Fatigue is a common complaint among the elderly population. According to a study published in the Journal of Gerontology and conducted at Columbia University Medical Center, “almost 1 in 5 senior citizens report that they have so little energy that they spend most of the day sitting on the sofa.” Not only do caregivers, family and friends begin to think of it as a normal process of aging, but doctors and other home health care providers may as well.
The truth is that there is often an underlying cause contributing to fatigue. Several possibilities exist including heart and kidney disease, lung disease, anemia, depression, social isolation and the side-effects of medications.
A few of the Medications that may be the Culprit
Antibiotics. Several drugs prescribed to treat bacterial infections can cause fatigue. These include amoxicillin, azithromycin and levofloxacin. According to a report published in the Journal of the American Medical Association by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “at least 30 percent of antibiotics prescribed in the United States are unnecessary.” While antibiotics can be life-saving drugs, be sure your parent’s doctor has confirmed a bacterial infection before administering.
Blood pressure medications including beta blockers. A few common brand names include Prinivil, Zestril, Lasix, Lopressor and Tekturna. Fatigue may result due to the body’s reduced heart rate and depression of the central nervous system. These drugs may also deplete the body of vital nutrients.
Statin Drugs. These medications are used to lower cholesterol levels. Common names include Lipitor, Crestor and Zocor. Statins are shown to inhibit muscle growth as well as the production of energy in cells.
Tranquilizers or benzodiazepines. This medication is commonly used to treat anxiety, depression, insomnia and muscle spasms. Common brand names include Xanax, Valium and Ativan. Increasing doses can promote fatigue and dependence, particularly among the elderly.
Proton pump inhibitors. These drugs are used to treat acid reflux and digestive disorders. A common over-the-counter remedy is Prilosec. Unfortunately, these drugs may deplete magnesium ultimately leading to fatigue. A change in diet can often resolve this issue.
Antidepressants. Common antidepressants include Prozac and Zoloft. These drugs inhibit the normal function of serotonin and norepinephrine, neurotransmitters in the brain.
How to Help
Make a list of all medications, including over-the-counter and natural supplements that your parent is taking. Make an appointment with their primary health care provider or pharmacist to discuss the medications including potential side-effects and interactions. There are often actions that can be taken to limit potentially life-altering side-effects. These include changing the dose, the medication, or the time it is taken.
It may also be possible to institute lifestyle changes and use alternative therapies in place of some medications. As the family caregiver, you are your parent’s advocate. Knowing you have done all that can be done to ensure productive and happy years as they age will provide peace of mind for both you and your parent.
If you or an aging loved one are considering Home Care Services in Plantation FL to provide companionship, compassion and motivation, please contact the caring staff at Responsive Home Care. Call today 954-486-6440.