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Seniors should seek help for pain, discomfort

Published On: Apr 01 2013 09:54:03 AM CDT
Senior citizen using laptop

iStock / luna4

(NewsUSA) - Aging gracefully can be difficult as there are many health-related conditions that must be monitored and treated. There is a wealth of information about high blood pressure, heart disease and osteoporosis. But what about conditions people don't like to talk about, such as pain or constipation?

According to the American Gastroenterological Association, older adults are five times more likely than younger adults to report problems with constipation. And according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, it is estimated that pain affects 53 million Americans. The annual cost of chronic pain in the U.S. is estimated to be $100 billion, including health care expenses, lost income and lost productivity.

"Persistent pain and constipation are concerns for many aging baby boomers," said Daniel Perry, president and CEO of the Alliance for Aging Research. "They can prevent a person from enjoying the routine activities that make life rich and fulfilling, such as driving, shopping or even hugging a child or grandchild."

While pain can affect anyone regardless of gender, race or economic status, some people have difficulty getting adequate pain care. It is important that people who suffer from pain, and their loved ones, speak with their health care provider and take an active role in managing their pain. People who suffer from pain have a right to appropriate assessment and treatment.

In addition to persistent pain, constipation is a condition often associated with aging and is caused by a number of factors, including poor diet, lack of exercise or not drinking enough water. Two effective ways to relieve constipation are to eat foods high in fiber and to drink adequate amounts of water each day.