22 February 2021

Why do the elderly suffer from digestive disorders?

Vì sao người già bị rối loạn tiêu hóa?

Along with other diseases, digestive disorders are a condition that occurs at all ages and causes problems for patients. This article deals with digestive disorders in the elderly and why the elderly suffer from digestive disorders.

1. Gastrointestinal disturbances in the elderly

1.1 What is a digestive disorder?

Gastrointestinal disturbances are abnormal contractions of the sphincter muscles of the digestive system, causing abdominal pain in the body and changes in bowel movements. Gastrointestinal disturbances are not dangerous to the level of death, but cause bothersome problems for patients, if not treated early, the disease will also cause some dangerous complications.

1.2 There are various forms of digestive disorders in the elderly

Gastrointestinal disorders in the elderly have many forms, typically:

  • Fatigue, loss of appetite, sometimes lead to skipping meals. More dangerous is that many elderly people suffer from digestive disorders to the point of completely losing their appetite and hunger.

  • The second form of digestive disorders in the elderly is bloating, flatulence, bloating, loose or irregular stools when you go out while eating high-protein or fatty foods. This causes psychological concerns about eating nutritious foods such as meat, fish, milk …
  • In addition, digestive disorders in the elderly can also be frequent constipation, which occurs due to inappropriate diet and habits (eating less vegetables, less water, … ).
Mệt mỏi là một trong những dạng điển hình của rối loạn tiêu hóa ở người già
Fatigue is one of the typical forms of digestive disorders in the elderly

2. Why do the elderly suffer from digestive disorders

There are many causes of digestive disorders in the elderly, below are some of the most common causes:

2.1 Gastrointestinal disturbances due to deterioration of the digestive system over time

In the elderly, along with other organs, the digestive system gradually degrades leading to digestive disorders, manifestations of this condition are:

  • Weak teeth, food is not chewed well
  • Weak esophageal motility makes it difficult to eat dry, hard foods because it is easy to choke.
  • Weak bowel and gastric motility makes it slower and more difficult to digest food. This is the reason why the elderly people with digestive disorders do not feel hungry and lose their appetite.
  • Over time, both the quantity and quality of saliva, bile fluid or intestinal fluid, … are reduced, which is one of the causes of digestive disorders in the elderly.
  • Not only that, the lining in the gastrointestinal tract weakens over time, the blood vessels in the digestive organs of the elderly are often atheroma, making the blood flow to these organs decrease meaning the ability to absorb. The body’s absorption of nutrients is reduced.

2.2 Gastrointestinal disturbances caused by pathologies and effects from a number of other organs

Organs such as the endocrine system, nervous system, and thyroid gland have a great influence on digestive disorders in the elderly. The cause of this problem is impaired organs function, which affects absorption and intestinal motility.

In addition, a number of chronic diseases in the elderly such as heart disease, cirrhosis, lung disease, colon disease, stomach … also cause troubles and pain, making the patient always in a state of fatigue, boredom. eating, constipation, diarrhea, … or in short, digestive disorders.

Rối loạn tiêu hóa gây nên tình trạng chán ăn
Gastrointestinal disturbances cause anorexia

3. Overcoming digestive disorders in the elderly

Gastrointestinal disturbances in the elderly usually will not cause serious complications if it only occurs in a short time from 2-3 days and is treated in a definitive manner. However, if the digestive disorder lasts for too long, in addition to the troublesome pain, the patient also faces many dangerous complications such as respiratory tract infections, urinary diseases, … more Malnutrition caused by digestive disorders also adversely affects the underlying diseases that the elderly are suffering from.

Proactively preventing digestive disorders is considered the best option for the elderly, here are some tips from experts:

  • The elderly should have a reasonable diet to prevent digestive disorders: should eat vegetable oils instead of animal fat, eat a moderate amount of indigestible red meats such as beef, lamb , increase the intake of fruits and vegetables, minimize stimulants such as alcohol, beer, tobacco, coffee, …
  • Note when processing food: for the elderly, food needs to be cooked to the necessary degree of cooking, should not eat raw, salad, … to avoid bloating, gas, causing digestive disorders.
  • Allocate eating time to avoid digestive disorders: should be divided into many small and regular meals daily, should not eat too hard at the same time, nor skip meals when not wanting to eat.
  • When eating, you should limit watching TV or are engrossed in talking, so you should focus to avoid distractions that cause choking or choking.
  • Ensuring the origin and quality of food
  • When there are signs of prolonged digestive disorders, family members should bring parents, grandparents to reputable medical facilities for medical examination and treatment advice.

In addition, gentle movement, daily exercise is a measure that not only helps to limit digestive disorders but also helps to exercise fitness, enhance endurance, and limit many other diseases.

( Nguồn: vinmec)