Digestive health is important for people of any age. A strong digestive system helps ensure our bodies are able to process good food and benefit from as many of those nutrients as possible. Plus, it makes it easier to enjoy the food we eat and the dining experience, which can enhance social opportunities. Residents at ViewPointe assisted living community can enjoy good food and conversation in our restaurant-style dining room, for example.
Being proactive about your digestion and getting issues checked out before they become bigger can help you continue to enjoy food, company and many other activities. If you're specifically concerned about your digestive health, talk to your primary care physician about your situation and body. Otherwise, here are a few things to keep in mind about digestive health and aging.
Food is moved through our bodies by muscles, but that process can slow down as we age. The more slowly food moves through the body, the more moisture from the food is absorbed. That means less moisture in the digestive track down the line, which can lead to issues with constipation. Seniors can combat this issue by drinking water regularly and getting at least 30 minutes of activity a day. Always talk to your doctor about new activities, and if you're dealing with heart or kidney issues, check with your physician about the appropriate daily fluid intake for your body.
Issues such as irritable bowel syndrome, colon cancer, diverticulitis and GERD can occur in people of all ages, but some are more common in individuals older than 50 or 60. That makes it important to maintain a healthy diet and lifestyle and report any changes in stool, urination or abdominal pain to your health care provider. Many of these conditions can be controlled or more successfully treated when they are caught early enough. Seniors may also want to talk to their doctors about routine screening that is appropriate at various ages.
Some medications can lead to digestive symptoms, including diarrhea, cramps, constipation, nausea and vomiting. Make sure you always speak to the pharmacist about common side effects for new medications so you know what the cause may be if something does happen, and report issues to your doctor immediately so he or she can change your prescription or provide other forms of potential relief.
If you have questions about maintaining your digestive health or simply want some new tips on healthy meal ideas, don't hesitate to reach out to the assisted living community staff.