What Seniors Should Know About Herbal Medicines | Lifestyles
A lifelong commitment to a healthy lifestyle can improve life expectancy and quality of life while reducing a person’s risk for various ailments and diseases, including cancer and heart disease.
Healthy lifestyle choices, such as a nutritious diet and regular exercise, can significantly reduce a person’s risk for various illnesses, but such choices do not completely eliminate that risk. As a result, even health-conscious men and women may need to resort to medication to stay healthy. This is especially true for older people, as age is a risk factor for various conditions.
A 2014 review in the Archives of Gerontology and Geriatrics looked at nearly 1,300 published articles on the use of herbal supplements by elderly patients. Although only 16 of these articles met the researchers’ criteria, the analysis concluded that the use of herbal supplements is common in elderly patients, as is the lack of dialogue about these supplements among health professionals. health and the elderly. A concerted effort to initiate such a dialogue on the part of patients and healthcare providers can help shed light on herbal medicines so that those who take them, including the elderly, can know. more about what they put in their body.
What are herbal medicines?
The UK’s National Health Service, a widely respected and publicly funded healthcare system, describes herbal medicines as those with active ingredients made from parts of plants such as leaves, roots or plants. flowers. Since herbal remedies are made from parts of plants, many people believe that it is safe to take without consulting a doctor. However, the NHS is urging people to treat herbal medicines with the same care and respect as they would with more conventional medicines. Herbal remedies can affect the body in a number of ways. A frank discussion with a doctor can shed light on the potential side effects of herbal medicines and whether or not they are safe.
Why should older people care about herbal remedies?
The NHS notes that older people taking other medicines may have problems if they start taking herbal medicines as well. The National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health, part of the US Department of Health and Human Services, notes that more well-designed studies are needed to fully assess the interactions between herbal and prescription drugs. However, the NCCIH notes that some evidence points to harmful effects of mixing the two. For example, the NCCIH reports that prolonged exposure to concentrated garlic extracts may reduce the effectiveness of certain drugs. The potential of these types of interactions should be enough to make older people think twice before taking herbal medications without consulting their doctor first. In addition, the NHS has developed a list of various types of people for whom herbal medicines may not be suitable, and that list includes the elderly.
Seniors who are considering herbal medications should discuss the pros and cons of these products with their doctor before taking anything.