How Our Bodies Change As We Age
Getting older is characterized by undergoing a series of biological, psychological and social changes. As we get older, the very units of life, our cells, generally start to slow their metabolic processes. This happens for two reasons: firstly as we are exposed to environmental factors that can cause damage to our DNA, our cells become less efficient at producing the molecules of life. Secondly, there are actually inbuilt mechanisms in our DNA that slow down our cellular chemical reactions on purpose. It’s the same idea as to why we stop growing after adolescence.
When it comes to the health of the gastrointestinal tract, these changes can affect the regularity of the bowel. The slowing down of the muscles and the cells which secrete the relevant substances, causes the emptying of the colon to be a bit slower and less efficient in some individuals. This can lead to discomfort and a variety of complications.
There are a number of ways to support the body’s health to reduce the adverse effects of this process, and these will be discussed in this article. These interventions include starting with natural lifestyle changes, including changes to the diet and, when necessary, using natural remedies and pharmaceutical ones if the problem becomes severe. Authority Reports is a website that is contributed to by experts, which contains information on many of your health needs. Find out more about Authority Reports here.
The Importance Of Keeping Regular
It is important to maintain bowel regularity because the function of the bowel is to remove waste products from the body. Going to the bathroom regularly removes these waste products and prevents them from building up and causing health complications. One of the major complications that arises is damage to the colon or rectum from straining during bowel movements. This can lead to hemorrhoids and fissures that are detrimental to your health. Damage to the gastrointestinal tract can cause inflammation, which just makes the symptoms worse. It can also cause reduced absorption of the very important nutrients that a person (especially an older one) needs in order to live a healthy life.
Aside from that, it can also cause bloating and abdominal discomfort. This can have detrimental effects on the quality of life and reduce the enjoyment of certain activities. Constantly feeling bloated and uncomfortable can generally lead one to feel quite miserable.
How Do I Know If I’m Keeping Regular?
Ideally, a person should have at least one bowel movement per day and generally around the same time each day. This is not a necessity, especially in older persons where mobility in the intestine is reduced. Constipation is defined as having less than three bowel movements per week. It can also be defined as having to strain when visiting the bathroom or having a hard stool, a feeling of incomplete evacuation or simply the lack of an urge to visit the bathroom.
One scientific study found that 50% of people aged 65 and above reported experiencing constipation in their lives, so it is important to watch out for these factors and address them as soon as possible.
Ways To Stay Regular
The first place to start is your diet. You may need to increase levels of fiber in your diet to bulk the stool and help it move along. Foods that include high amounts of fiber are bran, whole grain oats and apples. These foods should be eaten every day to help maintain regularity.
The second thing to address is the amount of water you drink. There is a lot of water reabsorption that occurs in the colon, and if you don’t drink enough it can cause the stool to harden which makes it more difficult to pass. Drinking water is also great for general health maintenance.
Another thing you should do is exercise. This may sound like strange advice for an elderly person, but there is strong evidence that suggests exercise is highly advantageous for older people. Of course, it is unreasonable to advise running a marathon or high intensity exercise like boxing, but if you can do these there’s nothing to say you shouldn’t.
Otherwise, just walking around a lot can be sufficient exercise. Other great ideas are water aerobics, yoga and chair workouts. The movement helps to change the angles in the colon which can improve its mobility.