supplements would be helpful.
- Check with their pharmacist to be sure their medications are not worsening anemia.
- Ensure the doctor has checked for sources of bleeding that could require treatment.
Eating a nutritious diet and talking with your senior loved one’s doctor about their symptoms will help keep your senior healthy!
Here are some additional resources about nutrition and aging for you to learn more to help your senior (and yourself) be better nourished: