On Saturday, June 20, Health Live @ Seniors Today hosted leading gastroenterologist Dr Prasanna Shah to address issues related to stomach ailments.
Last week, on Health Live @ Seniors Today, leading gastroenterologist Dr Prasanna Shah addressed questions from Seniors Today readers. Amidst the unprecedented pandemic and stepping into the new normal, the Q&A session with on gut health for seniors got attendees a better understanding of digestion, constipation, and how the stomach is an important organ responsible for overall well-being.
Dr Shah also addressed the silent pandemic – Obesity. While hypertension and diabetes contribute to obesity and vice-versa. He points out that slowly we are becoming the most obese nation in the world.
Here are the takeaways from the webinar:
- The process of digestion – Stomach is a small organ situated below the lungs – it is aligned with the heart and is part of the upper body. When someone experiences abdominal uneasiness, they put their hand around the abdomen, that is the abdomen while the stomach is a small organ that is responsible for producing acid and churning the food in puree form to pass through the intestines where the nutrients are absorbed.
- Stomach is an organ that produces acid – It is an organ that produces acid to churn food, when there is an increased amount of acid in the stomach people experience a lot of acid issues. A common term used is acidity, the burning sensation that can flare up from chest bone to the throat. This sensation is also called reflux or stomach burn.
- Know your bowel movement – Having one to two bowel movements every two to three days is constipation. Whereas having a bowel movement once or twice in a day is normal. While passing a stool more than five times is loose motions. It is also important to know whether you are having a spontaneous bowel movement or a forced bowel movement.
- Understanding of the basic terminology – When you visit your doctor using the basic but correct terminology is better than just assuming the stomach problem. Whether its gas, bloating, constipation, acidity, heartburn’s… understand the terminology before using it.
- Google gives too much information – Reading tons of medical conditions on Google is good, it gives a good perspective of the disease. But one has to read between those lines to understand the condition you may be suffering from. A doctor does that reading between the lines, do not try to self-diagnose because things can go horribly wrong. Let the doctor do the job.
- Common causes of bloating – If one eats fast or drinks fast, they are swallowing a lot of air which causes bloating. So, eat and drink slowly. The other cause of bloating is Sibo – small intestine bacterial overgrowth, this causes gas and bloating in the stomach.
- Refluxers and solutions – Fried food, cheese, coffee, garlic, onion, mint, alcohol, smoking – they are common refluxers. If one is experiencing prolonged reflux, cut back on these refluxers for six to eight weeks and then gradually consume them in moderation. The solution to acid reflux would be to have small frequent meals over a large meal.
- Antacid, don’t overdo it – Over the counter antacid is helpful when you consume it in balance. If you consume more of it then it can lead to an antacid failure which can be serious.
- The best probiotic is curd – A probiotic is good bacteria which reduces SIOB in the gut. SIBO, short for Small Intestine Bacterial Overgrowth is bad bacteria which causes gas. Consumption of probiotics will reduce bloating, gas, keep your colon healthy and a good bowel movement.
- Diabetes can affect bowel movement – Diabetes slows down the intestine and this can sometimes affect the movement of the stool even when diabetes is under control.
- Crohn’s disease and Ulcerative Colitis – This is inflammatory bowel diseases. If one is suffering from this, they should strictly avoid drinking milk – milkshakes, ice-creams, kulfi… but you can have dairy products such as curd, cheese, ghee, butter and like. Also, try not to stress because if you do the inflammation will get aggravated.
- Depression can cause stomach problems – Our body has a brain-gut axis, this axis lets the brain to send signals to the stomach. It can respond with pain or loose motion or constipation depending.
- A good diet – Good amount of proteins – 40 to 60 gms, some fibre, mild to moderate amount of carbohydrates, plenty of liquids. If consumption of rice or potatoes – carbs or starch is giving you stomach problems, then you may be intolerant.
- Know what you are eating and what is eating you – When you consume a balanced diet and yet are facing stomach problems, it could be stress or anxiety eating you.
- Erratic food habits – Late night binge-watching and snacking changes the circadian rhythm aka sleep pattern. This can lead to acid reflux, leading to indigestion and other stomach related problems – constipation, irritable stomach, affected concentration while working.
- Waxing Waning Cycle of Obesity – Exercise and diet is crucial when it comes to staying healthy and fit. Bariatric surgery and various other endoscopy procedures can help reduce weight however, you will have to exercise and diet to maintain or continue the weight loss. But if you break, put a pause on dieting and exercising you will go back to a vicious cycle of eating and gaining weight.
- Lack of fibre can lead to diverticular disease – They are small pouches formed in the colonic wall, which develops over a period of time, if there is a lack of fibre. There are be one to many diverticula varying in different sizes.
- Chocolate post-dinner is bad – Cocoa is a refluxer and the sweetener produces a lot of weight. This will cause acid reflux and worsen diabetes or if you are prediabetic you will become diabetic. But to satiate your mind you can have a small piece once or twice in a week.
- An oximeter is essential for seniors – A pulse oximeter is an important tool to have at home especially for seniors. The oximeter will show readings of oxygen saturation in your body. If the reading is 98-100, it is normal but if it starts touching 93-90, get in touch with your doctor as you could be developing a respiratory disease.
Eat small frequent meals, drink around 5-7 glasses of water and walk about 3000-6000 steps in a day. A happy gut is all we need!
View our past webinar here –