Maria noticed that her elderly father, Javier, had been taking a lot of heartburn tablets.
When she asked him about it, he said that he thought he just had heartburn but admitted that it was painful. It was often worse if he ate fatty food. Maria convinced him to report his symptoms to his doctor. After some tests, Javier was diagnosed with an ulcer. If your older family member is complaining of frequent heartburn or stomach pain, it may be time to talk to the doctor about whether they might have an ulcer.
Ulcers are sores that affect the inner lining of the stomach and the first part of the small intestine. They are usually caused by an infection with the Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) bacteria. Using too much aspirin or NSAIDs over time can also lead to ulcers.
Some people believe that ulcers are caused by stress or by spicy food. However, the Mayo Clinic says that neither of those things causes ulcers. But, if an older adult has an existing ulcer, stress and spicy foods can cause symptoms to worsen.
Risk Factors for Ulcers
In addition to taking medications that can lead to ulcers, there are other factors that can make your aging relative more susceptible to ulcers or make existing ulcers worse, including:
-Smoking: People who have an H. pylori infection are more likely to get an ulcer if they smoke.
-Drinking Alcohol: Alcohol can lead to ulcers for a couple of reasons. First, it irritates the lining of the stomach and can cause it to break down. It also makes the stomach produce more acid.
-Stress: Stress that is left unchecked can worsen symptoms of stress.
-Spicy Foods: Spicy foods can further irritate the stomach’s lining and increase symptoms.
Symptoms of Ulcers
About 75 percent of people with ulcers don’t experience any symptoms. Among those who do, the number one symptom of ulcers is a burning pain in the abdomen. Other common symptoms include:
- Feeling full.
- An intolerance to fatty foods.
- Sometimes the symptoms are more severe and may include:
- Vomiting and vomiting blood.
- Blood in feces.
- Difficulty breathing.
- Changes in appetite.
- Weight loss.
If your aging relative should develop an ulcer, home care can help them to heal.
The doctor may prescribe medication to treat the ulcer. A home care provider can remind the senior when it is time to take it. Home care providers can also prepare meals that cause less irritation and may support better stomach health.
If you or an aging loved-one are considering a Caregiver in Wilsonville, OR, please contact the caring staff at Integrity In-Home Care.
Call today (503) 660-3755