In the latest smart clinic discussion held by Dubai Health Authority (DHA) gastroenterologists pointed out the importance of early detection of gatric diseases.
Gastric nowadays are as common as heart diseases and are often caused due to stress and genetic predisposition (tendency).
Other factors that triggers such diseases are food allergies and poor eating habits.
Stress can either lead to or aggravate GI diseases (gastrointestinal diseases) such as acid reflux and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), which affects the gut by inducing excessive secretions, causing diarrhea and persistent pain in the stomach.
Gastroenterology is a branch of medicine focused on the digestive system and its disorders.
Dr. Moza Al Falasi, Gastroenterologist at Rashid Hospital, said, "Of the diseases we see, the most common disease is IBS, in which stress plays an important factor, it either triggers the disease or it can cause it.
She continued, "The other common disease is fatty liver, which is primarily due to obesity, which leads to an accumulation of fat in the liver. It may not damage the liver, but when inflammation develops, a patient can end up with serious consequences, such as liver cirrhosis and liver failure. Most of the patients we see are in the later stages when they already have a complication such as liver cirrhosis. The issue is that fatty liver is a silent disease and therefore our advice to people who are obese or borderline obese, and those with diabetes, is to ensure they regularly get a liver function test done."
She said that other common GI problems are GI bleeding, inflammatory bowel syndrome and colorectal carcinoma (CRC), the most common cancer of the gastrointestinal tract.
Rashid Hospital provides adult gastroenterology services. In 2014, Rashid Hospital expanded its gastroenterology services and has a dedicated unit due to the high number of gastroenterology cases it receives every year. The expansion has helped provide comprehensive in-patient gastroenterology services to patients. Dubai Hospital runs a paediatric gastroenterology clinic.
On a yearly basis, Rashid Hospital conducts more than 7,000 gastroenterology procedures, including in-patient and outpatient procedures.
In-patient services include all cases of gastrointestinal (GI) bleeding, liver disease etc., while the outpatient services include endoscopy, colonoscopy, and double-balloon enteroscopy, etc.
In paediatric GI diseases, generally, fatty liver is diagnosed in time. Among the other GI diseases in children, coeliac disease is common.
Coeliac disease is the inability of the body to digest gluten (a protein found in wheat, rye, barley, and processed oats). When people with this disease eat gluten, their body mounts an immune response that attacks the small intestine.
These attacks lead to damage on the villi (small finger-like projections that line the small intestine, that promote nutrient absorption.) When the villi get damaged, nutrients cannot be absorbed properly into the body.