Importance of Preventing Delirium in Hospitalized Older Adults > Health in Aging Blog > Health in Aging
Journal of the American Geriatrics Society Research summary Although fever and respiratory problems are usually the most common symptoms of COVID-19, worrying neurological symptoms also occur in older people. For example, in a study in Wuhan, China, 36% of older COVID patients had neurological complaints, such as dizziness, pain, trouble sleeping and problems with balance. […]

Journal of the American Geriatrics Society Research summary

Although fever and respiratory problems are usually the most common symptoms of COVID-19, worrying neurological symptoms also occur in older people. For example, in a study in Wuhan, China, 36% of older COVID patients had neurological complaints, such as dizziness, pain, trouble sleeping and problems with balance. Eight percent had altered consciousness.

What's more, geriatric experts suggest that advanced age is also a risk factor delirium, a term that means "sudden confusion". Delirium refers to a sudden, rapid change in mental function that goes far beyond the typical forgetfulness of aging. The result of abnormal brain function, delirium requires the attention of a healthcare professional.

Healthcare professionals have seen delirium affect patients hospitalized with infectious diseases, including serious respiratory illnesses. Delirium can mean that a person has suffered from acute brain failure, which could be caused by dehydration, psychoactive medications, or infection. Delirium can increase the length of a senior's hospital stay and cause mobility problems as well as difficulty thinking and making decisions. This can lead older people to need long-term care and increase their risk of death.

In severe cases, COVID-19 causes serious lung problems. When this happens to a person hospitalized with the virus, the patient may need mechanical ventilation to help them breathe, which can lead to delirium.

A recent study showed that 26 of 40 patients with severe COVID-19 infection exhibited signs of delirium. But despite this early evidence, we know little about the effects of delirium on people with COVID-19. A team of geriatric experts from the University of Sao Paulo, Brazil, created a study to learn more about delirium in older people hospitalized with COVID-19. Their study was published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society.

The researchers said their work was part of the ongoing 'CO-FRAIL' study, designed to investigate links between frailty and adverse consequences in patients with COVID-19. The CO-FRAIL study recruited patients from Hospital das Clinicas, a teaching hospital affiliated with the Faculty of Medicine of the University of Sao Paulo. Hospital das Clinicas has become a key center for the treatment of COVID-19 in Sao Paulo, the center of the pandemic in Brazil.

Researchers studied data from 707 people, aged 50 or older, who were admitted to the COVID-19 unit. The researchers said they identified delirium in 33% of the participants, 12% of whom already had symptoms of delirium upon admission to the hospital. Only four percent of the participants were diagnosed with dementia at the start of the study. Among participants with dementia, 73% experienced delirium during their hospital stay. Patients with delirium had a higher prevalence of other diseases, such as cerebrovascular disease, heart failure, and cancer.

Thirty-nine percent of the participants died: 55 percent of those who had delirium and 30 percent of those who did not. Length of hospital stay, number of days in intensive care, and ventilator use were different in the two groups. The delirium group experienced longer stays in hospital and intensive care, and several of them needed ventilators.

Researchers found that one in three patients with COVID-19 suffered from delirium in hospital. They also reported high death rates among participants and verified that delirium was a predictor of hospital death. Delirium was also associated with an increase in the length of hospital stay, admission to the intensive care unit and the need for a ventilator.

In their study, the researchers found consistent evidence that delirium worsens the course of the disease in hospitalized patients with COVID-19. Delirium has been associated with reduced mobility and the ability to function, as well as difficulty in thinking and making decisions. The researchers said, "We hope our findings will encourage healthcare providers and researchers to work together and creatively implement new and effective strategies to manage delirium and its complications."

Researchers concluded that healthcare providers should include mental state assessments when examining middle-aged and older adults with COVID-19. Prompt detection of delirium is essential to ensure proper clinical care and avoid poor outcomes.

This summary is taken from “Delirium and Adverse Outcomes in Hospitalized Patients with COVID-19”. It appears online before printing in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society. The authors of the study are Flavia Barreto Garcez, MD; Marlon Juliano Romero Aliberti, MD, PhD; Paula Cristina Eiras Poco, MD; Marcel Hiratsuka, MD; Silvia of Fatima Takahashi, MD; Venceslau Antonio Coelho, MD; Danute Bareisys Salotto, MD; Marlos Luiz Villela Moreira, MD; Wilson Jacob Filho, MD, PhD; and Thiago J. Avelino Silva, MD, PhD.


What does it mean to age gracefully ? You can’t stand in a checkout line without seeing at least a few magazine headlines about how to look younger. While dreading some wrinkles and sagging isn’t uncommon, there’s so much more to aging well.

Aging gracefully isn’t about trying to look like a 20-something — it’s about living your best life and having the physical and esprit health to enjoy it. Like a bottle of wine, you can get better with age with the right care. Read on to find out what to do and what not to do on your quest to age happily.

Your skin is your body’s largest organTrusted Source. If you treat it with care, it can better protect your body from the elements, regulate your body temperature, and provide sensation. tera keep it looking and functioning at its best : Wear sunscreen and protective clothing when outside. Get yearly skin cancer screenings. Stick to gentle products in your anti-aging skin care routine. Stay hydrated.

Your skin is your body’s largest organTrusted Source. If you treat it with care, it can better protect your body from the elements, regulate your body temperature, and provide sensation. to keep it looking and functioning at its best : Wear sunscreen and protective clothing when outside. Get yearly skin cancer screenings. Stick to gentle products in your anti-aging skin care routine. Stay hydrated.

Regular exercise significantly lowers your risk of diseases, such as heart disease and cancer, and helps you retain your mobility longer. Exercise also lowers stress and improves sleep, skin and bone health, and mood. The Department of Health

Healthy foods are the way to go when it comes to aging gracefully. The Dietary Guidelines for AmericansTrusted Source recommends that you eat : fruits and vegetables, either fresh, frozen, or cannedlean protein, such as fish and beansat least three ounces of whole-grain cereals, breads, rice, or pasta every daythree servings of low-fat or fat-free dairy, such as milk, yogurt or cheese that are fortified with vitamin Dhealthy fatsAvoid using solid fats for cooking and use oils instead. Stay away from processed foods, refined sugars, and unhealthy fats. You should also keep your salt intake to a minimum to keep your blood pressure down.

Being happy and keeping your stress down goes a long way in helping you live and age well. to keep your mood elevated : Spend time with friends and loved ones. Meaningful relationships and a strong social network improve mental and physical well-being and longevity. Don’t forget your furry loved ones as having a pet has been linked to lower stress and blood pressure, reduced loneliness, and better moods. Accept your age. There is evidence that people who maintain a positive attitude about aging live longer and may recover better from a disability. Aging is inevitable and learning to embrace it can make all the difference. Do things you enjoy. Taking the time to engage in activities you enjoy will only mazout your happiness. Spend time in nature, pursue a new hobby, volunteer — whatever brings you joy.

Numerous studiesTrusted Source have linked a sedentary life to an increased risk of chronic illness and early death. Some possibilités to stay réactive are going on walks and hikes, taking vacations, and participating in group exercise classes.

The effects of stress on your body are vast, ranging from premature aging and wrinkles to a higher risk of heart disease. There are a number of proven ways to relieve stress, including : using relaxation techniques, such as meditation, breathing exercises, and yogaexercisinggetting adequate sleeptalking to a friend

Smoking and alcohol have both been shown to cause premature aging and increase the risk of disease. Quitting smoking isn’t easy, but there are resources available to help you quit. Speak to a doctor about how to quit. As for alcohol, limit your intake to the recommendedTrusted Source amount to avoid health risks. That’s one drink per day for women and two drinks per day for men.

Good sleep is important for your physical and esprit health. It also plays a role in your skin’s health. How much sleep you need depends on your age. Adults over 18 should aim for seven to eight hoursTrusted Source of sleep every night. Getting enough sleep has been proven to : lower the risk of heart disease and strokereduce stress and depressionlower the risk of obesityreduce inflammationimprove focus and concentration

Finding new and meaningful hobbies can help you maintain a sense of purpose and keep you engaged throughout the course of your life. Evidence shows that people who engage in hobbies and leisure and social activities are happier, experience less depression, and live longer.

Mindfulness is about acceptance and living in the moment by focusing on the present. Practicing mindfulness has many proven health benefits that can help you age better, including : improved focusbetter memorylower stressimproved emotional reactionrelationship satisfactionincreased immune functioningTo practice mindfulness, try : meditationyogatai chicoloring

Drinking enough water helps keep you regular and improves your energy levels and brain function. Coincidentally, it’s also been provenTrusted Source to help keep skin healthier and reduce signs of aging. How much water you should drink depends on : your thirstyour activity levelhow often you urinate and move your bowelshow much you sweatyour genderSpeak to a doctor if you have questions or concerns about your water intake.

Not taking care of your teeth not only ages your smile, but also puts you at risk for gum disease, which has been linked to heart disease, stroke, and bacterial pneumonia. Along with proper oral care, it’s important to see a dentist regularly. According to the American Dental Association, a dentist can spot signs of nutritional deficiencies, empoisonnement, cancer, and other illnesses, such as diabetes. They recommend brushing twice a day, flossing once a day, and using a mouth rinse.

Seeing a doctor regularly can help the doctor find problems early or even before they start. How often you see a doctor depends on your age, lifestyle, family history, and existing conditions. Ask your doctor how often you should go in for checkups and screening tests as you age. Also, see a doctor anytime you experience concerning symptoms.

Though aging is inevitable, some people find it difficult to deal with the changes that come with getting older. If you’re worried about your health, are having trouble feeling positive about aging, or worry that you’re not aging well it’s important to reach out for help. Talk to someone you trust, such as a family member or close friend. Professional help is also available through a doctor or a counselor.

Aging gracefully is more about being saine and happy than keeping wrinkles at bay. Maintain a saine lifestyle, surround yourself with people you love, and do things that bring you joy. It’s natural to worry about the défis that aging can bring, so don’t hesitate to speak to someone about your concerns.

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