GERD, or gastroesophageal reflux disorder, is a serious condition that is far worse than heartburn. It’s often mistaken for heartburn, however, and dismissed as something that isn’t that big a deal. In reality, GERD is a persistent condition that often only gets worse over time, especially if it’s ignored. Home care assistance providers can help your elderly family member to keep track of her symptoms as well as what works to help relieve those symptoms and what doesn’t.
Here’s what you, your elderly family member, and their home care assistance aides need to know about GERD and how it can affect her life.
GERD Is a Reflux Disorder
GERD occurs when stomach contents are able to get past the sphincter at the top of the stomach and flow back up the esophagus. The stomach lining is protected from stomach acid by a thick layer of mucus. The esophagus doesn’t have this same protection, making this backflow of stomach contents extremely painful and damaging over time.
Some Health Issues Bring Higher Risk of GERD
Anyone can develop GERD, but some people may be at higher risk of developing this condition. People who are diabetic, overweight, who have asthma, or who take some medications may all be at higher risk of developing GERD. If you’re concerned about your senior’s risk factors, talk with her doctor to determine exactly what she might be facing.
Symptoms of GERD
GERD can start out fairly mild, all things considered. Your senior might notice that she experiences heartburn more often, especially after a large meal. Or she might feel a lump in her throat when she swallows food or experience food getting stuck more often as she is swallowing. Worsening symptoms may be a sign to get evaluated.
Treatments for GERD might start out with over-the-counter antacids or medications that reduce stomach acid production. Prescription medications are another step up in the treatment chain, especially if OTC methods aren’t effective. Remembering to take these medications as prescribed is crucial, and home care providers can offer reminders to keep your senior on schedule. Serious cases may require surgery in order to correct the damage caused by GERD.
Lifestyle Changes and Home Care Assistance Services that Help GERD
Your senior’s doctor is also likely to recommend lifestyle changes to get her GERD under better control. These changes include recommendations for losing weight, quitting smoking, and eating smaller meals more often. A bed wedge can help to elevate your senior’s bed if she experiences GERD symptoms at night. Home care assistance providers can help your elderly family member to have healthy foods available regularly that are less likely to trigger GERD symptoms.
Treating GERD quickly is a good way to help your elderly family member to avoid permanent damage that might require her to have surgery for her health issue. Keeping track of symptoms and how she is feeling really is a powerful tool for your senior and her doctor to have available to them. Enlisting the help of home care assistance providers can make sure that you’re not missing any important data even if you’re not there.