Listen to this article
We have all suffered from Indigestion—medically known as dyspepsia—at least once in our lifetime. Needless to say, it is quite uncomfortable and can make us feel fairly uneasy. However, it is even more common with our parents and the elderly.
Indigestion unfortunately, becomes a regular feature of your life as you age. From a sedentary lifestyle to your body becoming too frail, there are a lot of reasons that contribute to it. It might be worrisome to see an older family member in discomfort due to it but don’t worry: it is common and controllable.
We spoke to Dr Bela Sharma, additional director, Internal Medicine, Fortis Memorial Research Institute, Gurugram in order to understand why indigestion is a common phenomena with the elderly and what are the ways to manage it and put them at ease.
While talking about the causes, she mentioned: “When we talk of the elderly we’re looking at an age group above 65 years old. With increasing age, the stomach capacity actually decreases. Hence, even a little bit of overeating can cause discomfort. Along with this, appetite as well as the level of physical activity decreases. These could, over time, cause indigestion.”
She further added that, “Your metabolism slows down with age and the causes of getting indigestion is higher with a low immunity.”
A lot of times, older patients have morbidness such as high blood pressure or diabetes which could make them more susceptible to indigestion. There’s also a chance that the kind of food you could digest before, you can’t anymore.
Hence, it is important to take care of your diet and analyse what kind of food your body is accepting or rejecting. So, there could be a lot of factors causing indigestion that are associated with age.
Dr Sharma suggests a few ways to manage indigestion. Let’s take a look:
1. Small but frequent meals
Since the stomach capacity and metabolism are affected by age, it is important to make sure that you reduce the portion of each meal but increase the regularity. This will make digestion of the food easier and cut the chances of indigestion.
2. Avoid eating out
When you’re eating out, you’re taking a chance with your health. As an older person, you’re more susceptible to infections which could be caused by unsafe hygiene practices. Moreover, you can’t take a chance with the quality of the food which could have too much oil or spice, making it tougher for you to digest.
3. Avoid certain foods
If you are suffering from indigestion, it is important to avoid foods that are hard to digest. Avoiding them will reduce your chances suffering from indigestion, to begin with. These include masalas, fried foods, pizzas, or even meat such as pork or lamb.
4. Keep a close check on your electrolyte balance
Many people tend to avoid salt as they age to keep themselves away from conditions such as high BP. However, avoiding it completely can prove to be harmful. Remember, moderation is the key to everything. So, ensure that you have a decent amount of salt each day and as much water as possible.