How Do Calcium Supplements Affect a Senior’s Heart Health?

By Keith Davis, 9:00 am on November 14, 2016

Calcium-rich foods have long been thought to be healthy for people over 65. However, studies have revealed taking calcium as a supplement may have less desirable results. Green Valley live-in care experts discuss some of the potential dangers of calcium supplements and how they can affect a senior’s heart health.
Calcium is a mineral that helps people maintain strong and healthy bones. Elderly individuals often take calcium supplements to manage common problems such as arthritis and osteoporosis. However, calcium supplements can create some serious side effects in the cardiovascular system. According to a recent study performed by the John Hopkins School of Medicine, such supplements can directly lead to the accumulation of plaque in the blood vessels. Additionally, excessive plaque can cause other heart-related complications like strokes and heart attacks.

The experts at the John Hopkins School of Medicine spent more than a decade analyzing the effects of calcium supplements on over 2,700 adults. Many of the participants were seniors who routinely took dietary supplements with various minerals, vitamins, and other nutrients. The researchers confidently determined calcium supplements cause more harm to the body than good. More specifically, elderly individuals are at a very high risk of developing heart conditions directly related to calcium deposits in the bloodstream. An aging body cannot efficiently process, transport, and store calcium. For example, people with kidney conditions tend to have difficulty eliminating excessive calcium through urination. If calcium is not released from the body promptly, it builds up in the arteries.

Many medical professionals and dietitians encourage seniors to limit or even eliminate the calcium supplements they take. An alternative to supplements is getting this essential mineral from healthy food that is readily available in local supermarkets. For example, a salad with leafy greens is packed with a safe concentration of calcium and other nutrients like potassium. Legumes and seafood should also be integrated into a senior’s daily meals. Of course, dairy products like yogurt and cheese also contain a lot of calcium and other important nutrients like protein. Your elderly loved one should speak with a doctor before taking any supplements or making any major changes to his or her diet.
If your loved one needs help maintaining a nutritious diet, reach out to Green Valley Home Care Assistance. Our caregivers can help with cooking and grocery shopping, and they are also trained to use our revolutionary Balanced Care Method (BCM), a program that encourages seniors to eat well, exercise more often, and focus on various other lifestyle factors that promote longevity. For more information on BCM and the senior home care Green Valley, AZ, families trust, call one of our experienced Care Managers at 520-625-2050 to request a free in-home consultation.

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