Move! Breath!

by Lois Etienne on April 20, 2012

in Caregiver Support,Internet,Lifestyle,Senior Health and Safety

Older adults who get infections of any kind – such as urinary, skin, or respiratory tract infections – are nearly three times more likely to be hospitalized for a dangerous blood clot in their deep veins or lungs, University of Michigan Health System research shows. The study comes as the rate of hospitalization for blood clots steadily increases in the United States, with more than 330,000 hospital admissions for this condition a year.

If the infection occurred during a previous hospital or nursing home stay, patients were nearly seven times more likely to be admitted for a blood clot. Those who got the infection at home were nearly three times more likely to be sent to the hospital for a blood clot within 90 days.

Seniors can help themselves by keeping up-to-date with their immunizations and practicing good hygiene such as hand washing. This is particularly important for people who are already at higher risk of blood clots, such as smokers, people who are overweight, and those individuals who are immobile.

As a nurse, I can also tell you that the two most important things ANYONE can do to stop the two most common complications from being sick (pneumonia and blood clots) are breath deep and move! Taking several really deep breaths every hour when you’re sick can help fight pneumonia but moving in general helps with both. Muscle movement is what helps the blood to get back to the heart and not sit around in veins where, if it sits too long, will form a clot. Even if you’re bed bound, pick you legs up and down, move your arms over your head and back…Tai Chi in bed!

Whether you’re a caregiver or just a friend, you can encourage others to breath deep and move when they are not feeling well. It doesn’t have to be intense, just often.

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