Do Aging Adults Have a Risk of Developing Celiac Disease?

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Celiac disease is a genetic autoimmune condition that seniors are at risk of developing. Even though adults may have tested negative for the disease in the past, they can still be diagnosed with the condition later on. Learn about factors that increase an older adult’s risk of celiac disease and what can be done to prevent its development.

Risk Factors

Although celiac disease can affect anyone, the risk is higher for someone with a family history of the disease or other conditions such as dermatitis herpetiformis. Adults who have rheumatoid arthritis and diabetes are also at a higher risk of developing celiac disease in the senior years. Following a healthy diet full of gluten-free products is the best way for the elderly to prevent this disease from developing. The gluten in foods can damage tiny hairlike villi in the small intestines, preventing seniors from getting the nutrients they need.

Symptoms

A large number of seniors who are living with celiac disease display symptoms that aren’t related to the digestive system, so they’re unaware they’ve developed the genetic autoimmune disorder. For example, your elderly loved one could experience bone loss or conditions such as osteoporosis and think that’s his or her only problem. However, reduced bone density and softening of the bones could also be due to celiac disease. Learn more about the symptoms associated with this disease, and take your loved one for testing if the symptoms continue. 

Some of the most common warning signs of celiac disease are:

  • Sudden weight loss
  • Fatigue
  • Diarrhea
  • Nausea
  • Constipation
  • Abdominal pain
  • Headaches
  • Mouth ulcers
  • Blistering or itchy skin 

In West Hartford, 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.

Prevention

Eating gluten-free products is the best way to reduce the risk of celiac disease. Research your loved one’s medications as well. Some medicines contain gluten and damage the intestines. Although the prescriptions treat one condition, such as diabetes, the drugs could absorb vitamins and minerals your loved one eats, increasing the risk of developing celiac disease. If you think the medications are causing problems for your loved one, speak with his or her primary care physician about alternative gluten-free treatment. 

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. West Hartford seniors can benefit from assistance with meal prep, bathing, transportation to the doctor’s office, medication reminders, and much more.

Consequences

If your loved one develops celiac disease, seek treatment immediately. Failing to treat the condition can cause other serious health issues, such as malnutrition, cancer, lactose intolerance, and neurological disorders. Since many seniors are living with celiac disease and don’t know it, they should follow a gluten-free diet whether they have symptoms or not. Following a healthy diet can alleviate symptoms, heal existing intestinal problems, and reduce the risk of further damage. Seniors should also speak with specialists to receive essential tips, such as therapy or dietary supplement recommendations.

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 care. West Hartford 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. Call us today at (860) 372.4500 to learn about our high-quality in-home care services.