Kidney Health in the Aging: Warning Signs to Watch For

The kidneys and bladder are two main components of the urinary system. This system is directly responsible for excreting wastes out of the body. As a person ages, hardened blood vessels, a decrease in viable kidney tissue, and quantity of agents that remove waste from the bloodstream all become impacted.

Common Signs of Aging

As the urinary system succumbs to the effects of aging, new problems may arise. Bladder control can become difficult as the bladder walls weaken. The bladder may not hold as much urine and require more frequent bathroom trips. An increase in urinary tract infections may also occur. It's important to keep track of the changes and determine what is concerning and what is normal.

Symptoms That Require Medical Care

When a senior is going to the bathroom more often, it may not be concerning. The senior may be drinking more fluids than usual. It could also be a sign of an enlarged prostate. f the bladder still feels full after going to the bathroom, a UTI may be present. A trip to the doctor is important to pinpoint the cause.

Blood in the urine is equally concerning. That can be a sign of an infection in the urinary tract or the kidneys. It can also be a sign of a kidney stone, kidney cancer, or inflammation within the kidneys. Very dark urine is also something to watch for. If the urine is very dark, the senior may not be getting enough to drink.

If a senior experiences pain on the sides or back with a fever or chills, urgent medical attention is needed. This can be a sign of a serious kidney infection. The earlier a doctor is able to diagnose what's going on with the kidneys, the easier treatment will be.

At the Doctor's Office

The doctor will ask for a urine sample to look for blood. Ultrasound or CT scans of the kidneys may be ordered to look for other issues. In some cases, the senior will simply take a round of antibiotics to kill the infection. If renal disease is suspected, dialysis may be needed.

The elderly don't need to fear the need for home care services. Honest, open communication helps ease the transition. Caregivers help ensure seniors eat a healthy diet, stay hydrated, and spend time outside getting exercise. Call a home care agency today to discover rates and services.

If you or an aging loved one are considering home care services in East Lansing, MI, please contact the caring staff at Seniors Helping Seniors of Lansing. Call today: 517-332-9953.