An Argument Against Preventative Health Care For the Elderly

2013-07-12 | |
Last updated: 2014-11-25

Prevention Information Can Be Inappropriate For Seniors

This method has proven extremely useful among younger populations, whose mortality rates have a higher chance of being affected by a single disease. However, the number of patients who need treatment is not predicted very well for chronic conditions. As far as the elderly are concerned, their mortality rate is usually affected by more than one condition, and their risk of death is usually higher because they have exceeded the average lifespan. This means that the effect of an intervention for a certain disease is apparent but the chances of overall survival do not really increase.

An example of this relates to the evidence supporting lipid lowering treatments for elderly people. Lipids are fats in the blood that contribute to heart disease in a manner similar to high cholesterol.
Currently, much of the the evidence supporting the theory is gathered from younger populations yet applied to the elderly. While there is no age limit when it comes to evaluating the risk of cardiovascular diseases, using inappropriate information is not helpful. With the average age increasing, the evidence regarding the effects of using drug treatments for preventing heart diseases seems insufficient for seniors.

One of the largest studies ever held was for a medication named pravastatin and was conducted with the help of over 5000 subjects between 70 and 82 years, who were supervised for three years. The study did not manage to reveal any information about the placebo effect in elderly women, and although there was a change in cardiovascular effects, the overall risk of deaht caused by combinations of diseases remained unaffected. This suggests that death from other causes experienced an increase.

Another interesting finding from the study was that the rates of death and cancer diagnosis were lower among those receiving a placebo than for individuals receiving treatment. In order to figure out whether the drug pravastatin had the ability to cause cancer, specialists did some further analyses and discovered that there was no difference between the placebo and using in the mecication. However, there were some voices which did not agree with their discovery.

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Category: Disease Prevention, General Health, Healthcare Politics, Medical Treatment

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