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The emergency room (ER) is often a place you seek refuge when you need quick, immediate medical attention. As you age, the impetus behind such a visit is likely to change along with your risk factors. The following are the ten most common reasons you as a senior might find yourself visiting your local ER:

  • Urinary Tract Infections: Urinary tract infections (UTI) can cause nausea, agitation, confusion and painful urination. UTIs are often the result of dehydration.
  • Drug Reactions: Most seniors take a good bit of medication. Reactions to these medications can become problematic. Make sure you follow doctor’s orders when taking medications and use tools to stay on top of dosage amounts to prevent possible reactions.
  • Abdominal Pain: Another common reason senior’s visit the ER is abdominal or stomach pain. This is often caused by food poisoning, an infection or virus or digestive issues. Kidney stones are another cause, but not as common.
  • Spinal Problems: Neck and back pain, arthritis and spinal disorders are another common reason seniors visit their local ER.
  • Broken Bones, Accidents, Falls: A loss of bone density or osteoporosis can lead to bone fractures and breaks, and seniors are at a greater risk for this condition. In addition, heat-induced exhaustion, injuries, and car accidents are all common occurrences for seniors. Therefore, broken bones, accidents, falls and the like are all common causes of an ER visits for seniors.
  • Pneumonia: This potentially deadly disease is not to be taken lightly and as such is the reason many seniors make their way into the ER for treatment. Thankfully, there is now a pneumococcal shot that prevents this type of respiratory infection. Even if you get the shot, though, you can still catch various strains of the virus.
  • Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD): COPD, which is another common reason seniors visit the ER, is characterized by bronchitis, emphysema and shortness of breath. Smoking is the main cause of COPD.
  • Chest Pains: Fear of a heart attack or heart disease causes many seniors to visit the ER when they experience chest pains. However, there are other causes of chest pain not related to the heart, including gastrointestinal issues and respiratory infections.
  • Stroke: Symptoms of a stroke is another common reason seniors visit their local ER. Strokes, in general, are painless, but can result in paralysis and/or confusion. Often others around a senior will notice symptoms of a stroke occurring. Getting quick medical care is imperative when it comes to the outcome of a stroke.
  • Heart Disease: Heart disease is feared for good reason as it still remains the leading cause of death in both women and men. It is also a common reason seniors visit the ER. Heart disease is characterized by shortness of breath and chest pains.

Visiting your local ER isn’t something anyone necessarily wants to do. However, getting quick medical attention can be the difference between life and death or disability and recovery in many of the cases listed above. Therefore, as a senior it’s better to be safe than sorry and visit your local ER if you think you might need medical attention.

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