Ulcerative Colitis in the Elderly

Ulcerative colitis (UC) is a chronic inflammatory disease that affects the large intestine, also known as the colon. Ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease comprise Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD). While most people with ulcerative colitis first have symptoms in their 20s, the second most common time to be diagnosed is between the ages of 50 and 80.

Although treatment of ulcerative colitis is the same, regardless of age, it has recently been suggested that the usual treatment may not benefit the elderly. Care for ulcerative colitis is based on data from clinical trials that exclude older people because of their multiple chronic conditions and their consequent need to take many different medications.

But age makes a difference. Although ulcerative colitis is not generally associated with an increased risk of colorectal cancers, there is a strong association between the two in the elderly population. Screening for colorectal cancers, however, often includes colonoscopies, which are more risky in the elderly.

Moreover, ulcerative colitis is often treated with corticosteroids, which increases the risk of contracting an infectious disease, since steroids suppress the immune system. Anyone being treated with corticosteroids, immunomodulators, or biologic agents that are known to impair the immune system, should make sure to be vaccinated against the most common infectious diseases, including the flu, hepatitis B, and pneumococcal disease. This is even more important if the person is older, and therefore at greater risk of complications from these diseases.

Older people with ulcerative colitis are also a greater risk of the following life-threatening complications: toxic megacolon; perforation of the colon; blood clots (thrombosis), including deep vein thrombosis (DVT); and primary sclerosing cholangitis.

Early recognition — and proper management — of ulcerative colitis can help UC sufferers decrease their risk of complications, and allow them a similar survival rate as the general population.

At Atlantic Coast Healthcare and Rehabilitation Center, in Lakewood, NJ, we specialize in geriatric care, and are best able to care for the unique needs of the elderly. We take a restorative approach to care, maximizing each resident’s ability to maintain function and enjoy life.

Our beautiful nursing home and rehab center is situated on beautifully landscaped grounds, and provides the comfortable and pleasant living experience that is essential to ensuring optimal clinical outcomes. We have strived to create an environment and program that truly enhances quality of life, thus promoting recuperation, health, and well-being.

Our modern facility features spacious living spaces that are impeccably decorated and furnished. Our residents are pampered with the finest amenities, including free WIFI, flat screen cable television and state-of-the-art mechanical beds for individualized comfort.

At Atlantic Coast, our goal is to offer activities that stimulate both mind and body. We fashion each day’s recreation schedule with the primary purpose of encouraging social interaction and promoting physical health and fitness. To accommodate different interests and personal preferences, our Activities Director designs flexible schedules, with a variety of stimulating and engaging activity options.

Atlantic Coast’s long-term care program emphasizes a restorative approach, encouraging each patient’s potential to maximize function and mobility.

Read our reviews on senioradvisor.com, caring.com, and wellness.com to hear what our residents and their families have to say.

Or better yet, come see for yourself: Contact us to schedule a tour by calling 732-364-7100, or by clicking here.

Leave a Comment