Health Tips for Seniors

Examining the Abdomen for diseases

The Abdomen

Abdominal troubles of advancing years are much more significant than those of youth. Within the abdomen, the factory of the body, any organ may have difficulty, but these organs, their functions and diseases are very vague to most people and study of them is very enlightening.

Examination of the Abdomen

Examine the bare abdomen in a well lighted room, before a full length mirror, in both standing and reclining positions.

1. Observe the abdominal skin for a yellow discoloration, called jaundice, frequently associated with gallbladder and liver disease.

2. Observe the hair growth over the chest and abdomen. An abundance of hair popularly indicates manliness in male,
but masculine hair distribution on the female may mean ovarian or adrenal gland difficulty.

3. In lying-down position, we normally can see our toes. If the abdomen rises to block this view then it is abnormally enlarged. If a “spare tire” can easily be lifted, it is possible that we are overweight.

4. Examine the skin for visible blood vessels. A few fine veins and skin blemishes are usually present at the age of fifty, but large vivid veins may signal cirrhosis or similar liver disease.

5. Feel the abdomen-the fifty year old skin should have a doughy firmness. A tight shiny skin in a ballooned-up abdomen may mean excessive fluid or tumor growth inside

Fig. 73. The abdominal region is the vague container of vague organs. Its many diseases and many symptoms produce multitudes of confusing complaints. It is actually easily understood with a simple study of its mechanics. The abdomen is the factory of the body. Food enters here, is ground up and chemically digested. The useful part is absorbed into the body, but the useless portion is separated and thrown out as waste. It is the most efficient factory in the world.

and if a “pit” remains after firmly pressing the finger into the skin, abnormal swelling is present, possibly indicating heart or kidney disease.

6. While lying down, feel the abdomen above the navel. The normal abdomen slopes downward from the ribs, both sides are alike, and no tenderness is present. Tender enlargements in the right side may signal liver, gallbladder or right kidney disease. Enlargement in the left side could indicate disease of the stomach, left kidney or spleen. It is difficult to feel these organs separately or accurately.

7. Feel the abdomen in the navel region. A mass in this region of any size is distinctly abnormal and could be a tumor growth of the intestines, colon, or even of the major blood vessels themselves. Enlargement at the navel which appears when standing and straining, but disappears when lying down, is likely to be a rupture (hernia).

8. Feel the abdomen below the umbilicus or navel. It is normally not tender or painful in any way. A definite soreness suggests possible disease such as appendicitis, bowel difficulties, or ovarian difficulty in the female. A movable ball-like mass in the lower abdomen of the female could mean growth of the ovaries or uterus.

Liver gall bladder
Intestine bladder

Fig. 74. The open abdomen appears complicated. The stomach, intestine, and colon make up the alimentary tract where digested food is absorbed. The chemical processes involved are still poorly understood, but continue to function anyway.

9. In the standing position observe any visible enlargement in the lower abdomen. Strain purposely and note any protrusion which appears just to the side of the pubic bone. This is likely a hernia or rupture, which is usually not painful and often falls back into the abdomen on lying down.

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