Dr. Roach: Organ donation remains generous at any age | To your good health


Dear Dr. Roach • I am an 86 year old female and my sister is 91 years old. We are both healthy, with normal health issues for people our age. My question is that we both have contracts with crematorium companies, but we also intend to be organ donors. Are they really going to use organs from people our age? We both have health problems. How should we deal with this if our organs are useful? – GS

Reply • I honor your desire to help others after you are gone. We need more organ donors. Yes, people of any age can be organ donors (liver donors are over 90), and doctors will assess which organs might be usable. Funeral homes are very experienced in working with organ donors. It would be wise to register with your local organ transplant program (start at www.organdonor.gov) as well as discuss your wishes with the funeral director you have contracted with., if you haven’t already.

Dear Dr. Roach • Much has been written about the dangers of high blood pressure – “the silent killer” – but very little about low blood pressure. Low blood pressure is not silent. It can make life miserable. Is there a safe way to increase your BP? – A.

Reply • Doctors may not seem to care as much about low as high blood pressure readings, in part because healthy people with low blood pressure have a lower risk of heart disease. However, there are many medical conditions where low blood pressure is a cause for great concern – sepsis in particular is extremely dangerous when accompanied by a person’s lower than normal blood pressure. Heart failure with low blood pressure is of concern. I’m going to assume you mean low blood pressure that has been persistent and not as a result of some other medical illness.

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