Prescribing anticoagulant therapy for atrial fibrillation (atrial fibrillation) to patients over 75 years of age promotes slower blood clotting and prevents the formation of blood clots, but at the same time, the most common side effect of these drugs is bleeding, which can be very severe if you fall or get hurt, stated the expert. These patients may bruise more often than usual and have a harder time stopping bleeding.
However, the high risk of bleeding due to falls is not a reason to refuse anticoagulant therapy. According to Yulia Kotovskaya, preventive measures such as vision and hearing correction, prevention of orthostatic hypotension, physical training, organizing a safe home, comfortable orthopedic shoes, and taking vitamin D will help avoid falls, which can lead to dangerous bleeding and death.
To prevent injuries in elderly patients from resulting in disability or death, it is important to modify the risk of frailty. This can be achieved by regular, feasible physical activity, proper nutrition, quitting smoking, and reducing alcohol consumption. Smoking has the greatest influence on the development of both asthenia and heart failure. Older smokers are much more likely to suffer from diseases such as myocardial infarction.
Quitting smoking would make it possible to make a qualitative breakthrough in the treatment of cardiovascular diseases, says Yulia Kotovskaya. But it is often impossible to convince an elderly patient to quit smoking.
The American College of Cardiology’s recommendations for patients who would continue smoking anyway include discussing switching to reduced-risk products, such as heated tobacco systems, with the patient.
“Electronic means of heating tobacco can be considered as a transitional option for quitting smoking for various groups of patients, including elderly patients, since the main harm is associated with combustion products,” noted Yulia Kotovskaya. — This is the so-called “bridge therapy.”
According to her, the task of doctors should include managing the factors that reduce the quality of life of elderly patients and threaten the loss of their autonomy. This can be ensured through continuity of care and monitoring of the patient, timely identification of his predominant pathology requiring correction, and correct assessment of the need for specific therapeutic procedures.
Partner material: PMI Science