May 3, 2016

Continuum HealthcareVitamins and natural supplements are touted as ways to stay healthier as we age, and many people believe that because something is labelled as natural, it must be safe. But that’s not always the case. Some supplements must never be mixed with certain types of medicines, or even each other. And, some types of supplements shouldn’t be taken by people who have certain conditions, like kidney disease. So while we’ve all heard advice from well-meaning friends and family members to take our vitamins, it’s important to proceed with caution if we take prescription or over-the-counter medications.

As people age, they often develop chronic illnesses that require medications. As taking these medicines become routine, it may be easy to forget about possible problems related to the medicines. But some combinations can be deadly, such as the interactions between some blood pressure drugs and supplements such as omega-3 fish oil. According to Dr. Dima Qato, a University of Illinois assistant professor of pharmacy systems, “A medication or supplement may be safe and beneficial when you use it alone, but when you mix it with other medications or supplements, it can be very dangerous.” So, what can you do? Discuss everything you take with your doctors.

Continuum believes providing healthcare providers with a list of all medications we take is crucial, including supplements, so that each physician who treats us is not only aware of what we are taking, but has approved these combinations.

Another healthcare professional who can help you understand how different medications react with each other is your pharmacist. Pharmacists are the medication experts in the healthcare community, and they are often readily available to answer your questions. When you have prescriptions filled or you buy some over-the-counter medicines, ask if there may be interactions with anything else you are taking.

Continuum’s healthcare staff is up to date on the medications our clients take, so if you have any questions about your medicines and any potentially dangerous combinations, the nurses at Continuum can help provide you with the right information or direct you to the right people who can help you. Our trained Continuum’s healthcare staff also offers nursing care and personal services, which include medication set-up, meal planning, transportation assistance, and more.

If you are looking for home care in St. Louis or St. Charles counties, contact Continuum for a free consultation to see what home care services we may provide for you, and for more tips on keeping seniors healthy and safe.