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Does Acid Reflux Worsen With Age?

Acid reflux and age

As we grow old, our bodies are not as efficient as they used to be. They become creaky, stiff and, sometimes, even move in the wrong direction. The process of ageing involves a gradual decline of many of our bodily functions. Let’s try and understand whether age has an effect on acid reflux.

Statistics reveal that between 1998 and 2005, the elderly accounted for 50% of all patients diagnosed with Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD) in the U.S.

Out of these 30% were hospitalized with a primary GERD diagnosis (which means they were hospitalized specifically for GERD). So if we were to go by statistics alone, it can be seen that GERD indeed worsens with age.

Research has a different take on this one. According to a 1996 study, age has little to no effect on the amount of stomach acid a person produces. The exceptions are people suffering from atrophic gastritis (chronic inflammation of the stomach mucosa), Helicobacter pylori infection, or if they have been heavy smokers.

However, studies do suggest that:

  • Age reduces the amount of pepsin the stomach produces, making it harder for you to digest proteins.
  • Age reduces the secretion of prostaglandin, a substance that protects the mucosal lining of the stomach

In general, it is believed that ageing leads to various digestive problems, including acid reflux. However, by making certain lifestyle changes, you can ensure your digestive health isn’t affected as you age.

Tips For Improving Digestion As You Age

  • Drink a lot of water. Our bodies need 3 liters of water every day for digestion. While this is true for people of all ages, staying hydrated is surely a good idea as you age.
  • Monitor your intake of fats as they are hard to digest. If you have acid reflux, it is advisable to reduce your fat intake with age to make things easy for your digestive system.
  • Exercise regularly and keep your weight in check. Research has shown that losing 10 to 15 pounds can reduce heartburn by 40%. Even simple exercises, such as cleaning up the yard or going for a walk can help.

To conclude, while age can weaken your digestion, you can deal with it by making simple lifestyle changes.

Sharda Agarwal

Sharda Agarwal

Co-founder, Sepalika. Nutritional Therapy Practitioner (Cert Awaited), Nutritional Therapy Association, USA
Sharda Agarwal is a qualified Functional Nutrition Therapy Practitioner. She first used dietary supplements to overcome a debilitating migraine she suffered for years. Since then she has studied the subjects of nutrition and nutrients extensively. She uses this to manage the health of her family at home and with Sepalika.
Sharda Agarwal

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Medical And General Disclaimer for
This article is intended for informational purposes only. The content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. strongly recommends that you consult a medical practitioner for implementing any of the above. Results may vary from person to person.

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