News Release 

The effect of sleep quality on peptic-ulcer relapse in older adults

American Geriatrics Society

Poor sleep quality and peptic ulcer disease (PUD, a condition when sores known as ulcers develop on the lining of your stomach or in the first part of your small intestine) are both major public health problems that affect the physical and psychological wellbeing of older adults.

Poor sleep quality can be caused by age-related increases in chronic health conditions, medication use, sleep behavior changes, and other issues. It affects around one-third of all older adults. Peptic ulcers are common among older adults, too. They often result from the presence of a specific bacteria, Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori), in our gut. Thanks to the development of treatments for H. pylori infections, however, the rate of recurrent peptic ulcers (ulcers that consistently come back after treatment) has dropped dramatically. Few people who experience a recurrence of ulcers, for example, are infected with H. pylori.

However, that still doesn't explain why some people experience recurrence.

Recently, a team of researchers designed a study to test their hypothesis that other factors besides the bacteria could cause peptic ulcer recurrence--and that poor sleep may be among them. They published their results in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society.

The researchers enrolled 1,689 patients with H. pylori-infected peptic ulcer disease in their study. The participants received a 10-day course of anti-H. pylori treatment, followed by a four-week anti-ulcer therapy. Four weeks after treatment was completed, patients were tested and examined to see whether their ulcers had healed.

The researchers reported that 1,538 patients had achieved H. pylori eradication and had their peptic ulcers healed. These participants were then enrolled in a sleep study. They wore monitors that provided information about the length and quality of their sleep.

The 1,420 participants who completed the follow-up study were mostly around 69 years old and had a normal body weight. The participants who experienced a recurrence of their peptic ulcer had higher rates of heart disease, diabetes, and excessive alcohol consumption than those who had no recurrence. They also took longer to fall asleep, slept poorly, woke more during the night, and rated their sleep as poor compared to the participants who didn't have a recurrence of ulcers.

The researchers concluded that poor sleep quality does indeed appear to contribute to the recurrence of peptic ulcers. They suggested that their findings highlight the importance of properly treating and preventing sleep problems in older adults with previous H. pylori-infected peptic ulcers.

This summary is from "Effect of subjective and objective sleep quality on peptic ulcer recurrence in older adults.(https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/jgs.15871)" It appears online ahead of print in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society. The study authors are Boye Fang, PhD; Huiying Liu, PhD Candidate; Shuyan Yang, PhD; Ruirui Xu, Master; and Gengzhen Chen, MD.

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About the Health in Aging Foundation

This research summary was developed as a public education tool by the Health in Aging Foundation. The Foundation is a national non-profit established in 1999 by the American Geriatrics Society to bring the knowledge and expertise of geriatrics healthcare professionals to the public. We are committed to ensuring that people are empowered to advocate for high-quality care by providing them with trustworthy information and reliable resources. Last year, we reached nearly 1 million people with our resources through HealthinAging.org. We also help nurture current and future geriatrics leaders by supporting opportunities to attend educational events and increase exposure to principles of excellence on caring for older adults. For more information or to support the Foundation's work, visit http://www.HealthinAgingFoundation.org.

About the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society

Included in more than 9,000 library collections around the world, the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society (JAGS) highlights emerging insights on principles of aging, approaches to older patients, geriatric syndromes, geriatric psychiatry, and geriatric diseases and disorders. First published in 1953, JAGS is now one of the oldest and most impactful publications on gerontology and geriatrics, according to ISI Journal Citation Reports®. Visit wileyonlinelibrary.com/journal/JGS for more details.

About the American Geriatrics Society

Founded in 1942, the American Geriatrics Society (AGS) is a nationwide, not-for-profit society of geriatrics healthcare professionals that has--for 75 years--worked to improve the health, independence, and quality of life of older people. Its nearly 6,000 members include geriatricians, geriatric nurses, social workers, family practitioners, physician assistants, pharmacists, and internists. The Society provides leadership to healthcare professionals, policymakers, and the public by implementing and advocating for programs in patient care, research, professional and public education, and public policy. For more information, visit AmericanGeriatrics.org.

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