Healthy Eating for Seniors to Avoid Reflux – GERD Awareness Week
Healthy eating for seniors is a fun project. You get to eat carrots and broccoli. But the difference is that now you are choosing to be healthful, and you are making the healthier food choices. Healthy eating for seniors to avoid reflux takes you one step further.
When you were younger, eating healthy might have been the butt of jokes. Healthy eating was…..well, it was for someone else. Now, in your senior years, you know that healthy eating is a good investment.
The Dividends of Healthy Eating Are Great
Healthy eating for seniors gives:
- Good physical health
- Better mental health
- Emotionally more balanced
- Better stomach and digestion system
- Reduced medical expenditures
- Maintain muscle strength and mass
- Structure in the day through meals
GERD Awareness Week
Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD) is a disease that most people have experienced temporarily. The feeling of heartburn is caused by backing up, or reflux, of stomach acid.
When the happens on a chronic basis, it can be very damaging.
Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease Awareness Week this year is 20-26th November, 2019. It is an opportunity to spread awareness through events and education.
- What is GERD?
- What causes it?
- How can you reduce the symptoms?
- What are the options of treatment?
What Is GERD?
When you eat, the food passes from the mouth, down the throat, down the esophagus pipe to the stomach.
Stomach acid is needed to digest the food. The stomach is designed to safely hold our digesting food.
However, when that acidic liquid mixture backs up, the esophagus is the first place to get hit. The places it hits do not have the special lining and protection.
That is GERD, the continual occurrence of an acidic reflux. The throat and even the teeth can be damaged by GERD.
What Causes It?
Common causes of GERD are:
- Lying down right after eating
- Eating disagreeable foods
- Taking certain prescription medicines
Physiologically, the explanation is that the ‘sphincter’ at the bottom of the esophagus is not working as it should. A ‘sphincter’ is a sort of muscular valve, allowing a bodily hole to open and close when needed. The sphincter at the bottom of the esophagus should allow food in. Generally, it should not allow food or stomach acid back up the esophagus.
How Can You Reduce the Symptoms?
Reducing the symptoms and options of treatment overlap a little.
These ideas for reducing the symptoms, also prevent GERD rearing its acidic head.
Reduce symptoms of GERD through:
- Avoid a meal two or three hours before rest or bed time.
- Do not wear restrictive clothing around the abdomen, such as belts.
- Eat small to moderate sized meals. Stop eating before you feel full.
- Elevate the upper body slightly when sleeping.
- Practice weight control. People who are overweight should safely lose weight.
- Stop smoking.
- Learn about acidic foods and reduce them in your diet.
What Are the Options of Treatment?
If GERD is not treated it can lead to medical unpleasantries and complications.
There are a few different ways to treat GERD:
The first level of treatment is through dietary changes and lifestyle choices.
We touched on dietary changes above. It is really a great topic on its own. Healthy eating for seniors to avoid reflux is largely about making sensible food choices.
Medications are next on the list.
Antacids only help for people who occasionally have GERD symptoms. Taking these regularly can exacerbate the problem. There are drugs that inhibit secretion of acid, ‘Histamine 2’ blockers. There are other drugs that reduce acid production and others that improve activity of the gastrointestinal muscles. Stay in touch with your doctor, to get the most suitable advice for you.
This is a semi-invasive procedure. The physician can rebuild or repair that special sphincter valve. There are different approaches to this continually developing therapy.
GERD Surgery is seen as a successful option.
This is the last stop for many GERD patients. However, some people prefer to evade the whole tablet-taking stage and opt for surgery. Commonly performed laparoscopically (aka keyhole surgery), GERD surgery has a fairly good reputation for solving the digestive problem for once and for all.
In the Alternative…..
The Mayo Clinic has a brief section on alternative options for relief from GERD. They emphasize the importance of attempting any alternative approaches with your doctor’s knowledge.
- Herbal preparations made from licorice or chamomile
- Relaxation, through guided imagery or progressive muscle relaxation exercises
Healthy Eating for Seniors to Avoid Reflux
Avoiding reflux and GERD can happen through more than one approach, not only through healthy eating. If you have GERD there is also more than one way to achieve relief. Healthy eating for seniors to avoid reflux is, however, a sensible first step to avoid GERD and stay healthy all over.
“Could you pass the broccoli, please?”
Photo by Baiq Daling on Unsplash