Friday, May 23, 2014
Constipation: Older Adult Depression, Mortality (Research, Video 2:39)
Yes, we do need to discuss this. Constipation is a common complaint in the general population, but it is particularly common among older adults having fewer bowel movements or bowel movements difficult to pass. Back in the day, you may recall being asked, “How are your bowels moving?” at the first sign of being ill. That’s probably when you first learned how important bowel movements are in relation to good health. Unfortunately, through the years, many have neglected the diet, fluid intake, and even some medications that keep them regular. One unhealthy side effect of constipation and increased straining can be hemorrhoids, which are experienced by almost half of adults over age 50.
How important is persistent constipation in terms of quality of life and mortality? This constipation study on older adult community dwelling women is significant.
Surveys were given to thousands of women who reported having persistent constipation, transient constipation, or none. Women with persistent constipation had significantly lower scores for quality of life and higher levels of self-reported depression. Mortality rates were increased when comparing women with persistent constipation with those who reported no constipation. Clearly, persistent constipation among older women is associated with very poor health outcomes. Older men can also take heed to these results.
In this video, Dr. John Bjork explains ways to maintain healthy bowel movements and avoid constipation. Advice includes high fiber diet, exercise, plenty of fluids, and more:
Frances Shani Parker, Author
Becoming Dead Right: A Hospice Volunteer in Urban Nursing Homes is available in paperback and e-book editions in America and other countries at online and offline booksellers.