A number of health conditions become a little more common as we get older. We’re more likely to experience spinal disc issues or joint pain when we’re older, but there are also some gastrointestinal conditions that become more common in your 50s, 60s and beyond. In today’s blog, we take a closer look at five gastrointestinal conditions that become more common as you get older, and what you should do if you suspect you’re dealing with any of them.
GI Conditions That Become More Common with Age
Here’s a look at five gastrointestinal conditions that tend to become more common as you get older:
- Constipation – While it isn’t the most serious condition on this list, constipation can become more common as you get older because the muscular activity that pushes food through our digestive system can slow as we age. When this happens, food stays in our digestive tract longer, meaning more water can be removed from the waste. Less water in our waste product can make them harder, making them more difficult to pass. Becoming less active can also lead to constipation, and older adults may not be as active as they were in their youth.
- Diverticulosis – Diverticulosis is an issue that occurs when the small pouches that line the colon end up bulging out in weak spots in your intestinal wall. These pockets can cause mild symptoms like gas, bloating or cramps or more intense symptoms like pain, vomiting and fever if they become inflamed. Medications and dietary adjustments can help to relieve these symptoms.
- Colon Cancer – We’ve written about colon cancer on the blog on numerous occasions in the past, and it’s important that you head to a specialist’s office for your regular colon cancer screening. Colon cancer treatment is much more effective when the condition is caught at an early stage, and it primarily affects people over the age of 45, so consider scheduling your next colonoscopy with Dr. Bhatti if you’re due for a screening.
- Acid Reflux/GERD – Acid reflux and gastrointestinal reflux disease can develop at any age, but it tends to be much more common in older adults. Oftentimes it is caused by a weakening of the esophageal sphincter, which helps to keep stomach acid from making its way back up into the esophageal canal. If acid does make its way up into your esophageal canal, it can damage the sensitive tissues and lead to other conditions, including cancer. A GI specialist can help strengthen the esophageal sphincter or reduce the potency of your stomach acid, depending on your needs.
- Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease – Overweight or obese adults with a high triglyceride count could be at risk for non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, a condition where fatty can accumulate in the liver and lead to scarring of the liver tissue. It can eventually lead to liver cancer or liver failure. It tends to be slow developing, so talking with a specialist and learning more about your risks can help catch and reverse the condition before more serious problems develop.
For more information about any of these issues, or to talk to a GI specialist about another gastrointestinal condition, reach out to Dr. Bhatti and the team at Bhatti GI Consultants today.