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Elderly Care Awareness: Colorectal Cancer

Elderly Care in Glendale, CA

Elderly Care in Glendale, CAConfronting the increased risk for certain conditions and diseases in seniors is one of the most intimidating aspects of elderly care, but awareness and proactivity are key to being a compassionate and effective family caregiver for your aging parents. For adults over the age of 50, one of these increased risks is colorectal cancer. Also known as colon cancer, this disease is seen dramatically more often in older adults than in younger people. In fact, only 1 out of every 10 people diagnosed with colorectal cancer each year is under the age of 50. This means understanding the risk factors of the disease and what you can do to reduce your parents’ risk of developing it should be an important element of your regular elderly care.

In addition to age, there are many risk factors associated with colon cancer. As with any other condition, the mere presence of one or more risk factors does not automatically mean your aging parent will develop the disease. Having these risk factors simply means they should be even more vigilant about recognizing the signs and symptoms of the disease and getting regular screenings. Doctors recommend that all adults over the age of 50 get regular screenings for the disease, while those with increased risk should begin screening as early as age 45.

Some of the risk factors associated with colorectal cancer include:

  • Eating a red meat-heavy diet
  • Sedentary lifestyle
  • Obesity
  • Smoking
  • High alcohol use
  • Family history of colorectal diseases
  • Personal history of inflammatory bowel disease
  • African American, American Indian, or Ashkenazi Jewish ethnic background
  • Type 2 diabetes

One of the most important things to realize about colorectal cancer is that many people don’t experience readily-recognizable symptoms in the earliest stages of the disease, which is why routine screening is essential for early detection and treatment. Some signs and symptoms, however, do appear in the early stages, though they may be overlooked or misdiagnosed. Work with your aging parents’ home care provider to monitor their health and if you notice any of the following signs, consider bringing them in for a discussion with their doctor:

Digestive issues. Persistent bathroom-related troubles could be an indication of a number of things, but be particularly aware of alternating periods of constipation and diarrhea, very narrow stools, or chronic gas not specifically associated with dietary changes.

Excessive fatigue. One of the few symptoms that appears in the earliest stages of the disease, and is often ignored, is weakness and fatigue. Increased tiredness, difficulty with normal activity levels, paleness, dizziness, shakiness, and shortness of breath could all indicate polyps or bleeding tumors.

Decreased appetite or sudden weight loss. Cancer developing in the digestive tract leads to the slowing of digestion and less-efficient elimination of wastes. Both of these can dramatically diminish appetite and lead to unexpected weight loss. Make sure your elderly parents are eating consistently and maintaining their weight properly, or are only losing weight in response to specific efforts.

As with any condition, the signs and symptoms experienced vary from person to person. If you notice anything in your elderly parents that concerns you, do not hesitate to make an appointment to discuss the issues with their doctor. Early detection is key and the doctor can recommend tactics such as dietary changes that can help protect your parents from the disease.

If you or an aging loved one are considering elderly care in Glendale, CA, and the surrounding areas, please call the caring staff at Total Comfort Home Care. Our friendly staff will answer all of your elder care questions. Call Us Today (818) 877-4819. Proudly Serving The San Fernando Valley & Greater Los Angeles areas.