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Tuesday, Dec. 13, 2022

The Healthy Geezer

Senior health and safety

Q. I get low blood pressure after I eat a meal. It makes me a little woozy. What can I do about it?

This is a senior malady called “postprandial hypotension.” When you eat, blood pours into your digestive system. To maintain your blood pressure, your heart pumps more often, and your blood vessels constrict. But these compensatory mechanisms don’t work for some people.

To help prevent postprandial hypotension, eat small portions several times a day and limit highcarbohydrate foods such as potatoes, rice, pasta and bread.

In many instances, low blood pressure isn’t serious. However, seeing your doctor if you have hypotension symptoms is important because they can sometimes point to serious problems. Chronic low blood pressure may increase the risk of Alzheimer’s-type dementia in some older adults.

Q. I am a senior who is afraid that my infirmities make me a target for dogs. Am I being paranoid? What should I do when confronted by a dog?

Seniors are bitten by dogs more than any other group except children. Older people are more prone to being bitten by an aggressive dog because they tend to be slower and weaker than younger adults.

Here are some tips from the experts on how to avoid being attacked by a dog:

• Don’t look a dog straight in the eye: This is provocative.

• Do not run away from or past a dog: This can make them aggressive and want to chase you.

• Never go up to a dog you don’t know and try to get friendly, especially if the dog is behind a fence, tethered or in a parked car.

• If an unfamiliar dog comes up to you, stand still. Most of the time, the dog sniffs you and then walks away.

• Never bother a dog that is eating or sleeping.

And stay away from a mother tending to her litter.

• If a dog threatens you, don’t yell. Respond calmly. In a commanding voice, tell the dog to go away. Try to stay still until the dog leaves, or back away slowly.

• If you are attacked, give the dog an object, such as a jacket or tote, to bite. If you are knocked down, roll yourself into a ball and lie still. Cover your head and face with your hands.

Fred Cicetti is a freelance writer who specializes in health. He has been writing professionally since 1963. Before he began freelancing, he was a reporter and columnist for three daily newspapers in New Jersey. If you would like to ask a question, write to fred@healthygeezer.com.


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