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Assignment: Lifestyle or Medication

HCA 240 31 August 2011

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Lifestyle or Medication The digestive system functions fairly well in healthy elderly people, despite normal agerelated changes like thinning mucosa and decreased muscle motility. However, some diseases occur with greater frequency with increasing age and thus significantly impact elderly populations (Zelman, Tompary, Raymond, Holdaway, Mulvihill, 2010). Diverticulitis is swelling (inflammation) of an abnormal pouch (diverticulum) in the intestinal wall. These pouches are usually found in the large intestine (colon). The presence of the pouches themselves is called diverticulosis. Diverticulitis is caused by inflammation, or (sometimes) a small tear in a diverticulum. If the tear is large, stool in the colon can spill into the abdominal cavity, causing an infection (abscess) or inflammation in the abdomen (“Diverticulitis,” 2005). Cramping and pain in lower abdomen are symptoms of the disease. People with diverticulitis may have few symptoms or painful spasms in the lower abdomen. Some people have abdominal cramping, bloating, gas, or irregular bowel habits. Other possible symptoms include low-grade fever, nausea, vomiting, constipation, diarrhea, and difficulty urinating. Diverticulitis is potentially serious because it can lead to tears or holes in the bowel wall. This can lead to an abscess, peritonitis (inflammation of the lining of the abdomen), or blood poisoning (“Disorders of the Digestive System,” 2005). To prevent diverticulitis, one can include more fiber in the diet, which leads to good bowel habits, to reduce the risk of developing diverticulitis and its complications. One can also educate oneself about diverticulitis. The aforementioned is easier said than done. It is hard to research something that one does not know about. The constant increase in grocery prices make it difficult for one to consume healthy foods because they are priced more expensively than the unhealthy food. To overcome these difficulties, one can perform a basic search on an Internet

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search engine for “digestive system disorders” to learn more about diverticulitis. A high-fiber diet may prevent development of diverticulosis. Some doctors tell patients with a history of diverticulitis to avoid nuts and seeds in the diet. However, there is no evidence that this is helpful to prevent the disease (“Diverticulitis,” 2005).

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References

Diverticulitis. (2005). Retrieved from http://www.healthcentral.com/ency/408/000257.html

Disorders of the Digestive System. (2005). Retrieved from http://www.healthinaging.org/agingintheknow/chapters_print_ch_trial.asp?ch=47

Zelman, M., Tompary, E., Raymond, J., Holdaway, P., & Mulvihill, M. (2010). Human diseases: A systemic approach (7th ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson.