130 Growing Older
➤ All these signs can
also be caused by
other diseases. For
more information, see
Where There Is No
Doctor or another
general medical book.
High blood pressure
High blood pressure can cause many problems, like heart
disease, kidney disease, and strokes.
Signs of dangerously high blood pressure:
• frequent headaches
• ringing sound in the ears
If you are visiting a health
worker for any reason, try
to have your blood pressure
checked at the same time.
losing weight, 174
eating for good
leaking urine, 370
squeezing exercise, 371
IMPORTANT High blood pressure at first causes no signs. It
should be lowered before danger signs develop. People who are
overweight or who think they might have high blood pressure should
have their blood pressure checked regularly.
Treatment and prevention:
• Get some exercise every day.
• If you are overweight, try to lose weight.
• Avoid foods with a lot of fat, sugar, or salt.
• If you smoke or chew tobacco, try to stop.
If your blood pressure is very high, you may also need to
Problems passing urine and stool
Many older women have problems with leaking urine or
have difficulty passing stool. They may be too embarrassed to
speak about these problems, especially to a male doctor. So
they suffer alone.
Urine problems are often caused by a weakness in the
muscle inside the vagina. The ‘squeezing exercise’ helps
strengthen this muscle. Also, to help push the stool out during
a bowel movement, a woman can put 2 fingers into her vagina
and push toward her back.
An older woman may also have trouble passing stool
because her intestines work more slowly as she ages. It helps
to drink a lot of liquids, to eat foods with a lot of fiber (like
whole grain breads or vegetables), and to get regular exercise.
Where Women Have No Doctor 2012