Good oral health is important to older adults for a lot of reasons. For one thing, it makes eating easier and allows seniors to eat a wider variety of foods. In addition, studies have shown that poor oral health raises the risk for several health problems, including heart disease and diabetes. A new study indicates that it may also be a risk factor for one more condition—liver cancer.
Oral Health and Liver Cancer
Liver cancer is one of many kinds of cancers that occur in organs involved in digestion. Other digestive cancers include:
• Small intestine.
• Bile ducts.
The study, which was conducted by researchers from Centre of Public Health at Queen’s University Belfast in the UK, examined a possible link between oral health and digestive cancers.
To conduct the study, scientists gathered data from the UK Biobank project. That data they used was from more than 490,000 adults ranging between the ages of 40 and 69. Data from people who did not provide enough information about their oral health or who had a personal history of cancer was not included in the study. The data included follow-up information on the participants for an average of 6 years.
The results of the study showed that 13 percent of the individuals who reported poor oral health went on to develop digestive cancer. For the purpose of the study, the researchers defined poor oral health as “painful gums, bleeding gums, and/or having loose teeth.” In examining the risks between oral health and specific kinds of cancer, the researchers discovered that poor oral health was associated with a 75% higher risk for liver cancer.
Other Risk Factors for Liver Cancer
Being aware of how oral health impacts the risk for cancer could help your aging relative to reduce their risk of developing liver cancer. In addition to oral health, other risk factors for liver cancer include:
• Chronic hepatitis B or hepatitis C infections.
• Cirrhosis of the liver.
• Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease.
• Drinking too much alcohol.
Senior Care can assist older adults to manage liver cancer risks in a couple of ways. A senior care provider can ensure they practice good oral health every day, assisting them with brushing their teeth and cleaning dentures. Obesity is also associated with liver cancer risk. Senior care providers can help with managing weight by increasing physical activity and cooking healthy meals.
If you or an aging loved one are considering Senior Care in Darby, PA, please contact the caring staff at True Direct Home Health Care today.
Doc, as he is called by everyone - staff, patients and clients - first experienced home health care and hospice care while as a colleg student at King's College as he cared for his mother every day while she first battled COPD and then lung cancer. It was during this time that he came to understand that caring for a patient was more than just clinical expertise.
"Admittedly, my strongest attribute is my communication skills and the simple fact that I love to help people. Even the smallest thing you can do for someone really can mean so much to them long term. In fact, it could change them forever. That's what providing quality personal home health care should be all about."
In his spare time, he cooks for homeless shelters and children's music and arts events. He also is highly involved in his local youth sports soccer academy as a coach and Board member.
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