Before scientific research came out about how bad smoking is for the body, many young people started the habit and have smoked their entire lives. Those people are not elderly Americans and have a lifetime of smoking behind them. Many family caregivers wonder if it’s worth it to work with their aging relative to try to stop smoking.
Studies show that smoking not only causes illness and certain diseases, but it can complicate existing health issues in seniors. Quitting smoking is a worthy goal for every senior, no matter how old they are or how long they’ve been smoking. With a strong support network of family caregivers, friends, doctors and elderly care providers, seniors have a chance at boosting their health and eliminating something that is extremely bad for their health.
Here are a few of the ways that smoking complicates common health issues that many seniors face:
• High blood pressure and heart disease: Smokers have lower amounts of oxygen in their bloodstream, which means the heart has to work harder to send it throughout the body. This results in high blood pressure and significantly increases the risk of developing heart disease. Smokers are also more likely than non-smokers to suffer from a heart attack.
• Respiratory illnesses: Years of smoke inhalation weakens the lungs in many ways, leading to lung disease. But even respiratory illnesses and infections, such as pneumonia, bronchitis and influenza, are much more common in smokers. Lung cancer is another common condition that can develop from smoking.
• Diabetes complications: Most people don’t realize how much smoking can complicate the effects of diabetes. Smoking accelerates many of the symptoms of diabetes, including vision problems, vascular disease, nerve damage and even kidney disease.
• Stroke: People are much more likely to suffer from a stroke if they smoke. Studies also show that for those who have already had one stroke, the likelihood of a second stroke increases greatly.
There is simply no health advantage in smoking, and in fact, the habit can negatively affect someone’s health that they could die from it. Studies show that quitting smoking, even after decades of doing it, has immediate, short-term and long-term health benefits. There’s every reason to quit smoking and no good reason to continue, so family caregivers don’t need to wonder whether it is worth it for their aging relative to quit. Family caregivers must convince their aging loved one to quit smoking, so they can boost their health and minimize complications of other conditions.
If the aging adult desires to quit smoking, they will need support. Family caregivers and elderly care providers can work closely with the doctor’s treatment plan as well as smoking cessation products like gum or patches. If the elderly care provider does the shopping for the senior, they can control how many packs are purchased and assist in controlling access to the cigarettes. There are also many support groups for smokers trying to quit that may also be effective. There’s no downside to quitting smoking, and if they are successful, seniors will enjoy better health and wellness.
If you or an aging loved one are considering Elderly Care in Highland Park, IL, contact the caring staff at Companion Services of America today at (847) 943-3786. Our home care service area includes Northbrook, Highland Park, Deerfield, Glenview, Buffalo Grove, Evanston, Des Plaines, Skokie, Lake Forest, Wilmette and the surrounding areas.
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