Heartburn is common at many ages, making it feel like the chest or throat is on fire. However, because of changes in the digestive system that come with getting older, seniors may be more likely to get heartburn. Seniors with heartburn need a comprehensive plan that includes making changes to their food and lifestyle and being careful with supplements and medications. With the help of loved ones and home care, they can take steps to prevent heartburn and feel better.
Understanding Heartburn in Older People
Before talking about how to treat and avoid heartburn, it’s important to know why older people are more likely to get it:
Lower Esophageal Sphincter (LES) Weakness: The LES is a ring of muscles that separates the esophagus from the stomach. With age, it gets weaker, letting stomach acid flow back into the esophagus and raising the risk of heartburn.
Slower Digestion: Older people often digest food more slowly, which can make food stay in the stomach for longer. This makes acid reflux more likely.
Medication Use: Seniors are more likely to take medications that can hurt the esophagus or make the stomach make more acid, like NSAIDs or some blood pressure medicines.
In addition, being overweight can also put pressure on the stomach and increase incidences of heartburn.
Heartburn Tips For Seniors
The home care team can encourage tips to help seniors manage and even prevent their heartburn. In addition, encouraging them to talk with their medical team to ensure medications aren’t the culprit or getting a prescription can also help. Consider the following changes to explore with seniors.
- Raising the head of the bed by 6 to 8 inches can help ease heartburn symptoms at night.
- To ease pressure on the stomach, seniors should try to stay at a healthy weight.
- Lemons, tomatoes, spicy foods, and wine are just a few examples of foods and drinks that can cause heartburn. Seniors should figure out what sets them off and limit how much they drink.
- Encourage seniors to eat smaller, healthier meals throughout the day instead of big, heavy ones.
- Chewing food properly helps the body digest it and lowers the risk of getting indigestion and heartburn.
- Eating at least two to three hours before bed can help lower the risk of getting heartburn at night.
- As mentioned, seniors should talk to their doctor about their medicines because some of them may make heartburn worse.
- Pay attention to supplements. Iron or potassium supplements, for example, can irritate the lining of the gut and make heartburn worse.
- Taking antacids like Tums or Maalox for a short time can help. On the other hand, adults shouldn’t use them too often because long-term use may cause side effects like diarrhea or constipation.
Helping seniors deal with heartburn requires a multifaceted approach that includes making changes to their food and lifestyle, as well as giving supplements and medications careful thought. Seniors should work closely with their doctors to make a personalized plan that meets their unique needs and lowers their risk of making their heartburn worse. Seniors can feel better and have a better quality of life by using these tips and being aware of things that might set off their symptoms. With the help of loved ones and home care, they can feel better and have a better outlook.
If you or an aging loved one are considering home care in Lynwood, CA please contact the caring staff at Alpha Care today. Call 888-740-7023
Alpha Care is a Trusted Home Care Agency serving Santa Monica, Los Angeles, Palos Verdes, Culver City, Hollywood, Beverly Hills, Lynwood, Rolling Hills, Malibu, Glendale, and the surrounding areas.
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