If you’ve been taking medication for a chronic condition, you might find that once you pass age 65,
it doesn’t work the same way it did when you first started it. You might also start developing side effects from a medication that never gave you problems before.
Why would this happen? The answer is that simple, normal age-related changes in the way your body works can cause medications to be absorbed, distributed, and removed from the body differently.
The following 5 aging-related changes can change the way your medications work:
1. Your Kidney Function Decreases
Kidney function begins to decline at around age 40, and that decline continues at the rate of approximately 1% every year. As a result of decreased kidney function, the medication you take
stays in your body longer, which can lead to an increase in side effects.
2. Your Liver Function Decreases
Similarly, the liver, which metabolizes medications, also decreases in efficiency as you age.
As a result, residual medication remains in the liver, which increases the risk of side effects,
as well as the risk of liver damage.
3. Your Digestive System Slows Down
This slowdown means it takes longer for medicines to be absorbed into your system. Moreover, your stomach produces less digestive acid as you get older, which means it takes longer for some drugs
to become usable by the body. The result of these changes? Your medications may become may be slower to take effect, or they may be less effective altogether.
4. Your Proportion of Body Fat Increases
As people age, the proportion of muscle to shifts in favor of fat. Although your weight might stay the same, the percentage of it that is fat may be greater than it was when you were younger. As a result, medicines that are fat-soluble, meaning that they dissolve in fat, may be absorbed by the extra fat cells, and remain in your body for longer periods of time.
5. Your Body Becomes Less Hydrated
Your body’s cells lose water as you age. As a result, they are less able to dissolve water-soluble medications. As a result, a medication may take longer to be eliminated, increasing its effect.
The result of all these changes are that the risks associated with medications become higher
as you age.
The best way to take charge is to speak with your doctor about any changes you notice.
You may also want to schedule a follow-up visit a few weeks after starting a new medication,
so that your doctor can catch any problem early.
At Tower Lodge Care Center, in Wall, NJ, our caregivers are trained to keep their eye on the medications our residents take, and to monitor any changes in effects or side effects.
It’s just one of the ways we ensure that everyone here with their best possible life.
Or better yet, come see for yourself: contact us at 732-681-1400, or by clicking here.