Quan’s elderly mother was receiving treatment for diabetes. During a routine checkup, her doctor mentioned how much better her health could be if she would stop smoking. She outlined all the health problems with diabetes that smoking exacerbated. Quan didn’t realize how much smoking contributed to complications from diabetes and asked for more information for his mother.
Quan learned that smoking dramatically increased the risk of complications such as kidney disease, nerve damage, foot problems, and retinopathy.
When Quan questioned whether it was too late for his elderly mother to gain any health benefits by quitting smoking, the doctor assured him that the short-and long-term health benefits were certainly worth it. She said that no matter the age, everyone benefits from quitting smoking.
Many family caregivers recognize how unhealthy it is for their aging relatives to smoke. However, they often don’t address the issue because they believe that their loved one is simply too old to change their ways now. They may also believe that the damage is already done, health-wise, and there are no real benefits to quitting. However, it’s never too late for someone to quit smoking. Studies also show some dramatic health benefits that start as early as 24 hours after the last cigarette.
Smoking and Seniors
While overall smoking rates are in decline in recent decades, there are still millions of seniors that indulge in the habit. Around 10 percent of all Americans over the age of 65 smoke. Of course, smoking is linked to numerous diseases like lung cancer and emphysema, making it a dangerous habit for any age. However, research also shows that smoking aggravates many other health conditions especially prevalent in elderly adults.
For example, smoking weakens the lungs, making them more susceptible to contracting influenza and pneumonia. Seniors who smoke are also at a higher risk for diabetes-related complications like retinopathy, kidney disease, and nerve damage. Other diseases or conditions such as macular degeneration, broken bones, heart disease, and strokes are made worse by smoking. Most doctors will advise their senior patients to stop smoking for their own health and wellness.
Short- and Long-Term Effects of Quitting
Within just a few hours of quitting smoking, the body starts to repair itself. A person’s blood pressure goes down and they start taking in more oxygen into the bloodstream. Nerves start to heal and many people notice better taste and smell after a few days. In a few weeks, an elderly adult’s skin and hair are healthier and the toxins are getting flushed out of the body. Within a year, a person’s risk of heart attack or stroke drops in half. These are just a few of the benefits that quitting smoking brings to seniors.
Family caregivers can play a big role in their elderly relative’s ability to quit smoking. It is much harder for a senior to do it than a younger person. However, with a treatment plan set up by a doctor, medicine and lots of support, an elderly adult with a lifetime of smoking can go smoke-free. It’s never too late to reap the benefits of quitting smoking once and for all.
If you or an aging loved one is considering Senior Care in Fort Belvoir, VA, contact the caring staff at Access Home Care Inc. Proudly Serving Northern Virginia and Surroundings for over 12 years. Call Us: (703) 765-9350
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