Gastro Intestinal Disorders and Aging

Gastro Intestinal Disorders and Aging

Nursing Home Residents Care

Peptic Ulcer Diseases

In a national conference held in May 1999, pharmacists from across the United States revealed that nearly 10 percent of U.S. residents will develop a peptic ulcer gastro-intestinal disorder in the next year. Peptic ulcers include gastric and duodenal ulcers. Although duodenal ulcers are more common in the general population, elderly people tend to have more problems with gastric ulcers. Nursing home residents who use non-steroid anti-inflammatory medications like aspirin and Motrin are more susceptible to peptic ulcers. Also, cigarette smoking increases the chances that a resident will develop a peptic ulcer because smoking stimulates acid and bile reflux, decreases blood flow, and impairs healing.

Gastro-Esophagal Reflux Disease

About 20 percent of U.S. residents experience gastro-esophagal symptoms each week. In gastro-esophageal disease, the stomach's contents flow up through the esophagus due to a relaxation of the lower esophagus - especially after meals. There are several medications that can aggravate these symptoms in elderly nursing home residents. These medications include non-steroid anti-inflammatory drugs, heart/blood pressure drugs, Estrogens, Theophylline (respiratory medicine), Tricyclic antidepressants, and Anti-Parkinson drugs.

What is a Hiatus Hernia?

A hiatus hernia is a condition where a hole in the diaphragm weakens to the point that the upper stomach can move up into the chest cavity. A Hiatus Hernia happens often in the elderly, and may require surgery in extreme cases. According to Jackson Gastroenterology, approximately 60 percent of the population over 60 years old suffer from hiatus hernias, which are grouped in the following three catagories: Types of Hiatus Hernias Sliding Hernias - In a sliding hernia, the herniated portion of stomach slides back and forth. This condition usually produces no apparent problems. Fixed Hernias - In a fixed hernia, the upper part of stomach gets caught in the chest, causing more severe esophagus problems. Complicated Hernias - In complicated hernias, part or all of the stomach gets caught up high in the chest, which can lead to chest pain and breathing problems. Complicated hernias often require surgery. Hernia Symptoms Hernia symptoms include heartburn and regurgitation, where stomach acid refluxes back into the esophagus. In the case of a fixed hernia, the esophagus may bleed from the acid reflux. This can cause anemia. In severe, chronic cases of hernia, scar tissue can cause the esophagus to narrow, making swallowing difficult. Diagnosing Hernias Hernias may be diagnosed in the following manner: Hiatus Hernia - A hiatus hernia must be diagnosed with an X-ray or a gastroscopy, a procedure where a flexible scope is inserted down the throat into the stomach. When diagnosing a hiatus hernia, patients are lightly sedated.

Treatments for Preventing Ulcers

Preventing Gastric Ulcers - Most gastric ulcers can be treated successfully with antibiotics. Preventing Peptic ulcers - Peptic ulcers can be treated with antacids, which are often costly and can lead to taste fatigue. H2 receptor blockers (i.e. cimetridine) is a less costly treatment for peptic ulcers. In more severe cases of peptic ulcers, doctors sometimes recommend proton pump inhibiters such as Prevacid, which is very effective with 8-12 weeks of therapy. However, you must remember that many of these drugs will interact with other drugs. Talk to both your doctor and your pharmacist before taking any medications to prevent ulcers. Tips for Preventing Gastro-Intestinal Disorders Avoid these items to reduce your risk of, and help prevent gastro-intestinal disorders:

  • Cigarettes
  • Caffeine
  • Chocolate
  • Fatty foods
  • Peppermint
  • Alcohol

Spearmint Other ways to avoid gastro-intestinal disorders:

  • Eat small, frequent meals - snack often
  • Stop eating 2-3 hours before bedtime
  • Reduce abdominal pressure by avoiding girdles, tight pants, tight belts, stooping, abdominal exercises and certain kinds of weight lifting
  • Avoid excess weight, which causes abdominal pressure
  • Make sure your head is elevated during sleep. Gravity will help keep stomach acid out of the esophagus while sleeping.

Foods That Cause Gastro-Intestinal Disorders

The following foods can contribute to gastro-intestinal disorders: apples, bananas, pears fatty foods, fried foods, peppermint, caffeine drinks (chocolate has caffeine) alcohol, citrus fruit (juices too), all tomato products, pepper Foods that Help Prevent Gastro-Intestinal Disorders The following foods can help prevent gastro-intestinal disorders: low-fat, high-fiber foods: berries, dates, figs, prunes, beans, broccoli, peas, whole wheat, brown rice, cereals - oatmeal, brans, shredded wheat, nuts.

Commitment to the Health of Elderly Nursing Home Residents

Nursing home lawyer Jeffrey H. Rasansky is committed to improving the health and well being of nursing home residents. While gastro-intestinal disorders are common in elderly nursing home residents, they are sometimes caused by lack of care, neglect, or negligence of nursing home staff. If you feel a loved one has suffered from gastro-intestinal disorders due to the neglect or negligence of their nursing home staff, contact an experienced nursing home lawyer at the Law Offices of Jeff Rasansky. We can help. Jeff Rasansky is licensed to practice before all state courts in Texas, the United States District Courts in the Northern and Eastern Districts of Texas and the Fifth United States Circuit Court of Appeals.

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