Celiac disease is an autoimmune disorder that affects how the body responds to gluten. While this condition can develop at any age, it’s becoming increasingly common among the elderly. Luckily, seniors who are diagnosed with celiac disease can enjoy long and comfortable lives as long as they make some changes to their dietary habits, which is one of the reasons it’s so important for seniors and their caregivers to keep an eye out for any of the early warning signs.
An Overview of Celiac Disease
Inside a healthy small intestine, there’s a relatively thick layer of tissue that helps the body absorb nutrients. When an individual has celiac disease, eating gluten triggers an immune response that damages that lining. Over time, the lining can become so damaged the body will have a difficult time absorbing certain vitamins and minerals. Even though the symptoms of celiac disease can impact quality of life, seniors should be able to manage this condition as long as they make a few changes to their diets.
Celiac Disease and the Elderly
Celiac disease is diagnosed in people of all ages, but it’s particularly common among older adults. According to the Gastrointestinal Society, the average age of diagnosis is between 40 and 60. Many experts believe this disorder is triggered by life-altering medical events, and limited studies have revealed that sudden changes to the gut biome can result in celiac disease. Some of the most common triggers include invasive intestinal procedures, viral infections, and the use of certain medications. Most medical experts agree around one percent of the senior population has celiac disease.
In Milwaukee, elderly home care agencies can be a great boon to seniors. With the help of the caregivers at Home Care Assistance, your aging loved one can lead a happier and healthier life. We offer a revolutionary program called the Balanced Care Method, which encourages seniors to eat nutritious foods, exercise and socialize regularly, and focus on other lifestyle factors that increase life expectancy.
Signs and Symptoms
Loose or watery stools are one of the first symptoms many seniors experience. Seniors shouldn’t be worried about the occasional gastrointestinal distress, but they need to contact their physicians if they experience diarrhea for more than a few days. Another symptom older adults should keep an eye out for is bloating. After gluten is consumed, the intestines become inflamed, which can lead to bloating or gas. Celiac disease can also lead to subtle symptoms such as chronic fatigue, irritability, insomnia, and mood swings.
Digestive issues can be especially problematic for aging adults. Living with a serious health condition can make it challenging for seniors to age in place. However, they can maintain a higher quality of life with the help of professional live-in care. Milwaukee seniors can benefit from assistance with meal prep, bathing, transportation to the doctor’s office, medication reminders, and much more.
Treating Celiac Disease
Researchers still know very little about the root causes of celiac disease, which makes it somewhat difficult to treat. The most effective way to manage the symptoms of celiac disease is to make sweeping dietary changes. After being diagnosed with celiac disease, seniors should immediately cut all gluten out of their diets. In addition to giving up wheat and rye, they must also avoid most forms of beer. While these changes aren’t going to be easy, gluten-free food products are more prevalent than ever. Most major restaurants even have gluten-free sections on their menus.
Professional caregivers with training in nutrition and healthy habits can be a wonderful source of information and support for seniors who have celiac disease or are trying to prevent it. Not every senior has the same care needs, which means they don’t all need the same type of senior home care. Milwaukee families can rely on Home Care Assistance to provide individualized care plans to meet your elderly loved one’s unique care needs. Our holistic Balanced Care Method was designed to help seniors focus on healthy lifestyle habits such as eating nutritious foods, exercising regularly, and maintaining strong social ties, and our Cognitive Therapeutics Method offers mentally stimulating activities that can stave off cognitive decline and delay the onset of dementia. If your loved one needs professional care, Home Care Assistance is here to help. To hire a compassionate, dedicated caregiver, call us at Milwaukee (414) 964-8000 or Waukesha (262) 782-3383 today.