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Q. My grandmother is 98 years old and has head reeling often. What may be the possible reason?

Answered by
Dr. Bharat Udey
and medically reviewed by iCliniq medical review team.
This is a premium question & answer published on Aug 11, 2015 and last reviewed on: Jan 24, 2019

Hello doctor,

My grandmother is 98 years old. Of late, she is complaining of head reeling often. She does not have high blood pressure or diabetes and her haemoglobin is normal. She has roti in the morning, rice and dal for lunch and roti for dinner. Her bowel movements are normal. What may be the possible reason and line of treatment?

Dr. Bharat Udey

Geriatrics Psychiatry Sexology Sleep Medicine


Welcome to

It is good to see your concern about your grandmother. But one thing you have to keep in mind always is that she belongs to a very fragile age group. Just like the young ones, old people also need special care.

A most common condition in this age group is malnutrition, which occurs due to poor diet. This adds to every other risk factor which can develop in this age group. As per the reports (attachment removed to protect patient identity), there are no abnormalities yet, which is good. However, there can always be some underlying protein deficiency in this age group.

Also, I would suggest you get her serum electrolytes, liver function profile, ECG and cardiac profile done. Increase the protein content in the diet, you can give egg white as well. Try to divide meals into 5 parts rather than the usual 3 meals a day.

For her headache, I would say, in this age, there could be many reasons for headache such as reduced vision, refractory errors, glaucoma, anemia, respiratory conditions, etc. Hence you have to get a detailed assessment done to rule out every cause. For symptomatic improvement, you can give her NSAIDS such as Naproxen, Paracetamol when needed, but avoid repeated usage.

Maintain her hydration, nutrition with high protein content. Once the assessment has been done, it is better to start with some medications, as in this age one should always be cautious.

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Thank you doctor,

Today she had neck pain and hence suspecting spinal problem, we consulted an orthopaedic surgeon. On the x-ray it was detected to be cervical spondylitis due to initial nutritional deficiency. What diet should we follow for her?

Dr. Bharat Udey

Geriatrics Psychiatry Sexology Sleep Medicine


Welcome back to

Chronic malnutrition can lead to bone depletion which can lead to fractures. Hence it is important that an adequate diet is to be maintained. Also in this age, caution has to be taken regarding any falls/ injury.

I would suggest the following:

  1. High protein diet.
  2. Adequate calcium in the form of supplements such as milk/ milk products.
  3. Vitamin D supplements in order to improve calcium metabolism.
  4. Adequate support and rest have to be taken.
  5. Avoid vigorous activities at this age.
  6. For pain, NSAIDs can be given when needed.

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