As we grow old, our bodies are not as efficient as they used to be. They become creaky, stiff and, sometimes, even move in the wrong direction. The process of ageing involves a gradual decline of many of our bodily functions. Let’s try and understand whether age has an effect on acid reflux.
Statistics reveal that between 1998 and 2005, the elderly accounted for 50% of all patients diagnosed with Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD) in the U.S.
Out of these 30% were hospitalized with a primary GERD diagnosis (which means they were hospitalized specifically for GERD). So if we were to go by statistics alone, it can be seen that GERD indeed worsens with age.
Research has a different take on this one. According to a 1996 study, age has little to no effect on the amount of stomach acid a person produces. The exceptions are people suffering from atrophic gastritis (chronic inflammation of the stomach mucosa), Helicobacter pylori infection, or if they have been heavy smokers.
However, studies do suggest that:
In general, it is believed that ageing leads to various digestive problems, including acid reflux. However, by making certain lifestyle changes, you can ensure your digestive health isn’t affected as you age.
To conclude, while age can weaken your digestion, you can deal with it by making simple lifestyle changes.