By J. Manuel Cordova, M. D.
Internal Medicine & Geriatric Specialist
Special Nutritional Concerns: Add Years To Your Life.
Is there a single “Old Age” diet that can help all elderly people live Longer, healthier lives? No, but we can offer some nutrition strategies:
The maladies you accumulate as you age are unique to You. If You have Hypertension (High Blood pressure), you will be advised to avoid salt. People with Diabetes are told to avoid simple sugars and diminish carbohydrate diets.
Although there is little evidence that your need of vitamins change as you age, and supplementation results so important, other nutritional needs do change. For example, there is reason to believe that your requirements for Proteins increase. At the same time, your need for energy may decrease. Thus, if you don’t reduce the calories in your diet, you probably will gain weight. Obesity, in turn, puts you in risk for many ailments such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease. So it is important to work at maintaining proper weight, especially as you age.
Variety and moderation are the keys to a healthful diet, at any age. A balanced diet ensures proper intake of vitamins, minerals, proteins, carbohydrates, and other food elements. Moderation controls calories and is especially important with regard to consumption of alcohol.
Drink plenty of water. Insufficient intake of water is a common cause of constipation, very frequently in elderly, and finally can lead to kidney failure
If you have specific ailments, your physician or a registered dietitian will provide dietary advice tailored to your needs.
These recommendations require changes in lifelong habits or food preferences. Be assured that the self-discipline required is well worth the effort. It may enhance your health and even add years to your life.
Many people define constipation as not having at least one stool per day. This is a simple definition and is not accurate. The range to normal stool patterns varies widely from individual to individual. For one , it may be a bowel movement one to three times a day, and for another it may be only once every 2 or three days. Constipation means a decrease in the frequency of your normal bowel habits. In addition, with constipation, stools often tend to be harder in composition and the act of defecating occasionally may be painful.
Evacuating stools can be difficult, or there is a sense of incomplete emptying of stool from the rectum.
Constipation can be caused by an improper diet, changes in diet, horary zone, dehydration, medications herbs included, or the most important, elderly inactivity. Some times it is a symptom of an underlying disease such as cancer or tumors in colon, glandular disorders or depression. You are not necessarily constipated more frequently as you age.
WHAT CAN BE DONE?
The vast majority of cases of constipation are not serious. If the signs and symptoms described above are of recent onset, see your Physician. He or she will review your particular situation and your dietary habits to see whether they are the cause or causes. Your physician may perform an examination, obtain appropriate laboratory tests, and probably recommended examination of your colon. Continue to be as active as you can. When you feel the urge to go the bathroom, do not delay, holding a bowel movement can foster constipation. Avoid commercial laxatives because over time, they can aggravate your constipation.
Dr J. Manuel Córdova is a Geriatrics Specialist and his medical practice is at Lakeside.
For more information about Lake Chapala visit: www.chapala.com