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Gastrointestinal Disorders

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Functional gastrointestinal diseases are associated with a plethora of symptoms which present biochemical and structural abnormality which is unidentifiable (Chang, Locke, McNally, Halder, Schleck, Zinsmeister, amp. Talley, 2010). Ageing itself is associated with numerous functional changes in the gastrointestinal tracts. such changes involve motility, intraluminal digestion, secretion and absorbtion (Grassi, Petraccia, Mennuni, Fontanna, Scarno, Sabetta, amp. Fraioli, 2011). Oropharyngeal muscle dismotility has a high preveilance among the elderly patients. Another functional disorder that is present in elderly patients is gastroesophagal reflux, which occurs as a result of reduced esophagal peristalsis and pressure on the lower esophageal sphincter (Park, 2011). Gastric emptying and motility has been found to be normal with ageing, however, some studies have shown that in some instances it may slow down. Structural neurological and endocrine changes lead to disturbed functioning in parts of the G.I tract. These include the propulsive motility of the colon, which is decreased due to these changes. A decrease in gastric secretions also causes gastric ulcers as the structure of the mucous bicarbonate barrier is also impaired (Park, 2011). Other functions that also decrease with age include pancreatic secretion and the level of bile salts. The above mentioned structural and functional changes along with other factors are part of the mechanisms that result in gastrointestinal diseases such as gastroesophagal reflux disease, dysphagia, primary dyspepsia, primary constipation, bowel syndrome, and a reduced level of nutrient absorption (Grassi, Petraccia, Mennuni, Fontanna, Scarno, Sabetta, amp. Fraioli, 2011). Evaluation of elderly patients is a complex process and may require more than one session (The Merck Manual, n.d.). The patients often become fatigued and the examination will have to be conducted at a later stage. The evaluation of elderly patients has also been associated with underreporting and typical manifestations for certain disorders maybe absent (The Merck Manual, n.d.). Elderly patients often have several different problems with their health hence it is difficult to analyze the system that is affected and whether or not the pathology is a result of malfunctioning of other organs. Concomitant disorders can affect the results obtained from the diagnostic test and may show pathological signs from another system, which can be mistaken for another disease (Shamburek amp. Farrar, 1990). Therapeutic response by elderly patients is usually very slow as organism is undergoing physiological degradation. Drugs which are administered to elderly patients should present minimal adverse effects to other organs such as the liver as the damage from these drugs may be more severe (The Merck Manual,