It might seem as if kidney problems show up overnight and out of nowhere, but there are usually years of silent causes pushing away at the body’s ability to keep the kidneys running. Some of these causes could be making your senior’s kidneys work too hard right now.
Medications Taken Over Long Periods of Time
Some medications cause your senior’s kidneys to work overtime to process them. Diuretics, NSAIDs, and even some antibiotics all take a toll on your elderly family member’s kidneys. That’s not a problem if she’s taking these medications once in a while, but if she’s taking them for longer periods of time to manage other health issues, that can be a problem. Her doctor will likely monitor your senior’s kidney function to keep an eye on this issue.
Dehydration means that your elderly family member isn’t drinking enough water or other hydrating fluids to keep her body functioning properly. This can be a problem for your senior’s kidneys because water helps them to flush waste products out of the body. Without enough water, those waste products build up.
Circulatory System Problems
Heart failure, as well as high or low blood pressure, also have an impact on the kidneys. This happens because as blood flows normally throughout the body it helps everything else to flow and to function, too. So problems with blood flow mean that the kidneys don’t get what they need when they need it.
If your elderly family member has a family history of kidney issues, she is more likely to develop kidney problems herself. Other risk factors, like having a family history of diabetes or cardiovascular issues, also increase the risk of having trouble with the kidneys later. There’s not much you can do about hereditary causes, but being aware matters.
Some of the choices your senior makes on a daily basis make a difference in kidney function, too. Eating too much salt, smoking, and other choices can make your elderly family member’s kidneys work more than they should have to work. Over time, those choices can lead to some bigger problems than your elderly family member realized.
Sometimes kidneys stop working for reasons that doctors don’t yet understand. Regardless of why your elderly family member’s kidneys aren’t functioning properly, it’s vital that she has some help when she needs it. Senior care providers can ensure that she’s eating and drinking when she should and they can take her to dialysis appointments if that’s part of her treatment plan.