Sunday, January 15, 2006


Gastritis, inflammation of the lining of the stomach, is a common stomach disorder in the elderly. Causes of gastritis include foods, drugs, poisons, toxic chemicals, corrosive substances, and bacterial or viral infections. Chronic gastritis may be secondary to stomach cancer, gastric ulcer, or pernicious anemia.
Gastritis is frequently asymptomatic, and if symptoms are present they are vague. They may include complaints of epigastric fullness and pressure, nausea, heartburn, anorexia (loss of appetite), and flatulence (gas). Gastritis due to a bacterial or viral infection may include symptoms of diarrhea, fever, and abdominal pain. Drugs, poisons, toxic substances, and corrosives can cause gastric bleeding. Symptoms of chronic gastritis may be similar to acute gastritis.
Treatment is symptomatic. Nothing is given by mouth until the symptoms subside except clear liquids as the person tolerates them. If vomiting or diarrhea is severe, intravenous fluids may be necessary to correct dehydration and electrolyte imbalances. Ingestions of poisons, toxic chemicals, or corrosive substances require emergency treatment. For example, a chemical that is acidic is treated with an alkali to neutralize the substance. Chronic gastritis is usually treated with an ulcer regimen, which consists of bland foods, antacids, and avoidance of foods that aggravate the condition.
Phipps, W. J. Essentials of Medical Surgical Nursing. St. Louis: C. V. Mosby Co., 1985. Steinberg, F. U. Care of the Geriatric Patient, 6th ed. St. Louis: C. V. Mosby Co., 1983.


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